Word-based morphology

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Word-based morphology is a hypothesis proposed in Aronoff (1976) which says that all regular word-formation processes are word-based. A new word is formed by applying a regular rule to a single already existing word. Both the new word and the existing one are members of major lexical categories. This hypothesis entails the claim that English words such as deceive, receive and conceive are not formed by regular prefixation processes, since the base ceive is not an existing word which belongs to a major lexical category.



  • Aronoff, M. 1976. Word Formation in Generative Grammar, MIT-press, Cambridge, Mass.
  • Scalise, S. 1984. Generative Morphology, Foris, Dordrecht.
  • Spencer, A. 1991. Morphological Theory, Blackwell, Oxford.
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