Patterns of interpredictability and principal parts in Latin verb paradigms: an entropy-based approach

Matteo Pellegrini*

*Corresponding author

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper provides a fully word-based, abstractive analysis of predictability in Latin verb paradigms. After reviewing previous traditional and theoretically grounded accounts of Latin verb inflection, a procedure is outlined where the uncertainty in guessing the content of paradigm cells given knowledge of one or more inflected wordforms is measured by means of the information-theoretic notions of unary and n-ary implicative entropy, respectively, in a quantitative approach that uses the type frequency of alternation patterns between wordforms as an estimate of their probability of application. Entropy computations are performed by using the Qumin toolkit on data taken from the inflected lexicon LatInfLexi. Unary entropy values are used to draw a mapping of the verbal paradigm in zones of full interpredictability, composed of cells that can be inferred from one another with no uncertainty. N-ary entropy values are used to extract categorical and near principal part sets, that allow to fill the rest of the paradigm with little or no uncertainty. Lastly, the issue of the impact of information on the derivational relatedness of lexemes on uncertainty in inflectional predictions is tackled, showing that adding a classification of verbs in derivational families allows for a relevant reduction of entropy, not only for derived verbs, but also for simple ones.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-229
Number of pages35
JournalJournal of Latin Linguistics
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Predictability, Principal Parts, Entropy, Paradigms, Implicative relations


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