Diacritic feature

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Diacritic feature is a formal expression of unpredictable information about words in their lexical entry.


many non-native English verbs may undergo -ation and/or -al affixation (recite: recital: recitation). However, the verbs arrive and derive do not allow the derivation of *arrivation and *derival, respectively. Halle (1973) accounts for these accidental gaps by assigning the diacritic feature [-lexical insertion] to these forms. Other widely used diacritic features are [+/- latinate] or [+/- native] (e.g. Aronoff 1976). Another term is exception feature.


Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics


  • Aronoff, M. 1976. Word Formation in Generative Grammar, MIT-press, Cambridge, Mass.
  • Chomsky, N. and M. Halle 1968. The Sound Pattern of English, Harper and Row, New York.
  • Halle, M. 1973. Prolegomena to a Theory of Word-Formation, Linguistic Inquiry 4, pp. 451-464
  • Spencer, A. 1991. Morphological Theory, Blackwell, Oxford.