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MORPHOLOGY: one of the main types of morphological operations by which an affix is added to a word. An inflectional affix adds a particular grammatical function to a word without changing the category of that word, or even leading to a different word. We may say that inflected forms are just variants of one and the same word. EXAMPLE: count nouns in English can be pluralized by adding the inflectional ending -s (dog-dogs, noun-nouns). The plural forms dogs and nouns are variants of the base nouns dog and noun. Traditionally inflection is distinguished from derivation (the second type of major morphological operation). Although it is not possible to draw a sharp border between both types of operation, there are at least two differences: (i) inflection is never category changing, while derivation typically is category changing, and (ii) inflection is usually peripheral to derivation. Some linguists (e.g. Aronoff (1976), Anderson (1982), Perlmutter (1988)) assume that inflection and derivation belong to different components of the grammar. This view is not uncontroversial though, since others (e.g. Halle (1973), Kiparsky (1982)) assume that inflection and derivation are reflexes of one and the same operation, namely affixation.
LIT. Anderson, S.R. (1982)
Aronoff, M. (1976)
Chomsky, N. (1993)
Chomsky, N. (1955)
Halle, M. (1973)
Kiparsky, P. (1982)
Perlmutter, D. (1988)
Pollock, J.-Y. (1989)

SYNTAX: inflectional affixes have recently been analyzed as the source or head of functional projections like IP ,AGRP, DP, etc. EXAMPLE: if (i)a is the underlying syntactic structure of John walks, the ultimate stage of which is the result of either Affix hopping (cf. (i)b) or Verb movement (cf. (i)c) (both syntactic operations) then inflection is not a morphologcal but a syntactic phenomenon.

(i)  a  [IP John [I' [I -s ] [VP [V walk ]]]]

     b  [IP John [I' ej [VP [V [V walk ] [I -s ]j ] ]]]

     c  [IP John [I' [I [V walk ]j [I -s ]] [VP ej ]]]

If, on the other hand, walks is inserted in its fully inflected form, and adjoins to I merely to check its inflectional features (cf. (ii)), inflection remains a morphological operation.

(ii) a  [IP John [I' [I e ] [VP [V walks ]]]]

     b  [IP John [I' [I [V walks ]j [I e ]] [VP ej ]]]