Features are a central concept in linguistic analysis. They are the basic building blocks of linguistic units, such as words. For many linguists they offer the most revealing way to explore the nature of language. Familiar features are Number (singular, plural, dual, ...), Person (1st, 2nd, 3rd) and Tense (present, past, ...). Features have a major role in contemporary linguistics, from the most abstract theorizing to the most applied computational applications, yet little is firmly established about their status. They are used, but are little discussed and poorly understood. In this unique work, Corbett brings together two lines of research: how features vary between languages and how they work. As a result, the book is of great value to the broad range of perspectives of those who are interested in language.
Greville G. Corbett is Distinguished Professor of Linguistics at the University of Surrey, where he leads the Surrey Morphology Group. His previous works on the typology of features include Gender (1991), Number (2000) and Agreement (2006).
List of figures; List of tables; Preface; Abbreviations; 1. Why features?; 2. Formal perspectives: the internal structure of features; 3. Features for different components; 4. Justifying particular features and their values; 5. Typology; 6. Canonical typology and features; 7. Determining feature values: a case study on case; 8. Feature-value mismatches; 9. Conclusions; Appendix: standards and implementations; Reference; Author index; Language index; Subject index.