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Review of  The Morphology of Dutch

Reviewer: Marina Tzakosta
Book Title: The Morphology of Dutch
Book Author: Geert Booij
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Linguistic Field(s): Morphology
Subject Language(s): Dutch
Issue Number: 13.3007

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As claimed by its author the goal of this book is twofold: on the one hand, it aims at ''an internationally accessible description of Dutch morphology''. On the other hand, it intends to show that the ''morphology of Dutch poses interesting descriptive and theoretical challenges'' to general morphological theory. The book covers the major areas that are of interest to Morphology, namely inflection (ch. 2), derivation (ch. 3), and compounding (ch. 4). It further addresses issues related to the interface of Morphology with Phonology (ch. 5) and Syntax (ch. 6). The book closes with a chapter containing thoughts about the architecture of the Grammar.

Chapter 1. Preliminaries
In the first chapter, Booij addresses the linguistic background that led to the rise of morphology and presents an overview of the linguistic trends and studies that either gave a special place to morphology (cf. Spencer and Zwicky 1998) or totally ignored it. He further deals with the content and tasks of morphology, as well as the necessity for the existence of a grammatical module such as that of morphology.

He further gives some first hints about some main lines of investigation in his book, namely the nature of morphological rules, as well as the nature and the content of the lexicon. He also argues against the incorporation of morphology into syntax. Syntax basically
argues against the existence of Morphology as and independent grammatical module on the basis of syntagmatic relations between word forms. Nevertheless, evidence for the opposite position comes from the paradigmatic relations between word forms (e.g. substitution of one
suffix with another, back formation, bracketing paradoxes).

There is one thing I do not find very clear in this chapter and this concerns the content of the lexicon. I quote from Booij: '... affixes should not appear as lexical entries because they have no existence of their own ... I assume that the morphological module contains a number
of [these] templates (morphological constructions of the [V+er] type, where [e.g] the V is an open slot and can in principle be filled by any verb), one for each morphological process, with an open slot for the base. In the case of Dutch, there will be even more than one open slot:
nominal and adjectival compounding are productive in Dutch, and hence, we have a template [X][Y]Y for nominal and adjectival compounds (where X stands for N,A,V and Y stands for N,A)' (p. 5). My questions are: (1) Is it more economical to have whole templates or other constructions as part of the lexicon, rather than their subparts, especially if they are productive? (2) if affixes are not listed in the lexicon, how can one account for cases where affixes are considered to be the heads of morphologically complex words and even take over stress assignment (e.g. the case of Greek, cf. Revithiadou 1999)?

Chapter 2. The Inflectional System
With this chapter Booij starts his account of the Dutch language system. The analysis of the inflectional system is divided into two main parts, the first dealing with nominal inflection (nouns and adjectives) and the second dealing with verbal inflection.

The author distinguishes between inherent and contextual inflection, the first 'adding morphosyntactic properties with an independent semantic value to the head of the word' (p. 19), while the second is 'required by the syntactic context, but does not add information' (pp.

In the nominal inflection part the main subject of discussion is the inflectional category of Number, since Dutch has only relics of a case system, just like English. Booij reports on the Dutch plural suffixes and all the possible idiosyncrasies, i.e. nouns that lack a plural
form, pluralia tantum nouns, etc. as well as the phonological factors that may influence the choice of one plural suffix over another (e.g. stress and foot construction, alternation between short and long vowels in the stem) and so on.

After Number, the discussion is moved to possessor marking (2.2.2) and Gender (2.2.3), which do not exhibit morphological characteristics, and therefore they are not morphological categories. The author adduces many arguments for this theoretically important point.
In the adjectival inflection part (2.3), the degree forms, the inflection of pronominal adjectives, nominalizing suffixation and partitive constructions are dealt with. Booij discusses the
morphological characteristics of each of these categories. Consequently, degree forms of adjectives feed word formation, prenominal adjectives can be used as adverbs as long as they lack their inflectional schwa, and nominalizing suffixation serves to create so- called transcategorial constructions (Lefebvre and Muysken 1988)and partitive constructions, which take the surface form of Quantifier Adjective+s. This latter construction is very productive in Dutch.

In the verbal inflection part (2.4) the finite (indicative mood) and non-finite forms (infinitive, perfective/ passive participle and present participle) are dealt with. Finite forms agree in person and number with the subject of the clause where the finite form appears in Dutch. Tense, on the other hand, is a case of inherent inflection. According to Booij, categories such as Present Tense and Past Tense are formal morphological categories and still require semantic interpretation rules. He further provides the reader with model paradigms of verb formation for regular and irregular verbs, stem alternating verbs, stem alternating verbs with consonantal alternation, stem-alternating verbs with schwa-less infinitives, and modal verbs.

The virtue of this part of the chapter is that Booij is essentially descriptive, as of course he should be, in order to give a fully fledged report on the verbal inflection of Dutch, but he also goes into a discussion regarding the possible theoretical analyses and their (dis)advantages (e.g. bracketing paradoxes, morphological headedness, diacritic feature percolation).

In addition, the author provides arguments against the view that certain constructions (such as the construction of the past tense, hebben + verb, and more convincingly zullen + verb) cannot be considered to be periphrastic.

Booij closes his chapter with a very insightful discussion, the one which examines the boundary and interaction between inflection and word formation (2.5). I consider this to be an important topic, because, on the one hand he makes a smooth transition from one chapter to another and on the other hand, its contribution is seen in comparison with other studies, which is, unfortunately, lacking in many other books. In this final part, the author in a scientific as well as philosophical way tries to present the limits of both inflection and derivation
adding into the discussion the attitudes of other researchers towards this issue (cf. Anderson 1982, Bybee 1985, Perlmutter 1988, Dressler 1989, Anderson 1992, Plank 1994, Booij 1998, 2000).

Chapter 3. Derivation
The chapter dealing with derivation is divided into several subparts devoted to some theoretical preliminaries (3.2), prefixation (3.3), suffixation (3.4), and conversion (3.5).

In 3.2 Booij provides the properties of derivation, summarizing what he had already said at the end of the previous chapter. I find his objections to the validity and universality of the Righthand Head Rule (RHR, Williams 1981) to account for a satisfactory account of
affixation, important in the sense that he convincingly shows that headedness is not the same notion in morphology as it is in Syntax.

Another important innovation of Booij's work is that he also indicates the role that each of the other grammatical modules play in morphological processes, e.g. the restrictions that phonology imposes when affixation takes place, or the restrictions that syntax or
semantics (see 3.2.4), and even pragmatics, also impose. In the prefixation part the author makes separate categories for verbal prefixes (3.3.1), and nominal prefixes (3.3.2).

He devotes more space to suffixation, because suffixation is always class-determining and can create complex verbs, nouns, adjectives and adverbs. For this reason he again organizes the discussion devoting separate subparts to verbal suffixes (3.4.1), noun suffixes (3.4.2), adjectival suffixes (3.4.3) and adverb suffixes (3.4.4). For each of these suffixes Booij reports on their morphological behavior and the degree of their productivity.

In the last subpart of this chapter Booij discusses conversion (= 'the derivation of a word without any phonological change of its base word' (Booij 2002: 134) and the advantages of considering conversion as a templatic process rather than zero affixation. Even though Booij
considers conversion to be a word-formation process, he admits that it is very productive because of its semantic versatility. He draws on data from language acquisition to support this view (Clark 1993). He convincingly demonstrates the inadequacies of a syntactic approach, which accounts for conversion as a purely syntactic phenomenon and points the necessity of a morphological account of the phenomenon.

Chapter 4. Compounding
One of the reasons that Booij devotes a separate chapter to compounding is that it is a very productive process in Dutch. Moreover, he gives a more precise definition to the notion compound, that of the combination of two lexemes (''not of two 'free forms' since the constituents of a compound are not necessarily free'' (p. 141).

The chapter is again divided into several subparts, in order of productivity: in 4.2 Booij deals with nominal compounds, 4.3. deals with adjectival compounds, 4.4 deals with verbal compounds, and 4.5. with numeral compounds.

In the nominal compounds part, the author provides us with all the possible categories that can take the head and, especially, the non- head position. The classes of nominal compounds are a) endocentric compounds, b) copulative compounds, c) left-headed compounds or syntactic constructs. Booij points out that 'not all kinds of NPs can
function as compound constituents. It is only the combination of a bare adjective or quantifier with a bare noun that is allowed ... this means that it is the morphological module that defines which kind of NPs can occur with compounds. The reasons for this restriction are at least
partially semantic' (p. 147). He provides further examples for this claim in the rest of the subchapter. I would say that this is a clear answer to those who tend to account for compounds only in terms of syntax.

In the following sections he follows the same line of argumentation as in the first one. I find his argumentation for the existence of a separate morphological module convincing except for the category of numeral compounds. I quote from Booij again: 'the feature that distinguishes Dutch (and German from English, French, and many other European languages is that for numbers between 21 and 99, the ones come before the tens ... in numbers above 100, the pattern is formally (including phonetically) still identical to that of syntactic co- ordination, but such numeral expressions are felt and written as one word. Hence, we consider this pattern also as a morphological construction that originated through the morphologization of a
syntactic construction. This is confirmed by the fact that the main stress of such numerals is located on the last constituent ... whereas the there are equal stresses on the parts of the syntactic co- ordination' (p. 166). To me this sounds as an argument against morphology, and for the fact that the forms have arisen through the interaction of Phonology with Syntax!

Chapter 5. The Interface of Morphology and Phonology With this and the next chapter, Booij goes into a very interesting area, viz. that of the interface of different grammatical modules. In
this and the next chapter he deals with the interface of Morphology with Phonology (ch. 5) and with Syntax (ch. 6).The questions that concern Booij (also formulated in Booij 1995) are similar to those posed in the work of McCarthy and Prince (1986, 1993, 1995) on Prosodic

Initially, the author defines the morphological and prosodic domains and underlines the fact that these domains are not characterized by complete isomorphy. He further defines the level of interaction of Morphology and Phonology, namely the phonological make-up of affixes, the prosodic gapping, as well as cases of allomorphy of affixes and stems. The fact that phonological processes influence and are influenced by certain grammatical categories, clearly marks the boundaries between Morphology and Phonology but also their close
interaction. I found this chapter very insightful, especially because it provides a clear cut analysis of the dynamic relation of different modules of Grammar.

Chapter 6. The Morphology-Syntax Interface
I think that this chapter is of equal coherence and consistency of argumentation as the previous one. The domains of interaction of Morphology with Syntax are a) the realm of inflection, especially contextual inflection, b) valency changing morphological operations,
and c) word formation fed by Syntax.

For example, the fact that the Dutch prefix be- is used to derive verbs with a specific syntactic property, that is, transitive verbs, has to be accounted for in terms of a morphological description. Additionally, the principle of compositionality, which is considered to be one of the fundamental principles of Morphology, determines the coinage of deverbal subjects in -er.

From the point of view of Syntax, the so-called separable verbs are syntactic constructions, because a) they are not prefixed words, but they are separable, b) they undergo Verb Raising, they can be successfully analyzed as small clauses (Hoekstra et al. 1987). Nevertheless, the very same verbs feed deverbal word formation, the addition of a particle may have the effect of category change and/ or change the syntactic valency of the verb, and they may be considered as lexicalized constructions (as was already argued in ch. 1). These and other examples that Booij provides leave room for a very fruitful discussion regarding the interaction of Syntax with Morphology.

Chapter 7. Conclusions: the Architecture of the Grammar This chapter sums up the ideas posed in the book, which are directly related to the issue of the autonomy of Morphology, the content of the Lexicon and the relation of Morphology with other grammatical modules.

Booij's 'the Morphology of Dutch' is a well written book, which can be accessed by researchers who are interested in morphology in general and Dutch Morphology in particular, and students who want to excurse into the realm of Morphology. It nicely combines discussing basic (and not only basic) notions of Morphology with analyzing them on a theoretical basis.

Within the same line, the book is exhaustively descriptive, as a handbook should be (cf. de Haas and Trommelen 1993), but the author further bases his thinking on theoretical (explanatory) fundamentals, using for example the tools of modern theories such as Optimality Theory (e.g. ch. 2, pp. 26f). Moreover, it is one of the very few handbooks that deal with phenomena on the interface (ch. 5, 6, but also cases in other chapters). This is, I think, its first virtue. Another virtue is that Booij draws on empirical findings from language
acquisition and language variation and change to justify the emergence of unmarked patterns in the plural (ch. 2).

Anderson, S. R. 1982. Where's Morphology? Linguistic Inquiry 13.571-612.

Anderson, S. R. 1992. A-Morphous Morphology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Booij, G. 1998b. The Relation between Inheritance and Argument Linking: Deverbal Noun is Dutch. In Everaert, M. et al. (eds.). Morphology and Modularity, in Honour of Henk Schultink. Dordrecht: Foris. Pp. 57-74.

Booij, G. 1995. The Phonology of Dutch. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Booij, G. 2000b. Inflection and Derivation. In Booij, G. et al. (eds.). Morphology: An International Handbook on Inflection and Word Formation. Vol. 1. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Pp. 360-369.

Bybee, J. 1985. Morphology. A Study of the Relation between Meaning and Form. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Clark, E. 1993. The Lexicon in Acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Dressler, W. U. 1989. Prototypical Differences between Inflection and Derivation. Zeitschrift fur Phonetic Sprachwissenschaft und Kommunikationsforschung 42.3-10.

Haas de, W. and M. Trommelen. 1993. Morfologisch Handboek van het Nederlands. The Hague: SDU Uitgeverij.

Hoekstra, T., M. Lansu, and M. Westerduin. 1987. Complexe Verba. Glot 10. 61-78.

McCarthy, J. and A. Prince. 1986. Prosodic Morphology (RuCCS Technical Report Series TR-3). New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science, Rutgers University.

McCarthy, J. and A. Prince. 1993. Prosodic Morphology I: Constraint Interaction and Satisfaction. Ms. University of Massachusetts, Amherst and Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J. (forthcoming MIT Press)

McCarthy, J. and A. Prince. 1995. Prosodic Morphology. In Goldsmith, J. (ed.)Handbook of Phonology. Oxford: Blackwell.

Perlmutter, D. 1988. The Split Morphology Hypothesis: Evidence from Yiddish. In Hammond, M. and and M. Noonan (eds.). Theoretical Morphology. San Diego: Academic Press. Pp. 79-100.

Plank, E. 1994. Inflection and Derivation. In Asher, R.E. (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Languages and Linguistics. Vol. 3. Oxford: Pergamon Press. 1671-8.

Revithiadou, A. 1999. Headmost Accent Wins. Ph.D. Dissertation. University of Leiden/ HIL.

Spencer, A. and A. M. Zwicky. 1998. The Handbook of Morphology. Oxford and Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Williams, E. 1981. On the Notions 'Lexically Related' and 'Head of the Word'. Linguistic Inquiry 12.245-275.
Marina Tzakosta is a Ph.D. student in the University of Leiden Centre for Linguistics. Her project is focused on the acquisition of Stress in Greek in an Optimality Theory framework. Her interests also include child and adult second language acquisition, bilingualism and SLI.

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