Chapter 11: The complexity of inflection-class systems


We regard the complexity of an IC system as the extent to which it inhibits motivated inferences about a given lexeme's realized paradigm from subsets of that paradigm's cells. Our central goal has been to identify objective, measurable correlates of this conception of an IC system's complexity. In this chapter, we situate this notion within the broader context of research into language complexity. Logically, our conception of an IC system's complexity has a number of measurable correlates; here, we summarize these measures and compare their use in the analysis of twelve different IC systems. In doing so, we demonstrate that they are logically independent: none of the measures is strictly reducible to any of the others, because they quantify different things, each reflecting a different aspect of an IC system's complexity.