17.1059, Review: Morphology: Stekauer & Lieber (2005)

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Subject: 17.1059, Review: Morphology: Stekauer & Lieber (2005)

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Date: 04-Apr-2006
From: Kalyanamalini Sahoo < kalyanamalini at yahoo.com >
Subject: Handbook of Word-Formation 

-------------------------Message 1 ---------------------------------- 
Date: Sat, 08 Apr 2006 15:15:46
From: Kalyanamalini Sahoo < kalyanamalini at yahoo.com >
Subject: Handbook of Word-Formation 

Announced at http://linguistlist.org/issues/16/16-2803.html 

EDITORS: Stekauer, Pavol; Lieber, Rochelle
TITLE: Handbook of Word-Formation 
SERIES: Studies in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 64
YEAR: 2005

Kalyanamalini Sahoo, Zi Corporation, Calgary


This book is a collection of 17 articles by different authors. It is a 
contribution to the topic of word-formation, especially on English word-
formation processes.  The volume starts with a short preface by the 
editors and a brief description about the contributors, followed by the 
series of articles in an order beginning with the basic terminologies to 
the latest trends in the realm of word-formation.  The book ends with a 
subject index, a name index and a language index.   

The opening chapter of the book is Andrew Carstairs-McCarthy's 
article which introduces the reader with the basic terminologies used 
for formation of words, such as 'morpheme' and 'word'.  Centered 
around Ferdinand de Saussure's (1973) notion of 'sign' which has 
influenced the theory of word-formation since early 20th century, 
McCarthy discusses 'morpheme' and 'word' in terms of 'sign', and 
shows how non-Indo-European languages have a preference 
for 'morpheme-as-sign', while Indo-European languages stick to 'word-
as-sign'.  Providing evidence from English nouns and verbs, he 
discusses morphemes in terms of phonologically conditioned 
allomorphs.  He discusses the notion of 'morpheme' adopted since the 
1960s by different linguists and points out the ambiguous status of the 
term 'morpheme' as ''phonological shape of minimal units'' (e.g. the 
suffixes in 'given' and 'lived' count as distinct morphemes) 
vs ''meanings'' or ''functions'' of these units (e.g. the suffixes in 'given' 
and 'lived' count as belonging to the same morpheme). 

The interaction of word-formation with other levels of linguistics 
(phonology, morphology and syntax) has been dealt with in the 
following three articles.
Considering the pros and cons of the interaction between word-
formation and phonology, Ellen M. Kaisse points out the ways 
phonology can get in the way of word-formation as well as the ways it 
can be of help.  On the other hand, she also discusses how 
morphology interferes with the phonological processes as well as how 
it can help phonology too. She considers some of the major processes 
of English in which morphological effects are seen in phonological 
rules and the vise versa.  Phonology can interfere with word formation 
in cases of derivation where there is no suitable compromise between 
the goals of morphology and pronunciation.  It can induce allomorphy 
where morphology would prefer uniformity.  On the other hand 
phonology can help morphology having distinct applications in derived 
and underived forms.  It can help to delimit morphological boundaries 
with syllabifications and foot structures that are phonologically sub-
optimal.  It can help in the stress pattern of different parts of speech 
too.  Word-formation also responds to phonology in certain ways.  It 
can get in the way of phonology by concatenating phonologically 
displeasing strings.  Subverting the realization of well-formed strings 
of sounds to maintain easily reconstructed relations between base 
and derivative, it can cause non-cohering affixes to be unavailable to 
phonology.  Morphology also can help phonology in maintaining base-
derivative resemblances.

Gregory Stump's article explores the relation between word-formation 
and inflectional morphology.  Although ''inflection'' and ''word-
formation'' are treated as two different concepts in morphological 
theory, studying English inflectional categories Stump shows how 
there exists a parallelism between inflection and word-formation in the 
operations like affixation, segmental and suprasegmental modification, 
identity operation, suppletion, syncretism, periphrasis, head marking 
and blocking.  The distinction is further complicated because of 
complex interaction between the two.  Usually, operations of word-
formation tend to precede inflectional operations; but on the other 
hand word-formation operations sometimes apply to inflected forms 
too, thus making it difficult to say if rules of one feeds the other.

The next article ''Word-formation and syntax'' by Andrew Spencer 
considers the relationship between word formation and phrase 
formation across theoretical models.  It examines the extent to which 
syntactic principles can have access to 'lexical integrity' or the internal 
structure of words.  Spencer discusses to what extent syntactic 
constructions can be incorporated into words and to what extent 
properties of newly formed words show up in their syntactic behaviour, 
especially in argument structure realization.  He concludes that 
irrespective of any theoretical model, syntax can be relevant for word 
formation from the point of lexical integrity, phrase-based word 
formation and the realization of argument structure.  He suggests that 
it would be simpler and hence methodologically superior to assume a 
single overarching model encompassing both sentence structure and 
word structure.

The next two articles review the way word-formation has been 
analyzed since 1960s by Marchand and his followers and by 
Chomsky.  Dieter Kastovsky characterizes the contribution to the 
study of (English) word formation by Hans Marchand and the 
Marchandeans which included scholars like Klaus Hansen, and an in-
group of researchers working under the supervision of Marchand 
such as Herbert Ernst Brekle, Leonhard Lipka, Gabriele Stein and the 
author himself.  Beginning with Marchand's descriptive-structuralist 
approach to word-formation, Kastovsky provides a vivid account of 
Hansen's semantic analysis of word-formations, Brekle's generative 
semantics, Lipka's dynamic lexicology, Stein's English lexicography, 
and zero-derivation of his own.

Tom Roeper's article ''Chomsky's Remarks and the transformationalist 
hypothesis'' considers the two primary properties of Chomsky's theory 
of nominalization: phrase-structure and movement.  The core idea of 
phrase-structure is commonly used/found in grammar, while the 
concept of transformation survives only at the covert level in the same 
way as Chomsky proposed.  The current phrase structure analyses 
predict that highly differentiated nominalization should exist in a 
corresponding fashion.  Roeper however, argues for a view of 
grammar where there is no distinction between core and peripheral 
parts of grammar and the abstract properties of grammar are etched 
precisely in the non-central constructions.

These are followed by articles which discuss how word-formation is 
treated by different theoretical approaches including the lexicalist, 
cognitive, onomasiological, and lexeme-morpheme based approaches, 
and by optimality theory and natural morphology.  Sergio Scalise and 
Emiliano Guevara discuss the lexicalist approach to word-formation 
and the notion of the lexicon.  They discuss the historical 
developments in morphology preceding the lexicalist approach in 
generative linguistics including Chomsky (1957, 1965, 1970), Lees 
(1960), etc. and how the notion of lexicon was adopted therein.  They 
point out how lexicalism originated by subtracting computational space 
in the grammar to both phonology and syntax, and developed into a 
theory of morphology as a separate component with its own set of 
principles.  Along with most important enhancements to the lexicalist 
approach, they discuss two important works by Halle (1973) and 
Aronoff (1976), which brought most influential developments in 
lexicalist framework.  Halle's proposal to handle all morphological 
phenomena in a single space (i.e. the lexicon) and by means of 
specific rules (i.e. word-formation rules) provided a way to account for 
a fundamental difference between syntax and morphology.  Aronoff 
argues against morpheme-based theories of morphology and goes for 
a word-based hypothesis, in which morphology must be explained on 
the basis of words, which are indeed true minimal signs (Saussurean 
signs, arbitrary constant unions of sound and meanings).  The authors 
discuss some major problems, especially the relation between 
morphology and syntax that a lexicalist view has to confront with and 
conclude that morphology and syntax must be allowed to interact with, 
rather than ignore each other.  

Robert Beard and Mark Volpe discuss Lexeme-morpheme base 
morphology (LMBM) which claims that lexical morphemes (Lexemes) 
and grammatical morphemes (Morphemes) are radically different 
linguistic phenomena.  LMBM distinguishes itself from other 
morphological theories by three central hypotheses:
(i) Derivation rules change grammatical functions only and are distinct 
from the rules that mark these changes phonologically (the Separation 
(ii) The functions that the inflectional rules operate over are the same 
as those which lexical (derivational) rules operate over (the Unitary 
grammatical function hypothesis).
(iii) This is accomplished via a set of grammatical functions which are 
inserted by the base components of grammar (the Base rule 

The base rule component of a theory of language must be one which 
feeds both lexical operations (derivations) and high-level syntactic 
operations (inflection).  Thus, the types of lexical derivation rules that 
are available to grammars are determined by the categories of the 
Base and the Lexicon. 

Pavol Stekauer's article ''Onomasiological approach to word-
formation'' discusses a concept-based  approach to word-formation, 
which is basically a reaction to the formalism followed by the 
generative morphologists.  This model interrelates the cognitive 
abilities of a speech community with both extra-linguistic and linguistic 
phenomena.  The account of word-formation as a very real act of 
naming within a speech community and performed by a member of 
that speech community makes it possible to interrelate the role of 
productive word-formation Types/Rules and the creative approach to 
word-formation by a specific coiner.

David Tuggy discusses ''Cognitive approach to word-formation'', 
where a language or its grammar is characterized as a structural 
inventory of conventional linguistic units.  These linguistic units are 
either semantic or phonological or symbolic.  Symbolic structures 
usually involve the pairing of a semantic with a phonological structure.  
In this approach, words and their meanings and phonological forms 
are included as part of the grammar and the patterns of their 
formation are grammatical under exactly the same conditions.  The 
same is true of particular phrases, clauses, and so forth, and the 
patterns of their formation.  The differences between lexicon, 
morphology (word-formation), and syntax are all matters of degree 
rather than strict differences in kind.  Hence, small word-pieces often 
known as 'grammatical morphemes' are meaningful, and function 
similarly as they do in larger syntactic constructions because of their 

Wolfgang U. Dressler discusses ''word-formation in natural 
morphology'' (NM) where 'natural' denotes cognitively simple, easily 
accessible (esp. to children), elementary and therefore universally 
preferred. The first part of the chapter is a theory of universals; the 
second is of morphological typology; the third is of language specific 
system adequacy.   NM takes naturalness as a cover term for three 
(i) a universal markedness theory of system-independent 
morphological naturalness, focusing on universal preferences; 
(ii) a theory of typological adequacy; 
(iii) a theory of system-dependent naturalness or system-adequacy.  

These subtheories function as subsequent filters on possible and 
probable words of a language.  Typological adequacy may be 
understood as a filter and elaboration on universal 
naturalness/markedness, and language-specific system adequacy as 
a filter and elaboration on typological adequacy.  Each lower-level 
filter can specify and even overturn preferences of the preceding 
higher-order level.  As a consequence, lack of the typological and the 
language-specific system-dependent filter leaves universal 
preferences intact.  Therefore, these play a higher role in the earliest 
phases of morphology acquisition by small children and in 
extragrammatical or expressive morphology, such as in echo-word 

Assuming Prince & Smolensky's 1993 [2004] optimality theory (OT), 
Peter Ackema and Ad Neeleman discuss Word-formation in optimality 
theory.  One of the core phenomena of morphology is that one form 

can compete with, and hence block, others; e.g. inflectional 
morphology as regulated by the Elsewhere Principle.  Thus, 
competition plays an important role for word-formation, such as 
competition between different morphemes (e.g. Elsewhere cases), 
competition between different orderings of the same morphemes, 
competition between morphological and syntactic realization of the 
same concept. The authors discuss many examples of competition 
and conclude that OT is the natural framework for exploring 
morphological competition.

The following two articles are concerned with theories and constraints 
on productivity of  morphological process.  Laurie Bauer's 
article ''Productivity: Theories'' considers the productivity of a 
morphological process in the creation of forms which are not listed in 
the lexicon.  It discusses why a word-formation process is considered 
to be unproductive and what maximal productivity consists of.  Bauer 
starts with a historical approach to ideas about productivity, considers 
different approaches to it and shows how seriously it has been taken 
as a part of linguistic theorizing.

Franz Rainer presents a typology of constraints on productivity valid 
for natural languages in general, although has illustrated with 
examples mainly from English.  He considers universal constraints as 
well as language-specific constraints on patterns of word-formation. 
Universal constraints cover constraints supposedly located at 
Universal Grammar, such as Word Based hypothesis, No phrase 
constraint, Binary branching condition, Unitary base hypothesis, 
Unitary output hypothesis, Adjacency condition, Atom condition; and 
processing constraints such as Blocking, Complexity based ordering, 
Productivity, frequency and length of bases.  He discusses Language-
specific constraints including Level ordering and Affix-specific 

The next article reflects the post word-formation phase.  Peter 
Hohenhaus in the article ''Lexicalization and institutionalization'' 
discusses what can happen to the words during the course of their life 
after they have been formed.  Along with diachronic phenomena 
involved with lexicalization and institutionalization, he discusses the 
synchronic phenomena including the nature of lexicon, the listing of 
complex forms in the lexicon and the problems for inclusion of it, etc. 
and concludes that lexicalization is of great relevance even beyond 

The last two chapters are devoted to English word-formation 
processes and the latest trends in it.  Rochelle Lieber's article 
provides a synchronic study of English word-formation processes, 
which focuses on productive processes like compounding, affixation, 
conversion, and highlights the ways in which they have figured in 
various theoretical developments in phonology, syntax and 

Bogdan Szymanek in the article ''The latest trend in English word-
formation'' discusses the prominent tendencies in the English 
vocabulary appearing since the last quarter of the 20th century, like 
derivational neologisms, analogical formations.  He provides a vivid 
description of the recent system of English word-formation processes.  
He focuses not only on major productive processes like compounding, 
conversion, affixation but also on minor word-formation processes like 
back-formation, blending, clipping, acronym, initialism etc.   


The book is interesting and very well-written with lots of argumentation 
based on a number of empirical data.  As the title of the book says, 
each article focuses well on word-formation.  Touching important 
issues in the process of word-formation, authors validate their claims 
with neat and illuminating examples along with an important insight 
and an original line of argument.  The volume covers theories of word-
formation not only within generative grammar, but also in various 
recent frameworks like Cognitive grammar, Natural morphology, 
Optimality theory, Onomasiological theory and Lexeme morpheme 
base morphology.   It is an excellent reference book not only for the 
variety of issues and various up-to-date approaches it covers, but also 
for their way of presentation.   It should be interesting for scholars 
working not only in morphology and lexicography, but also in 
phonology and syntax.  It is written in a style that is accessible to a 
wide audience.  Overall, it is an excellent reference book for advanced 
students and scholars in the field.


* Typo p.105 line-10: 'is' should be replaced by 'it'.
* p.186: Missing reference for Sapir (1921).


Aronoff, Mark. 1976. word-formation in generative grammar. 
Cambridge (Mass.): MIT Press.

Chomsky, Noam. 1957. Syntactic Structures. Den Haag: Mouton. 

Chomsky, Noam. 1965. Aspects of the theory of Syntax. Cambridge, 
Mass.: MIT Press.

Chomsky, Noam. 1970. ''Remarks on nominalization.''  In: R. Jacobs 
and P.Rosenbaum (eds.), Readings in English transformational 
grammar. Ginn, Waltham (MA): Ginn, 184-221. 

Halle, Morris. 1973. ''Prolegomena to a theory of word formation.''  
Linguistic Inquiry 4, 3-16.

Lees, Robert B. 1960. The Grammar of English nominalizations. 
Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Prince, Alan & Smolensky, Paul. 1993 Optimality Theory. Ms. Rutgers 
University / John Hopkins University. Published 2004 by Blackwell, 

Saussure, Ferdinand de. 1973. Cours de linguistique générale (ed. By 
Charles Bally, Albert Sechehaye and Albert Riedlinger; critical edition 
by Tullio de Mauro). Paris: Payot. 


Kalyanamalini Sahoo works on computational morphology and South 
Asian languages for the Zi Corporation, Calgary, Canada. She is 
primarily interested in computational morphology and syntax.


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Rebecca T. Cover 
Richard Winters 
Robert Port 
Ron Schaefer 
Ronald Schaefer 
Sadie Williams 
Sandra W. Smith 
Sebastian Rasinger 
Sergio Baauw 
Sherril Condon 
Shih-Jen Huang 
Shlomo Izre'el 
Simona Herdan 
Sonya Bird 
Stefan Dollinger 
Stefan Frisch 
Steven Hartman-Keiser 
Sumayya Racy 
Susan D Fischer 
Suzanne Aalberse 
Suzanne K. Hilgendorf 
Suzette Haden Elgin 
Tamina Stephenson 
Tania  Zamuner 
Thera Crane 
Theres Grueter 
Tomohiro Yanagi 
Ute Smit 
V J Fedson 
Valeria Quochi 
Vera Demberg 
Vivienne Rogers 
Walcir Cardoso 
Will Fitzgerald 
Winifred Davies 
Xose Luis Regueira-Fernandez 
Yosuke Sato 
Yuri & Mio Backhaus 

- Plus 25 anonymous donors


Blackwell Publishing 
Cambridge University Press 
Cascadilla Press 
Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd 
Edinburgh University Press 
European Language Resources Association 
Georgetown University Press 
Hodder Arnold 
John Benjamins 
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates 
Lincom GmbH 
MIT Press 
Mouton de Gruyter 
Multilingual Matters 
Oxford University Press 
Palgrave Macmillan 
Routledge (Taylor and Francis) 

Anthropological Linguistics 
CSLI Publications 
Graduate Linguistic Students' Assoc.   Umass 
International Pragmatics Assoc. 
Kingston Press Ltd 
Linguistic Assoc. of Finland 
MIT Working Papers in Linguistics 
Netherlands Graduate School of Linguistics / Landelijke 
Pacific Linguistics 
SIL International 
St. Jerome Publishing Ltd. 
Utrecht institute of Linguistics 



Aptima, Inc. 
Arizona State University 
Bilkent University 
Birkbeck, University of London 
Bucknell University 
CACI International Inc. 
City University of Hong Kong 
Concordia University 
Dublin City University 
EML Research gGmbH 
European Academy Bozen/Bolzano 
European Bioinformatics Institute 
European Science Foundation ESF 
Franklin Electronic Publishers, Inc. 
Gallaudet University 
Georgetown University 
H5 Technologies 
Harvard University Institute of English Language 
International Linguistic Association 
Janya Inc. 
Language Analysis Systems, Inc. 
Lund University 
McGill University 
Michigan State University 
Microsoft Corporation 
National Security Agency 
National Tsing Hua University 
North-West University 
Northeastern Illinois University 
Northwestern University 
OFAI - Austrian Research Inst. for AI 
Priberam Informática 
Simon Fraser University 
Stanford University 
Swarthmore College 
SYSTRAN Software Inc. 
Szanca Solutions, Inc. 
Thomson Legal & Regulatory 
Tufts University 
Universitaet Konstanz 
Universitaet Leipzig 
University of Alberta 
University of British Columbia 
University of Calgary 
University of Cambridge 
University of Chicago 
University of Cincinnati 
University of Cyprus 
University of Edinburgh 
University of Florida 
University of Fribourg, Suisse 
University of Geneva - ETI 
University of Goettingen 
University of Hamburg 
University of Heidelberg 
University of Helsinki 
University of Illinois 
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) 
University of Konstanz 
University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 
University of Leipzig 
University of Maryland 
University of Maryland, College Park 
University of Melbourne 
University of Michigan 
University of Oregon 
University of Oslo 
University of Pittsburgh 
University of Potsdam 
University of Reading 
University of Rochester 
University of Southampton 
University of Southern Denmark 
University of Stuttgart 
University of Texas at Austin 
University of Victoria 
Universität Tübingen 
Université de Neuchâtel 
Université du Québec à Montréal 
Voice Signal Technologies 
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

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