Syncretism is the situation where one morphological form corresponds to two or more morphosyntactic descriptions.
E.g. English bet (in I bet you ten pounds) is syncretic between Present and Past, as seen in comparison with I give/gave you ten pounds.
In Ancient Greek, the nominative and vocative of the feminine singular/plural case forms are identical (e.g. khÃ³oraa 'a land', khÃ´oraa 'O, land', khÃ´oray 'lands', khÃ´oray 'O, lands'). The same is true for the nominative and accusative of the neuter singular/plural case forms: dÃ´oron 'house-nom./acc.sg.', dÃ´ora 'house-nom./acc.pl.'.
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The term has originally been used in the sense of "combining different religions", and was transferred to linguistics in the 19th century.
- Baerman, Matthew & Brown, Dunstan & Corbett, Greville G. 2005. The syntax-morphology interface: A study of syncretism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.