LINGUIST List 11.1079

Thu May 11 2000

Sum: Morphology Texts

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <>


  1. Dr. MJ Hardman, Summary: Morphology Texts

Message 1: Summary: Morphology Texts

Date: Thu, 11 May 2000 16:33:11 -0400
From: Dr. MJ Hardman <>
Subject: Summary: Morphology Texts

Quite some time ago I posted requesting suggestions for texts to be used
in a beginning Morphology course. I wish to thank all those who replied
- those responses led me to the texts that I did indeed use -- but the
names have gotten deleted in switching emailer programs, for which I am
sorry. My thanks are not less.

The course I taught was a mixed graduate/undergraduate beginning
morphology course. The students were presumed to have had at minimum an
introduction to linguistics.

Quite to my surprise, and for the first time in a very long career, I had
a great deal of difficulty obtaining examination copies. In fact, I was
successful only in obtaining one: Richard Coates Word Structure from
Routledge. I ended up using it *because* I got an examination copy. The
kicker is that *now*, after adopting and using, again for the first time
in a long career, the publisher is dunning me for the copy! Also, the
desk copies that did come after ordering arrived several weeks *after*
the books reached the bookstore. Frustrating for both students and professor.

Because of what the respondents said (many errors in the problems and
purely TG) and because I was unable to get an examination copy (and have
not seen the book to this day) I rejected Francis Katamba (1993): Morphology.

The texts I did use were:

Coates, Richard Word Structure 1999 Routledge

Bauer, Laurie 1988 Introducing Linguistic Morphology. Edinburgh: 
Edinburgh University Press.

Vit Bubenik, Memorial University of Newfoundland AN INTRODUCTION TO THE

Hardman, M. J. Morphology Workbook

Gleason Workbook -- morphology chapters

Together they worked well.

Coates is very introductory but it was there at the beginning. Most of
the book was good but in some places the shift from language to writing
was not good for our class. The exercises were almost entirely English
based, but are well-constructed, with the answers in the back. I believe
it was quite useful for the undergraduates in introducing some very basic

Bubenik arrived such that it was the main text of the course. It is well
written with excellent extensive problems. The problems involve a lot of
data and some are quite challenging. There are no answers in the book. 
The problems are drawn, however, from only three language families: IE,
Hamitic/Semitic (or AfroAsian) and Turkish. Also, the wealth of Turkish
morphology is not explored -- it serves mostly as a counterpoint to the
other two. I would use the book again, but not alone. The lack in the
text is a presentation of the wealth of diversity that exists in the
morphology of human languages; the focus was on form and on particular
categories such as number, gender and tense, and did not include much
about other material that is also part of the morphological structure of
some languages, such as evidentials and aspects not found in IE.

Bauer arrived rather late, so, in part, served as a review. This book is
beautifully written. Her clarity left the students wishing all the rest
had been so well written. Also, her examples brought in a great deal
more of the diversity found in morphological systems and are beautifully
presented. There are no problems, but still, I would use this again,
even though I would still wish more exemplification of diversity. 

Both Bauer and Bubenik treated the various theoretical perspectives well,
which I needed for my course. Bauer proposes a way of unifying the
various approaches. That neither hindered nor helped in terms of the
book as a morphology text in a beginning course.

Gleason, good old Gleason, I used as a stopgap because of the delays, but
it proved to be needed. His problems *still* provide the diversity that
is needed. They are *still* good problems and I would also use this
again to provide the look into American and African languages.

I also took advantage of the existence of the Lincom Languages of the
World series. The students each wrote three 5-page abstracts of the
morphology of some language, preferably one from each of three
continents. It worked very well; the grammars they chose proved to
rather consistently satisfactory and they learned to *read* about
morphology as well.

MJ Hardman
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