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Chapter 1 - What is morphology?

 

  1. Define morphology and the other major subfields of linguistic theory.
  2. Trace the fortunes of morphology over the years.
  3. Sketch the traditional tripartite typology of languages.
  4. What led many structural linguists to attach less importance to the word?
  5. What is necessary to explain the change of dived to dove as the simple past of English dive, and what does this have to do with the existence of morphology as a subfield of linguistics?
  6. Why should the patterning of lexical and grammatical elements be considered the primary articulation of language (rather than the secondary)?
  7. Comment on the following sentence from M. (top of p. 16), "Indeed, whatever we think of ageing or dying in a Verbal construction of the type He's aging or He's dying, do we still want to say that they are forms of the Verbs 'age' or 'die' when they appear in the phrase his ageing father or in Yeats's those dying generations?
  8. What is the relation between cynics and dogs?
  9. Comment on the -er/-or endings in butcher, grocer, peddler, editor, and ironmonger.
  10. If separating off the -st in east and west, and the -th in north and south constitutes subanalysis, where does one draw the line between analysis and subanalysis?
  11. How do phonaesthemes differ from morphemes? Give some examples.
  12. Compare and contrast Hockett's three models of grammatical description/analysis. Give examples.

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Chapter 2 - Word, word-form, and lexeme

  1. Exemplify and explain the three senses in which the word "word" is used.
  2. Give examples of inter- and intra-lexemic homonymy. To what does the term syncretism apply?
  3. Compare and contrast the morphosyntactic categories of English and Latin nouns.
  4. Compare and contrast the British and American schemes of the branches of morphology.
  5. In this chapter M. refers to the use of concordances in literary criticism. Can you think of morphology tasks in which concordances might be helpful? What are some other tools that can help in doing morphology? To what extent are such tools language-specific? What English-specific tools are listed in Matthews's bibliography? (To focus your thinking, here are some possible tasks: (1) find all instances of a certain affix; (2) find when it first entered the language or "became an affix." Are different tools needed for prefixes and suffixes?)

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Chapter 3 - Inflections and word-formation

  1. How do paradigms relate to the inflection-derivation distinction, according to M.?
  2. The word-form trying is homonymous and may represent what two lexemes, according to M.?
  3. Can one rely on part-of-speech classification to decide whether more than one lexeme is involved? Give examples.
  4. Give two examples of inflection shading into derivation, or vice versa, from M.
  5. A recurring theme in the main section of the chapter (WHY THE DISTINCTION?) is:

    How does this theme relate to the inflection-derivation distinction? What are some rules-of-thumb that may be used?

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Chapter 4 - Lexical derivation

  1. What are two reasons why M. prefers the term "word-formation" instead of "derivation."
  2. Whereas it seems to make little difference whether, in a language like English, one speaks of the word-form "generation" being derived from the word-form "generate", or the lexeme GENERATION being derived from the lexeme GENERATE, in a language like Latin it is preferable to refer only to lexemes when discussing derivation. Why?
  3. Discuss the relation of TREPID to intrepid and trepidation, of JUBIL to jubilee and jubilation, and of BUTCH to butcher.
  4. "In brief, the meaning of derived words is in part synthetic and in part analytic." Discuss, using examples such as direction, generation, action, unsavory, unholy, jailer, prisoner.
  5. Discuss, with respect to both productivity and semantic nuances, pairs such as immeasurable, unmeasurable; unrenewable, nonrenewable; unaligned, nonaligned; immoral, amoral; disinterested, uninterested.
  6. What factors may inhibit or stimulate productivity? Give examples.
  7. Is the distinction M. attempts to draw between "formation by rule" and "creation by analogy" a valid one. How does it relate to the diachronic-synchronic distinction, and to the inflection-derivation distinction? What is his own answer to the first question, as to whether that distinction is valid?
  8. How would O'Grady, Dobrovolsky, and Aronoff (Contemporary Linguistics, 3d ed., New York: St. Martins, 1997) show the structure of the words below? Which of the affixes that you find in these words are in Table 4.13 (p. 129), or could be added to it? (Note that at least two or three parallel examples are needed in order for an affix to be placed in the table.) (1) receive, (2) renew, (3) repay, (4) replacement, (5) rewrite, (6) retrace, (7) restore, (8) justice, (9) redisposal, (10) delight, (11) possible, (12) comparable, (13) optionality, (14) seasonal, (15) comfortable, (16) horrify, (17) inane, (18) uncouth, (19) unkempt, (20)disease.

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Chapter 5 - Compounds

  1. "One source of opaque compounds is the process known as 'popular etymology'." In what sense are cockroach and sparrowgrass opaque? In what sense, if any, are blackbird, greyhound, and nuthatch opaque?
  2. "Another reason [why, in practice, compounds must be entered in the dictionary] is that compounding, like word formation, in not fully productive." Explain, using forms such as meat-eater, egg-eater, lady-killer, nun-killer, whisky-drinker, Cheroot-smoker, etc.
  3. "Any compound may, in principle, be an immediate constituent of a further compound." Give examples.
  4. Give arguments for and against "the syntactic view" of compounding.
  5. Distinguish between endocentric and exocentric compounds. Give examples.
  6. Discuss minimalist and maximalist approaches to the classification of English compounds, giving examples.
  7. M. gives three limitations to such classification schemes: their inability to uniquely specify the meanings of the compounds thus classified; indeterminacies in applying the classification; their inability to deal with opaque compounds. Clarify and gives examples of each limitation.
  8. Should words like policeman and postman be considered compounds or derived words? Give evidence for and against.
  9. Should words like bridegroom, hiccough, magpie, pullover, and lord be considered compounds? Discuss these and other such problematic examples in detail.
  1. Discuss in detail criteria for distinguishing compounds from syntactic constructions, and problems that arise from relying on any single criterion:
  2. Consider whether or not (or the extent to which) each of the following words should be considered a compound, using the tests of 10.a.; cite two or three other words formed according to the same pattern; and indicate anything else especially noteworthy about the word: (1) lady, (2) cupboard, (3) heir apparent, (4) mother-in-law, (5) cockroach, (6) winchat, (7) linch pin, (8) offside(s), (9) downsize (v.), (10) crybaby, (11) spacewalk, (12) falling out, (13) cranberry, (14) madman, (15) postman, (16) overbook, (17) ongoing, (18) inbred, (19) offload, (20) outdistance, (21) through-put, (22) accident prone, (23) lackluster, (24) plea bargain, (25) failsafe, (26) passer-by, (27) come to, (28) turn off (v.), (29) add up, (30) lay off.

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Chapter 6 - Morphemes and allomorphs

  1. How did the view of the morpheme held by the Neo-Bloomfieldians differ from that held by Bloomfield himself? In summarizing the two views, M. says that "Some of this belongs to history." What remains for him? (Answering this question involves distinguishing among three views of the morpheme.)
  2. Using examples, distinguish between contrastive and complementary distribution of phones. Of morphs.
  3. What is the relation between automatic alternations and "the phonological structure of words in general" ( = PHONOTACTICS)?
  4. Distinguish between the phonological and morphological conditioning of alternations.
  5. Summarize Turkish vowel harmony in a few succinct prose statements.

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Chapter 7 - Morphological processes

  1. How do the "Item and Arrangement" model of Chapter 6 and the "Item and Process" model as set forth by M. in Chapter 7 differ? Is one more or less linear or sequential than the other? Do both involve morphemes? How does the past participle of English come fare in each?
  2. What major categories of morphological processes does M. identify? Where does reduplication fit into his scheme? Although he says that "a detailed typology might arguably be too tedious for this kind of book," what are the various subtypes that he does mention?
  3. In some cases, M. seems concerned with questions of "directionality." Explain his concern, as you understand it. Is this an important question, and if so, do you see any way to settle it?

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Chapter 8 - Morphophonemics

  1. To what extent is this chapter about phonology rather than morphology?
  2. What is morphophonemics?
  3. Compare and contrast sandhi rules and those of generative phonology.
  4. Discuss the proposition that in order to use a morpheme approach to the description of fusional languages, it is necessary to convert them into agglutinative languages. What evidence for such a proposition is to be found in this chapter?
  5. What is a diacritic feature? Of what use is it?

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Chapter 9 - Properties and their exponents

For this chapter, we depart from the approach of study questions, and simply provide several bits of advice intended to help the reader glean what we consider the main points of the chapter with minimal effort.

  1. Reflect on the significance of the distinction between the two extracts in the first paragraph, one of which shows "SEA + Plural" in left-to-right sequence, and the other of which shows "Plural" placed above "SEA" within square brackets. One extends the sequencing of syntax into the interior of the word; the other asserts an absence of linear sequencing within words. Which does Matthews appear to favor, and for what reasons?
  2. Matthews attempts to distinguish between the terms "fusional" and "flectional" in referring to language types. He is prepared to use the term "fusional" for the operation of fusion as it takes place, for example, in the formation of the word "šocuum" 'my child', wherein the stem-final velar (the Turkish "soft-g") disappears, but for some reason appears unwilling to extend the term to the type of language in which such processes are widespread, calling them instead "flectional." He then goes on to suggest that a language might be "flectional" but not "fusional." I do not view this as especially helpful, and would advise students studying morphology with me not to pursue this distinction, to simply use the term "fusional" for languages such as Greek and Latin (the type of "language for which the 'Item and Arrangement' model works badly," to quote Matthews) and avoid the term "flectional." Substitute "fusion" for "flection" as you read the section on "flection"--except, of course, in the word "inflection," which has a currency of its own independent of "flection."
  3. Look carefully at the Greek example "elelykete" as Matthews dissects it, and as it is displayed in the extract at the top of page 174. If you have several shades of highlighting pens, use a different color for each of its morphosyntactic properties in the extract, to highlight their OVERLAP, CUMULATION, and--in the case of PAST--their DISCONTINUITY.
  4. Do not expend great effort learning Matthews's proposed classification of types of exponence, other than to consider whether CUMULATIVE EXPONENCE might furnish some welcome relief to the American-grown term PORTMANTEAU MORPH. (It would seem to be a draw!)
  5. Can matrix permutation be put to work to discover and highlight exponence?
  6. Final advice for Chapter 9: look at exponence not as the sort of analysis required by the 'Word and Paradigm' model, but as the sort of analysis that shows why morpheme-based models work badly for fusional languages, why a 'Word and Paradigm' model is necessary. Turn to Chapter 10 to learn more about the WP model.

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Chapter 10 - Paradigms

  1. For this chapter, we attempt to be helpful by pointing to the key concepts. Do you understand what each of the following is, and what it entails?
  2. What sort of analysis, if any, do people engage in as they perform "the method of exemplary paradigms?"

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Chapter 11 - Inflectional morphology and syntax

  1. Give four answers to the question, "What are words?"
  2. Under "problems and discrepancies," we find the Latin examples "virumque" and "amatus sum" at two ends of the spectrum. Explain the problems/discrepancies they present for the definition of wordhood. What technical terms are used for the phenomena they exempify? [back to list of essays]