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II Contemporary WP models

Realizational models

The exemplar-based structure of a classical WP model led, in short, to an impasse. Interdependencies were exhibited by the forms of exemplary items, or encapsulated in ‘inflection classes’ that these items were taken to represent. Individual correspondences were described in terms of analogical patterns. Neither strategy provided a general representation of implicational dependencies. Hence, at the point where Hockett (1954) sought to return the model to the attention of the theoretical community, there was no version of the model that was formulated independently of the description of a specific language.

Robins (1959) presents a sketch of the general architecture of a WP model and a description of some patterns that seem amenable to analysis in WP terms, but no explicit formalization of any of the patterns. The first formalizations were outlined shortly afterwards, in Chomsky (1965) and Matthews (1965). But following “the Decade of the Morpheme” (Hockett 1987: 81), the main focus of linguistic research shifted elsewhere and an extended presentation of a modern WP model did not appear until Matthews (1972), followed by an independent WP model in the axiomatic grammar format in Lieb (1976).1

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