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AUTHOR: Giegerich, Heinz TITLE: Lexical Strata in English SUBTITLE: Morphological Causes, Phonological Effects SERIES: Cambridge Studies in Linguistics, 89 PUBLISHER: Cambridge University Press YEAR: 2005
Jason Brown, Department of Linguistics, University of British Columbia
This book is a study of Lexical Phonology (how sound alternations interact with morphology). The argument presented in the book is that contrary to traditional views of Lexical Phonology whereby stratification is characterized as affix-based, it should instead be conceptualized as base-driven. Data from English and German is used to support this argument. The primary audience includes phonologists, morphologists, and scholars of the English language.
Chapter 1: A Requiem For Lexical Phonology? This chapter opens with a discussion of Gussman's (1988) review of Mohanan (1986). In his review, Gussman characterized Mohanan's book as a ''requiem for lexical phonology''. The author disagrees with this comment for several reasons (i.e. Mohanan (1986) should not have been taken as a state of the art of Lexical Phonology, etc.). The idea that Mohanan (1986) did NOT constitute a requiem for Lexical Phonology is the idea that drives the book. The author then discusses the formal similarities and differences between different approaches to Lexical Phonology, such as Kiparsky (1982) and Halle & Mohanan (1985). The role of morphology is outlined, as are the errors that have been made in the past with respect to this role. Finally, the main concept of the book is presented to the reader. The author's idea is that strata are not defined in terms of lists of affixes, but by bases of affixation (such as root, stem, and word). The predictions made by this move are then outlined, each of which are discussed in later chapters.
Chapter 2: Affix-Driven Stratification: The Grand Illusion. The chapter begins by assuming that English has two lexical strata. (The claim that it has only two is supported in chapter 3.) Next, the diagnostics for stratum membership are given. These include the order of affixes, the category of the base, productivity, stress shifting (or neutral, as the case may be), the syllabification of sonorants, phonotactic behavior over various boundaries, and other base modifications (such as trisyllabic shortening). The bulk of the chapter presents problematic cases where certain affixes display properties of both strata. The author draws on specific cases such as -able/-ible, -ant/-ent, -ee, -er and its variants, -(e)ry, -esque, -ess, -ette, -ise, -ism and -ist, -ous, -ment, -y, -less, -ness, -ful and -some. These dual-stratum affixes are a problem for any affix-based analysis, and a motivation for a different type of approach. The important morphological generalization that can be made is that stratum 1 affixes attach to either bound or free bases, whereas affixes in stratum 2 attach to free bases only.
Chapter 3: Principles of Base-Driven Stratification. The chapter begins by outlining more problems with the affix-driven stratification model. These problems then lead to the proposed alternative, and the general principles of the base-stratification model are outlined. The base-stratification model is a ''unified explanation that follows automatically from a stratification model whose morphological diagnostics arise from characteristics of the affixation base...rather than from the diacritic marking of affixes'' (pg. 53). While it can be shown that only two strata are necessary to account for the English facts, the German data require an additional stratum. Thus, while English bases include the categories of bound root and word, German bases include root, stem and word. Finally, interactions between strata are discussed.
Chapter 4: Deriving the Strict Cyclicity Effect. This chapter deals with strict cyclicity effects (SCE; a definition being ''Structure-changing cyclic rules apply in derived environments only'' (100)), as well as other related concepts, such as the alternation condition and the elsewhere condition. The author uses examples from English and German, including examples of tense vowel shift and mn-simplification to argue for a more restricted application of SCE. While many authors assume phonological rules to apply prior to the first morphological stratum, the argument presented in this chapter is that this is stipulative, and that there actually is no ''pre-morphology'' cycle. The author concludes that the SCE only applies on earlier strata, and that the final stratum of the grammar is not constrained by SCE. It is shown how rule inversion is the result of the diachronic movement of structure-changing rules into earlier strata. The properties of the final stratum are the basis of discussion for the remainder of the chapter.
Chapter 5: Phonology and the Literate Speaker: Orthography in Lexical Phonology. This chapter discusses schwa-vowel alternations, and shows how these are not as straightforward as they may appear. Such alternations include forms like real-reality, totem-totemic, atom-atomic, autumn-autumnal, deter-deterrent, myrrh-myrrhic, etc., whereby the morphologically simplex forms have a schwa (or stressed version of schwa) and the morphologically complex forms have a lax vowel in the same position. The chapter provides a fairly detailed overview of approaches to these alternations. Next, the relationship between orthography and phonology is discussed. In the traditional view, orthography derives completely from phonology, and not vice versa. The author then shows how orthography plays a role in the schwa-vowel alternations discussed above. The conclusion is reached that contrary to the standard view, phonological representations and orthographic representations are independent. This independence allows orthographic representations to inform phonological ones, and is necessary in order to account for phenomena such as linking and intrusive [r].
Chapter 6: [r]-sandhi and Liaison in RP. This chapter deals with the phenomena of linking and intrusive [r]. It is shown that both linking and intrusive [r], while presented as distinct phenomena by various authors, can actually be considered the same type of thing. First, a deletion analysis is considered; next, an insertion analysis. The author abandons both of these approaches in favor of an alternative analysis: that of liaison, and that [r] and schwa are underlyingly the same and share an allophonic relationship. The relationship between intrusive and linking [r], the glides j and w, and schwa are all discussed. It is shown that [r]-sandhi is parallel to [j] and [w] sandhi in English, and that [r] and schwa are in complimentary distribution and constitute different surface realizations of the same underlying material.
Chapter 7: Input Vowels to [r]-sandhi: RP and London English. The phenomenon of r-sandhi is again taken up in this chapter, with special emphasis on the representations of diphthongs and monophthongs. The chapter outlines the various diachronic developments in different dialects of English, and relates these to the synchronic status of r-sandhi. For instance, the various stages of RP are discussed, as are ''near-RP'' and London English for comparison. Finally, the chapter concludes with a substantial discussion of the inventory of RP vowels, and a summary of the developments from the previous chapters that relate to the underlying vowels is provided.
Chapter 8: Syllables and Strata. The focus of this chapter is on syllabification and its relation to the lexical strata of English and German. In particular, the focus is on the predictions that the base-driven stratification model make about syllable structure. There are two main issues that are dealt with: the relationship between syllabification and morphology, including the issue of liaison that was discussed in the previous two chapters, and the possibility of ''stratum-specific characteristics of syllable structure''. It is argued that the process of syllabification has stratum-specific features and is not a uniform process throughout derivations, which supports the model of stratification argued for in the book. Throughout the chapter, evidence is presented which illustrates the fact that English has two strata, while German has three.
This book is comprehensive in its scope, and the author is extremely meticulous in presenting the material. At the back of the book is included an index of words, roots and affixes, which makes it easy for the reader to cross-reference morphemes and locate them in the text. The book is well-written and accessible for audiences that are well-versed in the mechanics of Lexical Phonology, as well as for audiences who are being introduced to the theory for the first time.
The book is also an important contribution to the theory of Lexical Phonology, which has been largely ignored lately in favor of a complete focus on Optimality Theory. The opening chapter of the book makes this point very clear. Whereas many phonologists have assumed that Lexical Phonology is obsolete, they may have done so without understanding the reasons behind the mechanics of Lexical Phonology in the first place, or why there was even a theory of Lexical Phonology to begin with. So much of the evidence that is presented throughout the chapters that is problematic for the ''affix-driven'' version of Lexical Phonology is bound to be problematic for ANY theory which doesn't afford some sort of reference to ''base of affixation'' as the present one does. It is this important revival of theoretical issues that really brings to light just how complicated the morphology of English (or perhaps any other language) really is, and that oftentimes what are treated as ''exceptions'' and brushed aside may actually help to inform a better theory of grammar.
The overall idea is intuitive, and the author provides important and substantial empirical data to support the claims of the book. Whether this book is being read from a theoretical or from a more theory-neutral perspective, it is an essential contribution to the study of English phonology and morphology.
Gussman, Edmund. 1988. Review of Mohanan (1986). Journal of Linguistics 24:232-239.
Halle, Morris & K.P. Mohanan. 1985. Segmental phonology of modern English. Linguistic Inquiry 16:57-116.
Kiparsky, Paul. 1982. Lexical phonology and morphology. In I.-S. Yang (ed.), Linguistics in the Morning Calm. Seoul: Hanshin Publishing Co. pp. 3-91.
Mohanan, K.P. 1986. The Theory of Lexical Phonology. Dordrecht: D. Reidel.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Jason Brown is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of British
Columbia. His research focus is on phonological theory, with special
interests in the phonetics-phonology interface, phonological
representations, and feature theory.