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Morphology - LAN00083H

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  • Department: Language and Linguistic Science
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Dunstan Brown
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module summary

Morphology is the study of the structure of words. Languages can differ significantly in the magnitude of this role. In this module we look at a variety of languages to understand the range of possibilities. Students are introduced to different approaches to morphological analysis. Key questions are addressed, such as the extent to which we can use principles from other components of language, in particular phonology and syntax, to account for the patterns observed, as well as the consideration of principles that may be particularly important for morphology in comparison with other areas of language.

Related modules

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations

  • None

Additional information

With respect to prerequisites the following modules are equivalent. 

First year modules

  • Introduction to Syntax, Morphology and Syntax, and Syntactic Structures

  • Introduction to Phonetics and Phonology, Phonetics and Phonology

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

This module provides an overview of the field of morphology, the study of the structure of words, drawing evidence from a wide variety of languages. The module investigates the structure of words and introduces theoretical approaches to morphological analysis. Topics covered include types of morphological analysis, inflection, derivation, polysemy, inflection, and productivity of morphological processes. The module also explores how morphology interacts with syntax and phonology, building on syntax and phonology skills acquired in the first year.

Employability skills

This module will allow students to develop skills in data analysis, particularly through the use of morphological datasets.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module students will be able to:

  • analyse the internal structure of words in different languages

  • compare and contrast abstract theories and how they apply to practical data

  • evaluate different morphological analyses

  • evaluate different frameworks of morphology

Module content

The weekly module format is as follows:

  1. Scheduled lecture (1 hour)

  2. Scheduled seminar (1 hour): discussion of datasets

The module covers different types of morphological analysis, including different key concepts that have shaped or are debated within the discipline. We will cover how morphology (word structure) interacts with syntax (sentence structure), as well as the role of derivational morphology in creating new words and how we can characterise or predict whether particular morphological rules apply (productivity). We will also have an overview of the different morphological types across a representative range of languages.


Task Length % of module mark
Analysis and discussion
N/A 30
Open Exam (7-day week)
Open exam
N/A 70

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Analysis and discussion
N/A 30
Open Exam (7-day week)
Reassessment: Open exam
N/A 70

Module feedback

Written feedback to be provided within the university mandated time limit.

Indicative reading

Aronoff, M., Fudeman, K. (2022). What is Morphology?. United Kingdom: Wiley.

Brown, Dunstan, 'Morphological Typology', in Jae Jung Song (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Typology (2010; online edn, Oxford Academic, 18 Sept. 2012).

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.