Realizational Morphosemantics in LrFG


  • Ash Asudeh University of Rochester/Carleton University
  • Dan Siddiqi Carleton University


LrFG, morphosemantics, blocking, morphology, morphology-syntax interface, morphology-semantics interface, Lexical-Realizational Functional Grammar


Lexical-Realizational Functional Grammar (LRFG) is a theoretical framework that couples Lexical-Functional Grammar with the realizational, morpheme-based approach to word-formation of Distributed Morphology (DM). LRFG has been developed to take advantage of LFG’s strengths in modelling nonconfigurationality and DM’s strengths in modelling complex non-fusional morphology and polysynthesis. We present some initial attempts at an LRFG theory and formalization of morphosemantics, i.e. the morphology–
semantics interface. We distinguish the domain of morphosemantics from the more general domain of lexical semantics: morphosemantics encompasses all and only aspects of meaning that affect the mapping from a semantic representation to a phonological representation. We focus on the phenomenon of blocking and, in particular, where blocking fails and a regular and irregular form are both possible. Modern approaches to this type of blocking face the following challenge: certain approaches essentially predict blocking to always happen, while others predict it to never happen. We focus on the former case: contemporary realizational approaches predict blocking to occur in situations where it does not, yielding a potential undergeneration of forms.
We claim that the correct realizational approach to blocking requires reference to compositional semantics and show how this can be done in LRFG. This correctly accounts for the distribution of four putative irregular/regular pairs that we take as case studies: divinity/divineness, unkempt/uncombed, people/persons, and brethren/brothers