This book brings together leading international scholars to consider whether in some languages there are phenomena which are unique to morphology, determined neither by phonology or syntax. Central to these phenomena is the notion of the 'morphome', conceived by Mark Aronoff in 1994 as a function, itself lacking form and meaning but which serves systematically to relate them. The classic examples of morphomes are determined neither phonologically or morphosyntactically, and appear to be an autonomous property of the synchronic organization of morphological paradigms. The nature of the morphome is a problematic and much debated issue at the centre of current research in morphology, partly because it is defined negatively as what remains after all attempts to assign putatively morphomic phenomena to phonological or morphosyntactic conditioning have been exhausted. However, morphomic phenomena generally originate in some kind of morphosyntactic or phonological conditioning which has been lost while their effects have endured.
Quite often, vestiges of the original conditioning environment persist, and the boundary between the morphomic and extramorphological conditioning may become problematic. In a series of pioneering explorations of the diachrony of morphomes The Boundaries of Pure Morphology throws important new light on the nature of the morphome and the boundary - seen from both diachronic and synchronic perspectives - between what is and is not genuinely autonomous in morphology. Its findings will be of central interest to morphologists of all theoretical stripes as well as to all those concerned to understand the precise nature of linguistic diachrony.
Silvio Cruschina is Research Assistant in the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures at the University of Manchester. He has recently published Discourse-Related Features and Functional Perspectives in the OUP series Oxford Studies in Comparative Syntax. Martin Maiden has been Professor of Romance Languages at the University of Oxford, a Fellow of Trinity College Oxford since 1996, and a Fellow of the British Academy since 2003. John Charles Smith has been Faculty Lecturer in French Linguistics at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of St Catherine's College, Oxford, since 1997. Martin Maiden and John Charles Smith are co-editors with Maria Goldbach, and Marc-Olivier Hinzelin of Morphological Autonomy: Perspectives from Romance Inflectional Morphology (OUP 2011).
1. Introduction ; 2. Stem Alternations in Swiss Rumantsch ; 3. 'Semi-autonomous' Morphology? A Problem in the History of the Italian (and Romanian) Verb ; 4. The Italian FINIRE Type Verbs: A case of morphomic attraction ; 5. The Fate of the -ID(I)- Morpheme in the Central Dolomitic Ladin Varieties of Northern Italy: Variable conditioning of a morphological mechanism ; 6. Future and Conditional in Occitan: A non-canonical morphome? ; 7. Compositionality and Change in Conditionals and Counterfactuals in Romance ; 8. Morphomes in Sardinian Verb Inflection ; 9. The Roots of Language ; 10. Morphomic Stems in the Northern Talyshi Verb: Diachrony and synchrony ; 11. Overabundance in Diachrony: A case study ; 12. The Morphome and Morphosyntactic/Semantic Features ; 13. The Morphome as a Gradient Phenomenon: Evidence from Romance ; 14. Beyond the Stem and Inflectional Morphology: An irregular pattern at the level of periphrasis ; References ; Index