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Reference document

Deep form of Chunks

Rule #11

Before moving forward, we need to explain what the deep form of chunks is.

When a chunk occurs in a given word, it has a concrete form called its surface form. The surface form of a chunk often varies depending on words.

Compare the words inuit, inuilli and inuiguuq. These words have the same noun ending, but the surface form of this ending is:

  • it  in inuit
  • il– in inuillu
  • i– in inuiguuq

The deep (or underlying) form of a chunk is the abstract form a chunk is postulated to have before occurring in a word.

In our example, the deep form of the ending is /it (the reason for the slash symbol is explained below), and the surface forms of /it are itil, and i.

Inside other words, the ending /it can display other surface forms.


  • t  in qallunaat
  • l– in qallunaallu
  • Ø in qallunaaguuq.

Bases, postbases and other chunks also have deep forms and surface forms:

Of course, we need to know how a deep form is changed into a surface form.

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