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From Data to Theories

Antonio Fábregas, Sergio Scalise

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This textbook discussing morphology and its processes within a general framework that will incorporate the most recent developments in the field, but also in their relation with syntax, lexical semantics and phonology. It pays particular attention to the debate between lexicalism and constructionism, and provides open activities designed to help students start their own original research and stimulate their own thinking over the morphology of their languages beyond what is usually described in published works.

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1. Morphology: definitions and basic concepts
1.1. What is morphology?
1.1.1. Its object of study
1.1.2. Morphology's place in grammar
1.1.3. Differences between the lexicon and morphology
1.2. Classes of morphemes
1.2.1. Classes of affixes
1.3. Subdivisions of morphology
1.3.1. Inflection
1.3.2. Word formation: derivation and compounding
1.4. The spell out of morphemes
1.4.1. Allomorphy
1.5. Productivity
2. Morphological units
2.1. Morphemes
2.2. Words
2.3. The debate on the existence of morphemes
2.3.1. Replacive and substractive morphology
2.3.2. Mismatches between grammatical features and their exponents
2.3.3. Cranberry morphemes
2.3.4. Priscianic word formation
2.3.5. Paradigmatic motivation of meaning
2.4. Other units
2.4.1. Roots and stems
2.4.2. Constructions
2.4.3. Templates
2.5. Correlations between morphemes and morphs and morphological typology
3. Morphological structures
3.1. The motivation for morphological structures
3.1.1. Evidence in favour of word internal structure
3.2. The properties of morphological structures
3.2.1. The concept of head
3.2.2. The position of the head
3.2.3. Binary branching
3.3. Arguments against morphological structures
3.3.1. A-morphous morphology
3.3.2. Exocentricity
3.3.3. Bracketing paradoxes
3.3.4. Double base
3.3.5. Parasynthesis
4. Inflectional processes
4.1. Properties of inflection
4.2. Inflection and grammatical categories
4.2.1. A comparison of five languages
4.2.2. Non-inflected categories: prepositions, conjunctions and adverbs
4.3. Desinences and theme vowels in grammar
4.3.1. The status of gender and the notion of desinence
4.3.2. Theme vowels
4.4. Paradigms
4.4.1. Syncretism
4.4.2. Defectivity
4.4.3. Suppletion
4.4.4. Patterns of irregularity
5. Derivational processes
5.1. Properties of derivation
5.2. Category changes
5.2.1. Nominalisations
5.2.3. Adjectivalisations
5.3. Semantic changes
5.4. Category cha

About the Author

Antonio Fábregas is Full Professor of Spanish Linguistics at the University of Tromsø. He took his Ph.D. in Madrid in 2005. He has worked extensively on the morphology of Romance languages and has also published papers on syntax, semantics and phonology.

Sergio Scalise is Full Professor of General Linguistics at the University of Bologna. He has worked exstensively on theoretical morphology and on morphology of Italian. He is director of the Journal "Lingue e Linguaggio" and co-organizer of the Mediterranean Morphology Meetings. He has given courses, seminars and lectures in several universities (Madrid, Barcelona, Girona, Paris, Cambridge, Hamburg, Vienna, Tokyo, New York, Amsterdam, Rome, Budapest, etc.).


A precious guide to the meandering paths of morphological analysis. The ideal textbook for encouraging advanced students to question the issues of morphological units and the relation of morphology to other linguistic fields. A critical eye to the most recent theoretical approaches of word structure. This volume should be an essential part of any graduate course in morphology.

Angela Ralli, Ph.D., is a professor of General Linguistics at the Department of Philology (Linguistics Division) of the University of Patras.


 This book presents a welcome and balanced survey of present-day morphological theories for advanced students of morphology. The authors provide helpful guidance in the analysis of various morphological data and the related theoretical issues that play a role in the present debate on morphology and its place in the architecture of grammar.

 Geert Booij, Professor of Linguistics, Leiden University Centre of Linguistics

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