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Introducing Linguistic Morphology

Laurie Bauer

Edition: 2

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An expanded and updated new edition of this best-selling introduction to linguistic morphology. The text guides the reader from the very first principles of the internal structure of words through to advanced issues of current controversy. The first part of the book introduces basic concepts, with the help of examples from a range of familiar and exotic languages. The second section highlights particularly important topics, and discusses them in more detail. These include the definition of the word-form, productivity, the vexed problems of inflection versus derivation and the nature of the morpheme, and the position of morphology in relation to phonology and syntax. The third section looks at the theory of morphology, considering fundamental problems such as the nature of morphological universals, how the brain deals with morphologically complex words and how morphology changes over time, but also with individual ways of looking at morphology, including natural morphology, word-and-paradigm and level-ordered models.

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About the Author

Laurie Bauer is Professor of Linguistics at the Victoria University of Wellington. He is an Editor of the journal Word Structure.


In the second edition of this well-known textbook, Laurie Bauer provides a thorough introduction to such basic notions as segmentability, the nature of the word-form, inflection vs. derivation and productivity of patterns and processes, carefully discussing controversial issues in each case, using examples that students may well encounter early when they confront the more technical literature. In this area, there is arguably no single dominant theoretical approach, so he is at pains to present both lexicalist and word-and-paradigm morphology, to contrast them, and to show that natural morphology, an approach with rather different goals, is broadly compatible with both. New chapters and sections of others deal with new proposals arising from the problematic status of the morpheme, with non-linear morphology (an approach developed more fully since the first edition), with the historical status of morphology in grammar, and with the relations between the constructs of theoretical morphology and psycholinguistic processes. All these are clearly introduced and the reasons for controversy spelt out. The result is an accessible handy and reliable comprehensive guide to the basics. There are useful suggestions for further reading, and appendices containing quite challenging questions for reflection and a recapitulation with worked examples of some of the key concepts.
- Richard Coates, Professor of Linguistics, University of Sussex
This revision of Laurie Bauer's popular textbook is most welcome. Like the first edition it's clear, reliable and interesting, but it's been updated to take account of the new interest in morphology. New chapters provide an excellent way into recent work informed by non-linear phonology, by diachronic typology and - most interesting of all - by psycholinguistics. Anyone who wants a quick explanation of grammaticalisation, autosegmental morphology or the dual-route theory need look no further. The book also gains from the new exercises and three appendices (including a glossary). An excellent book for the student who really wants to understand.
- Dick Hudson, Professor of Linguistics, University College London