The nominal inflectional
morphology of Greek
In a few words, inflection is the process of word formation. Inflection does not change the word class (parts of speech) and meaning of a word but, instead, is grammatically conditioned or expresses grammatical categories like tense, voice, person, number, case and gender. Inflection produces different variants from a root-word, of which we need to know its word class and meaning. Those variants still belong to the same word class and have the same meaning; they are, however, grammatically conditioned, or express a certain grammatical category. An inflection expresses one or more grammatical categories with a prefix, suffix or infix, or another internal modification such as a vowel change. wiki
In Greek, a synthetic language and thus a highly inflected one, nouns are binary-branching combinations of stems and affixes, while characterizing inflected words follow a bottom-up procedure according to a well-defined set of percolation principles. Even though nouns are not as highly inflected as verbs, acquisition of nominal inflection of this inflecting-fusional language, that exhibits many distinct inflectional patterns, is quite complex, consisting mainly by the three categories:
The Greek nominal system distinguishes four cases (nominative, genitive, accusative and vocative), two numbers (singular and plural) and, finally, three genders (masculine, feminine and neuter). Nominal inflection is carried out through affixation, the process of adding a morpheme (or affix) to a word in order to create either a different form of that word or a new word with a different meaning.
Inflectional affixes are generally added to stems in order to form words. In Greek, a stem can give rise to numerous types, depending on the addition of the appropriate inflectional affixes. However, distinct affixes are not possible to be found for every inflectional feature, as in most Indo-European languages inflectional affixes are portmanteau morphemes. wiki
Gender in Greek is, traditionally, considered to be realized on the inflectional part of a word cf. Triantaphyllides 1941 but there have been different proposals that gender in nouns belongs to the features of the stem. This argument can stand on its own if one takes into account that nouns with different gender values are inflected with the same set of inflectional affixes. Fore example, the masculine noun “yiatros” (doctor) is inflected in the same way as the feminine noun “odos” (street). book
However, different inflectional processes are triggered by syntactic information and must be handled within a post-lexical component, according to J. R. Anderson. In this approach, the morphological entities involved in every inflectional process of word formation (stems, inflectional endings etc.) are formulated in terms of feature bundles and inflectional structures appear as feature bundle representations. Inflection, then, naturally becomes a morphological process of feature-matching and feature-passing between feature bundles and feature bundles representations. a.ralli
Nevertheless, for each class of nouns, all cases are realized by distinct affixes (with the exception of vocative plural). Syncretism is often disambiguated syntactically by the use of different articles. Joseph and Warburton – 1986 Though there are cases that are non-distinct even when accompanied by the article.