Categoriality and clustering

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The essential meaning of a clause is typically conveyed by a small subset of the-morphemes in that clause, sometimes by only one or two; the information conveyed by the other morphemes is supplementary or already known. Clauses consist of one or more clusters; a cluster is made up of a nucleus (a single morpheme conveying information of central importance to the clause) and any number of satellites (bound morphemes or independent words conveying more peripheral information). Positing such a pragmatic structure for clauses makes it possible to give a unified explanation for apparently diverse morphological and syntactic phenomena in a number of languages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-297
Number of pages37
JournalStudies in Language
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research for this paper was partially funded by a grant from Language Learning. I thank Bill Croft, Peter Hook, Jerry Sadock, and an anonymous reviewer for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language


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