Person as an inflectional category
The category of person has both inflectional and lexical aspects, and the
distinction provides a finely graduated grammatical trait, relatively stable in both
families and areas, and revealing for both typology and linguistic geography.
Inflectional behavior includes reference to speech-act roles, indexation of arguments,
discreteness from other categories such as number or gender, assignment
and/or placement in syntax, arrangement in paradigms, and general resemblance
to closed-class items. Lexical behavior includes sharing categories and/or forms
and/or syntactic behavior with major lexical classes (usually nouns) and generally
resembling open-class items. Criteria are given here for typologizing person as
more vs. less inflectional, some basic typological correlations are tested, and the
worldwide linguistic-geographical distribution is mapped.