An exponent is a phonological
manifestation of a morphosyntactic property
. In non-technical language, it is the expression of one or more grammatical properties by sound. There are several kinds of exponents:
(please note these examples will use regular orthography
rather than phonetic transcription
due to the lack of IPA
support in HTML
An identity exponent is both simple and common: it has no phonological manifestation at all.
DEER + PLURAL ---> deer
Affixation is the addition of a prefix, suffix, or infix to a word.
WANT + PAST ---> wanted
Reduplication is the repetition of part of a word.
DA ('give') + PRESENT + ACTIVE + INDICATIVE + FIRST PERSON + SINGULAR --> dadaami (the da at the beginning is from reduplication, a characteristic of class 3 verbs in Sanskrit)
There are several types of internal modification. An internal modification may be segmental, meaning it changes a sound in the root.
STINK + PAST = stank (i becomes a)
An internal modification might be a suprasegmental modification. An example would be a change in pitch.
A slightly controversial exponent is subtraction, in which a sound or group of sounds is removed. Some people don't think this happens.
(Sources: Typology lectures by Dr. Greg Stump, University of Kentucky)