About the Handbook

The Cambridge Handbook of Morphology
Andrew Hippisley and Gregory T. Stump, editors

Brief description
Handbooks are an invaluable research tool for direct access to the state of the art in a particular field, and Linguistics is well served by handbooks in syntax, phonology, applied linguistics, and other subdisciplines. Until relatively recently, however, the field of Linguistic Morphology has been under-served in this regard. A number of good texts now exist, including most notably The Handbook of Morphology (1998, Blackwell), edited by Andrew Spencer and Arnold Zwicky, with an updated second edition to be published soon. This handbook and available textbooks are primarily descriptive, with theory in the background, addressing the question: what do I need to know about morphology? Or they focus on a specific area of morphology, such as Lieber & Štekauer’s Oxford Handbook of Compounding (2009). What we are proposing is a morphology handbook covering a wide range of issues and in which theoretical foundations, concerns and implications are purposefully foregrounded, with the goal of answering the extended question: what theoretical issues in morphology do I need to be aware of? In this way it parallels in its purpose Blackwell’s Handbook of Contemporary Syntactic Theory (1991). The proposed book follows a careful design of (1) introducing theoretical foundations from which the main theoretical issues arise, (2) detailing these issues and (3) the principles they inform, and then (4) demonstrating how they play out in the chief morphological frameworks in use today. The theoretical context is then expanded in two respects, to cover (5) repercussions of morphological theory for linguistic theory more generally and (6) ramifications a wider range of linguistic subdisciplines, including typology, historical linguistics, psycholinguistics and computational linguistics.

For researchers addressing theoretical and practical issues to which morphology is relevant (whether these be syntacticians, psycholinguists, or linguists in range of other subdisciplines), there is at present no ready way to get a confident grasp of the full theoretical landscape of contemporary morphology. From source to source, the theoretical picture most often presented is a fragmented one, biased by the lens of a particular dataset or theory. Yet a holistic view of the familiar issues is essential in evaluating an array of possible approaches that could feasibly be adopted. The proposed handbook will allow readers to navigate what morphologists currently consider to be the discipline’s main issues and concerns. It will also serve as a guide to the resolution of these issues in current theoretical frameworks and to the implications of these frameworks for a broader theory of language.

The book falls into six parts:

Part 1: Foundations of morphological theory

Part 2: Issues in morphological theory

Part 3: Morphological principles

Part 4: Morphological frameworks

Part 5: The role of morphology in theories of phonology and syntax

Part 6: Domains for the evaluation of morphological theories

Appendix: Sources and resources for morphological research