A category-system is a set of inflectional categories that have closely related meanings or functions and that generally do not cooccur with each other.
The most important category-systems are (for nouns:) case, number, (possessor) person, (for nominal modifiers and verbs:) gender, (for verbs:) tense, aspect, mood, (subject and/or object) person, voice.
There is no established unique term for category-systems. Most linguists seem to call them simply categories. However, this term is also used for the individual "subcategories" (such as nominative, accusative, future, pluperfect, etc.), so some linguists have made an attempt to use a more rigorous terminology:
- dimension (e.g. Haspelmath 2002:61)
- morphosyntactic category (e.g. Matthews 1974:66)
- morphosyntactic feature
- categorization (e.g. Eisenberg 1989)
- inflectional system (e.g. work by R.M.W. Dixon)
The term category-system is inspired by Wolfgang U. Wurzel's German term Kategoriengefüge.
- Haspelmath, Martin. 2002. Understanding morphology. London: Arnold.