The Role of Lexical Morphology, In Light of Recent Developments.
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In recent years there has been a growing interest in psycholinguistic approaches to modelling morphology. Theorists working within this framework claim that the formal theory of lexical stratification is untenable in light of recent discoveries. In order to address these claims, this paper engages closely with a number of lexical stratification models, with a particular focus on Giegerich’s base-driven stratal model, as well as a number of cognitive based approaches. A critical discussion of some “problematic” circumstances — which arise as a result of derivational suffixation as well as compounding — that have identified in the psycholinguistic and lexicalist literature reveals some interesting similarities between the stratal model and the cognitive approaches. To investigate these apparent similarities, this paper examines a number of theories that model the way words are accessed from the mental lexicon, and their applicability to the stratal model. Finally, key data from a number of neuro-imaging studies is brought to bear upon the stratal model. Engaging closely with this data, it became clear that the neuro-linguistic findings are not incompatible with the features of stratal models. By exploiting this data, some ideas regarding a potential synthesis between the two theoretical frameworks are tentatively put forward, and some key issues are highlighted as possible areas of interest for future research.