It was about one and a half years ago that I finally I arrived where I had always wanted to be and do what I had always wanted-- teach students, support small language communities and conduct research on African languages on my doorstep. The University of Cape Town and my new colleagues welcomed my efforts to establish the Centre for African Language Diversity-- CALDi as well as The African Language Archive-- TALA and I was recently appointed the Mellon Research Chair: African Language Diversity this initiative. The main aim of CALDi is to train young African scholars in descriptive linguistics and open up space for research into African languages at UCT with the hopes of countering the dominance of African linguistics outside the continent. It has been a great challenge for which my whole career has been a form of preparation...Read more
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EDITORS: Stekauer, Pavol; Lieber, Rochelle TITLE: Handbook of Word-Formation SERIES: Studies in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 64 PUBLISHER: Springer 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 hypothesis). (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 hypothesis).
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 meanings.
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 subtheories: (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 formation.
Assuming Prince & Smolensky's 1993  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 restrictions.
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 word-formation.
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 morphology.
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, Oxford.
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.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
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.