Agglutinating language is a language which has a morphological system in which words as a rule are polymorphemic and where each morpheme corresponds to a single lexical meaning.
Classical examples of agglutinating languages are Turkish and Quechua.
ev- ler- i- den house PL- POSS- ABL 'from their house'
maqa- chi- naku- rka- n beat CAUS- RECP- PL- 3 'They let each other be beaten.'
Next to agglutinating languages, one distinguishes (in)flectional languages, isolating languages, and polysynthetic languages. One basic assumption underlying this typology is that agglutination is the primary type of word formation, and that the other three types are deviations from it. This traditional classification of languages into four morphological groups has been criticized for being both incoherent and useless.
- Anderson, S.R. 1985. Typological distinctions in Word-formation. In Shopen, T. (ed.) Language Typology and Grammatical Description, vol. 3. Cambridge: CUP.
- Spencer, A. 1991. Morphological Theory. Blackwell, Oxford.