Morphomatological Meanderings—Epiphanios o Philomousos SpecGram Vol CLX, No 1 Contents More Phonomy—Herself

Uninvited Perspectives on the Morphome

An Open Letter to the Organizers of the Workshop ‘Perspectives on the Morphome’
From the SpecGram Council of Morphologians

Estimado Centro de Estudos de Linguística Geral e Aplicada,

We are displeased that the we were not allowed to attend this controversial workshop on this controversial topic because our controversial research is too controversial. Thus we are presenting our findings in this open letter, sent in care of Speculative Grammarian, in the hope that someone, somewhere, somewhen will somehow find it somewhat comforting as they wrestle with their own morphomic demons.

We feel there are two main relevant perspectives on the morphome that need to be considered: pro and con.

On the pro side:

Morphomes may represent an important and useful advance in theoretical linguistic abstraction. So much so, that similar abstractions should be sought out in other sub-disciplines within linguistics—such as phonomes, semomes, and syntactomes.

[Note: These and many others are in fact suggested within the pages of this very issue! —Eds.]

On the con side:

The term “morphome” has, to some, always seemed like a bit of a set-up, really:

  1. Banish everything in morphology that you can’t easily explain or readily connect to other stuff off to a holding pen.
  2. Give the holding pen a name, thus encouraging people to think of it as a “component” rather than as the result of a “category for things that don’t fit in categories” strategy.
  3. Make the name something that causes cognitive dissonance so people have to keep re-focusing on it.

It’s the linguistic term equivalent of the creepy giant-puppet-looking Burger King guy in U.S. ads. It sticks in your head even if you think it’s silly.

In conclusion, we support the pro-morphome faction, but find that the [+BurgerKing] argument of the “con” side is also quite compelling.

The SpecGram Council of Morphologians

Morphomatological MeanderingsEpiphanios o Philomousos
More PhonomyHerself
SpecGram Vol CLX, No 1 Contents