LANGUAGE PROCESSING AND ACQUISITION IN LANGUAGES OF SEMITIC, ROOT-BASED, MORPHOLOGY. Joseph Shimron (Ed.). Amsterdam: Benjamins, 2003. Pp. vi + 394. $156.00 cloth.
This book addresses a fundamental question in the morphological analysis and representation of Semitic languages—namely, whether Semitic word morphology is root based or word based. As Shimron suggests, “there are reasons to view the templates, not the roots, as the more influential factor in determining Semitic morphology” (p. 5). Yet, as others would argue, there are reasons not to disregard the root-based hypothesis altogether. In the case of Arabic morphology, for example, verbal forms inherently contain three nonlinear levels: the consonantal root, the vowel pattern, and the templatic prosody. This nonlinear feature provided a perfect illustration of what has become termed in the literature as root-and-patterns morphology (McCarthy & Prince, 1986, 1990).
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