Inflectional classes without class features

Jan Don*, Fenna Bergsma, Anne Merkuur, Meg Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In this paper, we propose a comprehensive account of the paradigms of Frisian verb-classes. Verb-classes in Frisian are an example of a more general phenomenon of inflectional classes that we encounter in many natural languages across the major word classes. Members of different inflectional classes show different paradigms. Traditionally, inflectional classes have been analyzed using class-features (see e.g., Marzi et al. 2020). However, such features suffer from being ad hoc devices that seem to have no other function in the grammar than to code this difference. In the present analysis we propose that the verb stems from different classes show a difference in size. Using phrasal spell-out, we will show that these stems differ in the amount of morpho-syntactic structure that they may realize, rendering class-features superfluous.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-371
Number of pages17
JournalActa Linguistica Academica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2023


  • Frisian
  • germanic
  • syncretism
  • verb class
  • verbal inflection


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