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A boundary is a formal device used in Chomsky & Halle (1968) to express a distinction between two types of affixes.


(i)  prod&uacutective   product&iacutevity  prod&uacutectiveness
    op[ei]que    op[æ]city	   op[ei]queness

The claim is that -ity is a morpheme-boundary or formative-boundary affix (i.e. +ity), and -ness a word-boundary affix (i.e. #ness).


The assumption that affixes are associated with different boundaries, viz. + (morpheme boundary) and # (word boundary) accounts for the fact that the English suffixes -ity and -ness behave differently with respect to a number of phonological rules, as shown in (i).

See also

Level Ordering Hypothesis


Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics


Chomsky, Noam A. & Halle, Morris. 1968. The sound pattern of English. New York: Harper & Row.