Saturday, September 3, 2011

Review: What is Morphology


What is Morphology? is an introductory book written by Mark Aronoff and Kirsten Fudeman. The book is published by Blackwell Publishing and it is one of their Fundamentals of Linguistics series book. The book is meant for beginners having minimal knowledge of linguistics but with an assumption that they would be studying a course which will guide them in other areas of linguistics like syntax, phonology etc. The book is based on analysis of words and structures and aim is to let students to be able to analyse after studying this book. The student will have a good intermediate level knowledge of the basic issues in morphology and in morphological analysis as well as how morphology is seen in linguistics as a subject.

The authors seem to not to follow any particular school of thought in linguistics or any theory specifically. The book looks very much of practical nature whose aim is to provide a practical insight of the ways in which the linguists and the linguistics see the internal structure of the words of language.

The authors are of the view that languages are different. Although there are universal properties which can be identified in every language but this is a fact that languages are different. They have their own systems which sometimes differ in many aspects. The student therefore should be presented with data from different languages as well as to the morphological system of a single language. So he can see what are the differences and similarities of different languages as well as he can grasp the basic aspects of morphology by applying it to a single language. For this reason, the authors divided each chapter in two parts. Part one is theoratical and like any other text book, in which the data from many languages is presented certainly Am. English is preferred. The second part of the chapters deals with a language Kujamaat Joola, a language spoken in Senegal. For the second part they have selected the appropriate aspect of Kujamaat Joola.

The data from Kujamaat Joola is taken from J. David Sapir's A Grammar of Diola-Fogny, his 1967 revisions to the analysis of the Kujamaat Joola verb (Thomas and Sapir 1967) and his unpublished dictionary. Chapter 2 and 7 deal with noun classes and verb morphology of Kujamaat Joola  and chapter 3 addresses the interactions between vowel and morphology in Kujamaat Joola .

Authors are of the view that Kujamaat Joola  is an ideal language to be analysed for its morphology. Its structures are highly regular and it can be used very well to teach a beginner the concepts of morphology as well as the practical analysis.

The approach to analysis is descriptive. The aim is to enable the student to describe the structures of morphology after studying this book. 

The first sections of each chapter are freestanding and can be taught independently without touching the Kujamaat Joola sections and practical analysis. It is suggested for the tutor to complete second parts in class so the learners can have a good grasp of analysis.

Each chapter ends with a set of problems, some of which are open-ended an perfect for class discussion. Along with it simpler exercises are there in text as well. Koojamaat Joola exercises are also provided so the students can apply their knowledge.

Book has a glossary and the terms of glossary are written in bold format in text to be understood easily.
The lesson plan suggestion is that it should be divided in three parts according to the division of the chapters: presentation of new concepts and material, discussion  of the concepts with respect to Kujamaat Joola and finally to homework based on this discussion.

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