In a lecture, my professor said that assumig a null morpheme signifying the singular number of nouns in German is problematic. Now I´m wondering why. The issue came up during a discussion on whether or not morphemes should be defined as the smallest signs carrying meaning (signifiant + signifé) or whether morphemes primarily have a signifié side (because of allomorphy of plural number of nouns in German).
Note the difference between null morpheme and null allomorph. The Wikipedia entry (not the most reliable source, I know), which mentiones null morphemes signifying the singular number of nouns in English as an example, also says that some linguists object to this notion:
Some linguists object to the notion of a null morpheme, arguing that it sets up an unverifiable distinction between a "null" or "zero" element, and nothing at all.
- "Some linguists" - Who, apart from my professor?
- Are there any other reasons to object to null morphemes (in general)?