Layered morphology

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Layered morphology is a term introduced in Simpson & Withgott (1986) to distinguish morphological systems which imply constituent structure from morphological systems which make use of templates (see template morphology). Two major differences between these types of systems are: (a) layered morphology gives rise to headed structures, while template morphology does not; and (b) layered morphology is constrained by some principle of adjacency, while template morphology is not.


[[ English]] and Dutch have layered morphologies, while Arabic and Navajo have template morphologies.


Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics


  • McCarthy, J. 1981. A prosodic Theory of Nonconcatenative Morphology, Linguistic Inquiry 12, pp. 373-418
  • Simpson, J. and M. Withgott 1986. Promonimal clitic clusters and templates, in: Borer (ed.) Syntax and semantics 19: The syntax of pronominal clitics, Academic Press, New York.
  • Spencer, A. 1991. Morphological Theory, Blackwell, Oxford.