This paper addresses the question to what extent morphological blocking in language is a rule-based phenomenon. We argue that language users do not operate with a blocking rule, but that a form preference emerges as a result of cognitive selection mechanisms in a neural network of linguistic information. The actual target form develops its own token frequency in a probabilistic process, known as Preferential Attachment. After some time and some generations, one form will develop a nearly absolute dominance with its own local token frequency. This model implies that there is no blocking as an active negative action, but only a local lemma specific frequency, built up by a stochastic Preferential Attachment process, which favours one of the theoretically possible forms and, as a consequence, ‘suppresses’ the other options.
Original languageEnglish
Title of book/volumeCompetition in Inflection and Word-Formation
EditorsF. Rainer, F. Gardani, W.U. Dressler, H.C. Luschützky
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-02550-2
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-02549-6
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameStudies in Morphology
ISSN (Print)2214-0042

ID: 11684832