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  • The Oxford handbook of derivational morphology ed. by Rochelle Lieber, Pavol Štekauer
  • Geert Booij
The Oxford handbook of derivational morphology. Ed. by Rochelle Lieber and Pavol Štekauer. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. Pp. 927. ISBN 9780199641642. $55.

This handbook is the second in a series of four Oxford University Press handbooks on morphology, of which one, also edited by Lieber and Štekauer (2009), deals with compounding, one with inflection (edited by Matthew Baerman, 2015), and a fourth one (to appear in 2017) with morphological theory (edited by Jenny Audring and Francesca Masini). The book is divided into two parts. The first part deals with a number of concepts and issues in the analysis of derivation (understood as all types of word formation minus compounding) and contains a number of chapters on the various types of formal processes involved in derivation (twenty-four chapters in total). Part II consists of fifteen chapters on word formation in various language families, a chapter on ‘Areal tendencies in derivation’, and a concluding chapter on ‘Universals in derivation’ written by the two editors.

After an introductory chapter by the editors that specifies the scope of the handbook, we find two chapters on demarcation issues. In Ch. 2, Pius ten Hacken deals with the demarcation of inflection and derivation and presents a useful survey of the debate on this distinction. He correctly points out that the choices made in the demarcation of these two domains of morphology are theory-dependent. The distinction between contextual and inherent inflection, the latter being closer to derivation than contextual inflection, is not mentioned, nor is the discussion of the intermediate cases in Andrew Spencer’s monograph on Lexical relatedness (Spencer 2013). In Ch. 3, Susan Olsen gives a fine overview of the debate on the demarcation of derivation and compounding. She presents a good summary of the gray zone between compounding and derivation, and the related issue of the gradual transition of words to affixes (that is, semi-affixes or affixoids, which are words embedded in compounds and with a specific bound meaning, as discussed in Booij & Hüning 2014). Olsen also deals with synthetic compounding and the analysis of synthetic compounds such as powerholder, which might be analyzed as either power + holder or powerhold +er; she opts for the first analysis and therefore assigns powerholder the structure of an N + N compound. She correctly points out that certain types of reduplication may also be analyzed as compounding, for instance, the contrastive reduplication of the type salad-salad.

Ch. 4, ‘Theoretical approaches to derivation’ by Rochelle Lieber, focuses on the issue of how the relation between the form and meaning of complex words should be conceived. Both the conceptual level and the phonological level have a rich structure. As to the mapping between [End Page 717] these two levels, it would have been enlightening to relate this issue to the model of parallel architecture (Jackendoff 2002), in which the level of morphosyntactic structure plays a mediating role between conceptual and phonological structure at the level of the word (Booij 2010). Ch. 5, written by Mark Aronoff and Mark Lindsay, argues that in the domain of morphology, language is not a discrete phenomenon: we have to accept that there are degrees of productivity. The authors discuss methods for measuring the degree of productivity of a word-formation process. Ch. 6, ‘Methodological issues in studying derivation’, also by Rochelle Lieber, mentions the potential pitfall of using intuitions in morphological research: corpus-based studies reveal that much more is possible and occurs than one might think on the basis of one’s own intuitions. This is also my own experience. For the domain of English morphology, this insight has been convincingly demonstrated to be valid in Bauer et al. 2013. In addition, an experimental approach to word-formation phenomena is also important, and Lieber observes a convergence between these two methodologies in studying word formation. In the following chapter (Ch. 7), Harald Baayen gives an overview of experimental and psycholinguistic approaches to word formation. The central issue is whether and how morphological structure plays a role...


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