In this groundbreaking monograph, Anna Maria Di Sciullo proposes that
asymmetry - the irreversibility of a pair of elements in an ordered set -
is a hard-wired property of morphological relations. Her argument that
asymmetry is central in derivational morphology, would, if true, make
morphological objects regular objects of grammar just as syntactic and
phonological objects are. This contrasts with the traditional assumption
that morphology is irregular and thus not subject to the basic hard-wired
regularities of form and interpretation.
Di Sciullo argues that the asymmetric property of morphological relations
is part of the language faculty. She proposes a theory of grammar,
Asymmetry Theory, according to which generic operations have specific
instantiations in parallel derivations of the computational space. She
posits that morphological and syntactic relations share a property,
asymmetry, but diverge with respect to other properties of their
primitives, operations, and interface representations. ciullo offers
empirical support for her theory with examples from a variety of languages,
including English, Modern Greek, African, Romance, Turkish, and Slavic.
"This is an important and revealing work on morphology. It constitutes
essential reading for both morphologists and syntacticians, but also for
anyone who is seriously interested in theoretical questions about word
structure and wants to keep abreast of the latest work in minimalism."
--Angela Ralli, Professor of Linguistics at the Department of Philology
(Linguistics Division), University of Patras, Greece