LINGUIST List 23.1149

Wed Mar 07 2012

Review: Morphology; Phonology; Syntax; Semantics: Galani et al. (2011)

Editor for this issue: Joseph Salmons <>

Date: 07-Mar-2012
From: Thomas Doukas <>
Subject: Morphology and its Interfaces
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EDITORS: Alexandra Galani, Glyn Hicks, & George TsoulasTITLE: Morphology and its InterfacesSERIES TITLE: Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 178PUBLISHER: John BenjaminsYEAR: 2011

Thomas Doukas, School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, Universityof Reading

SUMMARYThis book is a collection of papers presented at the York-Essex MorphologyMeeting held at the University of York in 2006 and the University of Essex in2007. The book brings together current studies on morphology and its interfacesfrom a variety of theoretical approaches. The collection presents a variety oftopics and phenomena on the interfaces between morphology and syntax, semantics,phonology and the lexicon. The volume provides an introduction to a variety offrameworks and methodologies with comprehensive case studies.

The book contains 11 papers divided into three thematic sections. The firstsection addresses the interfaces between morphology and syntax and phonology.The second section examines the interfaces between morphology and semantics andlexicon. The final section contains two chapters discussing morphology inrelation to psycholinguistics and language acquisition. The following presents abrief summary of each paper with some general remarks.

INTRODUCTION: MORPHOLOGY AND ITS INTERFACES (1-18), ALEXANDRA GALANI, GLYN HICKSAND GEORGE TSOULASThe authors of the introduction share common research interests in morphologyand in particular its interfaces with syntax, phonology and semantics andlanguage acquisition. The introduction discusses central themes of the book,specifically interfaces between morphology and other modules. The second partpresents a brief summary of the papers included here.


CASE CONFLICT IN GREEK FREE RELATIVES: CASE IN SYNTAX AND MORPHOLOGY (21-56),VASSILIOS SPYROPOULOSIn chapter 1, Spyropoulos investigates case attraction phenomena in Modern GreekFree Relative (FR) clauses. Case assignment in FR clauses is an instance of caseconflict where the wh-phrase appears in a case different from what is predictedby its syntactic status in the clause. Spyropoulos examines the properties ofcase matching mechanisms in FR clauses and claims that the case properties ofthe wh-phrase in FR clauses are the result of a division of labour betweennarrow syntax and morphological structure. Spyropoulos builds his argument onthe idea of decomposing case in bundles of features such as [±structural],[±oblique], [±genitive] and [±inferior]. Case assignment takes place in narrowsyntax but it only refers to those features that are relevant to the distinctionbetween structural and inherent case. The full specification of the featurebundles of case consequently takes place at the morphological structure.Spyropoulos proposes that the conflict between m-case (matrix) vs. r-case(relative clause) is resolved by means of m-case attraction. Alternativelyr-case is assigned in narrow syntax, whereas m-case is assigned to Do head, notto the wh-phrase itself; and Do features match the feature of the wh-phrase.

THERE ARE NO SPECIAL CLITICS (57-96), RICARDO BERMÚDEZ-OTERO AND JOHN PAYNEBermúdez-Otero and Payne criticise the hypothesis of Clitic Idiosyncrasy,according to which SPECIAL CLITICS are neither words nor affixes but a specialtype of object, regulated by special syntax. The paper focuses on Anderson's(2005) claim that special clitics are phrasal affixes controlled in a separatepostlexical component. Bermúdez-Otero and Payne initially argue against specialsyntax. Building on heads-and-agreement restrictions and using examples from thedefiniteness marker in Bulgarian, Bermúdez-Otero and Payne show that within theframework of phrasal affixation, certain clitics fail to be placed in thecorrect position. They then discuss the prediction of phrasal affixation thatlexical morphological and phonological rules are not sensitive to the presenceof special clitics and therefore special clitics are not visible to thecomponent of lexical morphophonology. The discussion builds on Catalan andSpanish clitics, proposing a theory of edge morphology where special clitics aretreated either as independent words (features are transferred to heads) or asaffixes (features are transferred to edges). The edge morphology proposal isexemplified with the English genitive and the genitive noun phrase in OldGeorgian (Suffixaufnahme).

INFECTIONAL MORPHOLOGY AND SYNTAX IN CORRESPONDENCE: EVIDENCE FROM EUROPEANPORTUGUESE (97-135), ANA R. LUÍS AND RYO OTOGUROLuís and Otoguro look at proclitic pronouns in European Portuguese in terms ofthe phrasal and morphological properties they exhibit and how these differ fromother Romance languages, in this case Italian, Spanish. Such properties are (a)preverbal clitics can be separated by the verb by up to two particles and cantake a wide scope over coordinated verb phrases and (b) their preverbal positionis not dependent on the finiteness of the verb but on a specific set ofparticles and phrases in preverbal position. Luís and Otoguro's account isdiscussed within the lexicalist framework of Lexical Functional Grammar (LFG). Awealth of examples from European Portuguese shows the inflectional properties ofproclitics. For preverbal placement pronominal clitics, Luís and Otoguro abandontraditional phrase structural positions and assume a linear and functionalprecedence system where the functional information contributed by each triggerf(unction)-precedes the information provided by the pronominal clitics. A newconstituent structure is proposed for the representation of phrasal affixes inwhich Luís and Otoguro formulate the mapping relation between morphologicaltokens and syntactic atoms. The authors conclude that the complexity ofproclisis in European Portuguese can be accounted for at the morphology-syntaxinterface and therefore neither purely phrase structure configurations norpurely syntactic features can solely account for the nature of preverbal clitics.

AT THE BOUNDARY OF MORPHOLOGY AND SYNTAX: NOUN-NOUN CONSTRUCTIONS IN ENGLISH(137-168), MELANIE J. BELLBell argues against treating noun-noun constructions (NNs) as phrases (syntacticconstructions) in which the first noun modifies the second (Giegerich, 2004).Building on Bauer's (1998) suggestion that NNs in English belong to a singlecategory, Bell proposes a syntactic analysis of NNs in English as compoundwords. Bell compares the behaviour of NNs in English and other West Germaniclanguages (German and Dutch). In contrast, the lack of inflectional marking doesnot allow for agreement between adjective and noun to be motivated in relationto inflection. Bell then examines the internal structure of phrases andcompounds in English, focusing on adjective-noun and noun-noun constructions.Drawing on X bar theory (Chomsky, 1970) and rules of recursion, Bell claims thatNNs in English can be accounted for by regular morphological compoundingmechanisms that apply to all Germanic languages. Bell concludes that English NNsdo not exhibit the essential characteristics of phrases and therefore it can beassumed that NNs belong to the single class of compounds.


THE FEATURE OF TENSE AT THE INTERFACE OF MORPHOLOGY AND SEMANTICS (171-194),ANNA KIBORTKibort discusses the notion of tense at the interface of morphology andsemantics, evaluating tense as a grammatical feature realised as a set ofvalues. Such values often embody the notions of aspect, modality and polarity tothe grammatical expression of tense (TAMP). Kibort, following Stump (2001),assumes that the values of TAMP are identified through a paradigm whereinflected forms correlate to functions. Kibort consequently outlines therelevant feature types, focusing on the distinction between morphosyntactic andmorphosemantic features and their multi-representation in various domains(syntactic phrase, verbal complex or semantic unit). Kibort distinguishesbetween contextual and inherent features, the former related to syntax but notthe latter (Booij, 1994). A decision tree of six questions is offered as aheuristic process for establishing how a feature value has been realised on anelement (agreement or government). Kibort examines three instances of TAMP foragreement features from Kayardild, an Australian case-stacking language and theresult suggest that the selection of TAMP values is driven by semantic choice inKayardild (rather than agreement or government). Kibort concludes that tense isa morphosemantic rather than a morphosyntactic feature operating at theinterface of morphology and semantics; and as a result, syntax is not sensitiveto verbal tense.

THE ASPECTUAL PROPERTIES OF NOMINALIZATION STRUCTURES (195-220), ARTEMIS ALEXIADOUAlexiadou studies the aspectual properties of derived nominalisation in ModernGreek, focusing on the morphological features of class and number from asyntactic theory point of view. The paper builds on the fact that nominalisationshares properties of both nouns and verbs. Syntactic approaches tonominalisation identify the need of such properties to be split into layers.Alexiadou investigates the relation of these layers (nominal structure) toaspectual distinctions, especially the ones associated with Aktionsart, first inRomanian nominalisations and then in Greek nominalisations. The data analysisfocuses on aspectual properties of telicity, perfectivity and boundedness (countand mass nouns) and takes a closer look at the internal composition of Greeknominals, providing a series of examples and tests. The analysis shows thatcertain nominalisations in Greek are sensitive to aspectual properties.Alexiadou discusses the internal composition of Greek nominalisations in termsof the relationships between Number and Aspect and concludes that Greek derivednominalisations formed with the affix -m- are always atelic (they blockculmination) and therefore resist pluralisation. Alexiadou also proposes twotypes of plurality, one available for count nouns and a second one onlyavailable for mass nouns (the latter type not available in the nominalisations).

DETERMINER AND NOUN PHRASE COORDINATION IN MODERN GREEK (221-238), DESPINA KAZANAKazana investigates coordinate animate and inanimate nouns and morespecifically, how the definite determiner scopes over these two structures.Agreement between a noun and its determiner involves the distinction of twofeatures: CONCORD, a morphosyntactic feature related to the declension class ofa noun and INDEX a semantic feature related to the semantics of a noun and itsagreement with other units such as verb, adjective, pronoun. Kazana discussedthe nature of the definite determiner agreement and gives examples of unexpectedagreement patterns of NP-coordination. She then considers NP-coordination withinthe Lexical Functional Grammar (LFG) framework building on King & Darlymple's(2004) analysis of determiner agreement. King and Darlymple proposed foursystems of NP-coordination agreement constrained by the features of INDEX andCONCORD (i.e. either INDEX, CONCORD, both, or neither). Kazana claims that theCONCORD system best describes the Modern Greek data, with the exception of somepatterns e.g. NP-coordinates with either singular or plural conjuncts. For thesepatterns, she introduces two modifications to the CONCORD system, one forsingular coordinated nouns and the second for plural animate and inanimatenouns. With these two constraints, Kazana assumes the existence a singledefinite determiner within the MG lexicon and concludes that such analysisprovides a preliminary solution to the problematic patterns, leaving this opento further research.

THE PRECONDITIONS FOR SUPPLETION (239-266), KERSTI BÖRJARS AND NIGEL VINCENTBörjars & Vincent examine the phenomenon of proper suppletion through the studyof one case of suppletion of an adjective in the Mainland Scandinavianlanguages. Börjars & Vincent discuss the nature and origins of the phenomenon ofsuppletion providing accounts from different theoretical frameworks e.g. NaturalMorphology, Optimality Theory, Distributed Morphology. They then provide adetailed study of the suppletive paradigm of liten-små (small) in Danish,Norwegian and Swedish and its historic development. Based on the data, Börjars& Vincent assume two preconditions for suppletion, i.e. closely related meaningof the two lexical items and asymmetry between the two items in the sense thatone of the two words has a particular meaning. They then discuss a variety ofpossible explanations for the Scandinavian data including Bybee (1985),Hippisley et al. (2004), Maiden (2004), Corbett (2007), and conclude that theScandinavian adjectival paradigm is an example of number suppletion. The studyof the adjectival paradigm in Scandinavian reveals the importance of semanticfactors such as semantic asymmetry (narrow vs. wide meaning of the lexicalitems) and the semantic relationship between the two words prior to suppletion.

ARCHI MORPHOLOGY FROM A LEXICOGRAPHIC PERSPECTIVE (267-288), MARINA CHUMAKINAChumakina introduces the development of an electronic dictionary of Archi, aDaghestanian language spoken by about 1200 people in the Southern Dagestanregion in Russia. The language is morpho-phonologically complex and has a vastphonetic inventory and very rich inflectional morphology. Chumakina provides adetailed illustration of Archi's inflectional morphology based on Kibrik'sgrammar from the 70s. She then gives an overview of the lexicographic workinvolved for the development of the dictionary, e.g. the database used,morphological information provided in lexical entries, glosses, and methodology.Chumakina also discusses some of the technical and methodological issuesspecific to the creation of a dictionary for an unwritten language, such as thedifficulty of obtaining new data from the speakers of the language,transcription and translation problems, and problems around orthography (Latinvs. Cyrillic alphabet). Chumakina concludes that this project increased Kibrik'sdictionary by 1,500 items and with the creation of the Cyrillic basedorthography, Arch is no longer an unwritten language.


MORPHOLOGY AND SYNTAX DISSOCIATION IN SLA: A STUDY ON CLITIC ACQUISITION INSPANISH (291-320), MARÍA J. ARCHE AND LAURA DOMÍNGUEZArche & Domínguez investigate the L2 acquisition of Spanish clitics by L1English learners within the Distributed Morphology framework. They explore therelationships between syntax and morphology in second language learners'grammars building on feature and agreement decomposition of the Spanish objectclitics. Arche & Domínguez present data from a production and comprehensiontests which assess two current second language acquisition hypotheses, namely,the Impaired Representation Hypothesis (IRH) and the Missing Surface InflectionHypothesis (MSIH). Arche & Domínguez discuss the architecture of grammar inrelation to the acquisition theory, explaining the properties and the syntacticrepresentation of the Spanish clitics, i.e. inflectional features (case, genderand number), agreement. They then illustrate the design and methodology of theproduction and comprehension tasks. Based on the results of the tests, Arche &Domínguez claim that inaccurate performance does not indicate an impairedinternal syntactic representation (IRH), but is the consequence of interferencein the post-syntactic mapping to PF and they conclude that their results provideevidence for a model where morphological make-up takes place at a stage otherthan syntax.

THE ROLE OF MORPHOLOGY IN GRAMMATICAL GENDER ASSIGNMENT: A PSYCHOLINGUISTICSTUDY IN GREEK (321-350), SPYRIDOULA VARLOKOSTAVarlokosta investigates the role of morphology in gender assignment in Greeknouns. According to Corbett (1991), grammatical gender assignment involves theinteraction of semantic features such as animacy or sex and morphological andphonological features. Varlokosta builds on two analyses of grammatical genderassignment, namely, Ralli (2002, 2003) and Anastasiadi-Symeonidi &Cheila-Markopoulou (2003). The former's analysis assumes that gender assignmentdepends on morphological features, while the latter analysis claims that this ispredicted based on semantic and morphological criteria (the notion ofPROTOTYPICALITY). The study investigates the ability of Greek native speakers topredict gender in the absence of semantic or phrasal information, based only onmorphological information in a set of novel nouns modelled after real nouns.Based on the results of the test, Varlokosta claims that the participants usemorphological information (specifically in the noun's suffix) to predict thegender in the absence of semantic and phrasal information. These results confirmboth Ralli's and Anastasiadi-Symeonidi & Cheila-Markopoulou's claims about theimportance of morphology. Varlokosta also reports on the interaction betweengender type, number of syllables and stress position, and concludes that genderassignment prediction are part of the speakers' linguistic competence.

EVALUATIONThe editors have brought together a mosaic of research papers related tomorphology and its interfaces. The papers cover a diverse range of topics inmorphology and give a reasonable overview of the different interfaces of variousmodules in their interaction with morphology. As one might expect, the themesand content of the papers vary. Not all of the papers are theoretical studies ofmorphology, nor is there in-depth discussion of the theoretical implications ofthe results in all of the papers, possibly as a result of length limitations.

The papers offer interesting expansions of previous literature in theirrespective topics, and the range should inspire new research in morphology. Thebook is well-organised in its thematic sections, allowing for studies andmethodologies to be contrasted and interpreted together. Another merit of thevolume is the analyses of data from a wide variety of typologically differentlanguages, such as Modern Greek, European Portuguese, Catalan, Spanish,Kayardild, Bulgarian, Scandinavian and Archi. Therefore, this volume functionsas an excellent summary of ongoing research and benefits theoretical andexperimental morphology while yielding new insight into the field.

What one will find is a collection of easily comprehended studies that canprofitably be read as a way to broaden one's knowledge of morphology andinstigate further reading. Given this, the book will primarily be of interest tomorphologists and, because of its thematic allocation, also to those whospecialise in other fields such as syntax, phonology, and semantics.

REFERENCESΑnastasiadi-Symeonidi, A. & Cheila-Markopoulou, D. (2003). Συγχρονικές καιΔιαχρονικές Τάσεις στο Γένος της Ελληνικής (Μια Θεωρητική Πρόταση) [Synchronicand Diachronic Tendencies in Modern Greek Gender (A Theoretical Proposal]. InΑnastasiadi-Symeonidi, Α., Ralli, A. & D. Cheila-Markopoulou (eds.)Tο Γένος[Gender], pp. 13-56. Αthens: Patakis.

Anderson, S. (2005). Aspects of the theory of clitics. Oxford: Oxford UniversityPress.

Bauer, L. (1988). Introducing Linguistic Morphology. Edinburgh: EdinburghUniversity Press.

Booij, G. (1994). Against Split Morphology. In G. Booij & J. van Marle (eds.)Yearbook of Morphology 1993, pp. 27-49. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

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

Chomsky, N. (1970). Remarks on Nominalization. In R. Jacobs & P. Rosenbaum(eds.) Readings in Transformational Grammar, pp. 184-221. Waltham: Ginn.

Corbett, Greville G. (2007). Canonical typology, suppletion and possible words.Language 83. 8-42.

Corbett, Greville G. (1991). Gender. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Giegerich, H.J. (2004). Compound or phrase? English noun-plus-noun constructionsand the stress criterion. English Language and Linguistics 8(1). 1-24.

Hippisley, A., M. Chumakina, Greville G. Corbett & D. Brown. (2004). Suppletion:frequency, categories and distribution of stems. Studies in Language 28(2). 389-421.

King T.H. & M. Darlymple. (2004). Determiner agreement and noun conjunction.Journal of Linguistics 40(1). 69-104.

Maiden, M. (2004). When lexemes become allomorphs - on the genesis ofsuppletion. Folia Linguistica 38. 227-256.

Ralli, A. (2003) Ο Καθορισμός του Γραμματικού Γένους στα Ουσιαστικά της ΝέαςΕλληνικής [Determination of grammatical gender in the nouns of Modern Greek]. InΑnastasiadi-Symeonidi, Α., Ralli, A. & D. Cheila-Markopoulou (eds.) Tο Γένος[Gender], pp. 57-99. Αthens: Patakis.

Ralli, Α. 2002. The Role of Morphology in Gender Determination: Evidence fromModern Greek. Linguistics 40(3). 519-551.

Stump, Gregory T. (2001). Inflectional morphology: a theory of paradigmstructure: Cambridge studies in linguistics, 93. Cambridge: Cambridge UniversityPress.

ABOUT THE REVIEWERThomas Doukas holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the School of Psychologyand Clinical Language Sciences, University of Reading. His main researchinterests are in first language acquisition, with focus on the verbaldomain of Modern Greek and its interfaces with syntax, semantics andmorphology.

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