On the division of labor between roots and functional structure
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This chapter argues that there is a typology of languages according to how much meaning a root encodes independently of its syntactic categorization. This typology is illustrated by an in-depth discussion of three languages: English, Greek, and Hebrew. Hebrew is argued to represent one end of the scale where the root encodes a minimal and highly abstract meaning. English represents the other end where the root has a severely restricted meaning. The two languages differ in terms of the role of functional morphology, which is crucial in Hebrew but not at all a central part of English. Greek is important in the sense that the language falls in between English and Hebrew: it has some highly general and abstract roots, and it has some roots with highly determined and specified meanings.