Morphological component

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A component in the grammar in which the word formation rules apply. The question whether there is actually an autonomous morphological component is yet unresolved, and gave rise to Anderson's famous (1982) article "Where is Morphology?". Basically three main approaches can be distinguished. The first approach (e.g. Halle 1973, Halle & Vergnaud 1987) proposes a morphological component which is autonomous from syntax as well as phonology. In the second approach, morphology and phonology are intertwined, i.e., it is assumed that the rules of morphology and phonology apply within a single component: the Lexicon (e.g. Siegel 1974, Pesetsky 1979, Kiparsky 1982). In the third approach, morphology is an integrated part of the syntactic component, which means that both are subject to the same set of principles and/or rules (e.g. Chomsky 1957, Lees 1960, Baker 1988, Lieber 1992). Schultink (1988) and Spencer (1991) provide a survey of the most important theoretical positions held by generative linguists.


Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics


  • Anderson, S.R. 1982. Where's Morphology?, Linguistic Inquiry 13, pp. 571-612, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.
  • Baker, M. 1988. Incorporation: A Theory of Grammatical Function Changing, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
  • Chomsky, N. 1957. Syntactic structures, Mouton, The Hague.
  • Halle, M. 1973. Prolegomena to a Theory of Word-Formation, Linguistic Inquiry 4, pp. 451-464
  • Halle, M. & J.-R. Vergnaud 1987. An Essay on Stress, Cambridge, MIT-Press.
  • Kiparsky, P. 1982. From Cyclic Phonology to Lexical Phonology, in: Hulst, H. van der and N. Smith (eds.) The Structure of Phonological Representations (I), pp.131-175
  • Lees, R.B. 1960. The grammar of English nominalizations, Indiana University Press, Bloomington.
  • Lieber, R. 1992. Deconstructing Morphology, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
  • Pesetsky, D. 1979. Russian Morphology and Lexical Theory, ms. MIT.
  • Schultink, H. 1988. Some Remarks on the Relations between Morphology and Syntax in 20th-century linguistics, in: Everaert et al. (eds.) Morphology and Modularity, Foris, Dordrecht.
  • Siegel, D. 1974. Topics in English Morphology, PhD diss. MIT, Cambridge, Mass.
  • Spencer, A. 1991. Morphological Theory, Blackwell, Oxford.