storage of units, computations, parsing model


The ability to produce and comprehend human language involves at least two processes: the storage of units and the computations performed on those units. The role that storage and computation play in the processing of inflectional morphology is highly debated. At one end of the spectrum is the full storage model, which holds that all known words, whether morphologically complex or not, have separate entries in the mental lexicon (Jackendoff 1975, Manelis and Tharp 1977, Butterworth 1983, Bybee 1985, 1988, Rumelhart and McClelland 1986, McClelland 1988, Stemberger 1994, Rueckl, Mikolinski, Raveh, Miner, and Mars 1997). This position puts an enormous burden on memory, but entails little in the way of computation. Here computation is needed to handle only new items or those that are temporarily inaccessible from memory. At the other end of the spectrum is the full parsing model, which assumes that all complex forms are derived (Taft 1979, 1981, 1985, 1994). This model places a very minimal load on memory, but requires a great deal of computation.

Original Publication Citation

2002. “Are Plurals Derived or Stored?” Coauthored with Patricia Lestrade, in Structure, Meaning, and Acquisition in Spanish, ed. by James. F. Lee, Kimberly L. Geeslin, and J. Clancy Clements, 269-284. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date



Cascadilla Press







University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor

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