European Network for Linguistic Morphology

This project aims at setting up and operating a European network of research institutions and scholars working in the field of Linguistic Morphology (an area which covers different topics, such as word-structure, lexical knowledge, productivity, among others). This project builds primarily on the active expertise in the field in the member countries of the European Union.

The network will support the research community by means of a number of actions and services, focusing on transfer of knowledge and expertise (e.g. training, information dissemination), collaborative research (promoting morphology towards the European Research Area), resources (building, sharing and exploiting new types of language resources and annotation schemes), and R&D road maps and Special Interest Groups (setting common research challenges and priorities on the European level for the field).


The ENLM is proposed by an open consortium of research groups in the field of morphology, at present formed by 12 key academic players from 9 EU countries, which represent a world-wide unprecedented gathering of prominent scholars in the field.

The field of linguistic morphology is characterised by its interdisciplinarity, contributing and benefiting from research in various disciplines, ranging from Theoretical Linguistics, Linguistic Typology, Psycholinguistics, Neurolinguistics, Computational and Corpus Linguistics, Acquisitional Studies, to Lexicography and Natural Language Processing.

The recent years have witnessed the development of strong, yet isolated relationships (both personal and academic) among people working in morphology, especially in Europe. This is confirmed by the fact that the only two international conferences in morphology are organized biannually by European institutions and that the main serial publication in the field is the Yearbook of Morphology, edited by Geert Booij and Jaap van Marle, two European scholars (published by Springer, formerly Kluwer).

Furthermore, a great part of the bibliographical cornerstones of Linguistic Morphology have been produced by European researchers, many of which participating in the ENLM consortium; consider, for instance, the two major handbooks in the field, Booij et al. (eds.)(2000) and Zwicky & Spencer (eds.)(1998), which provide a general overview of the main results and a fine-grained description of the theoretical articulations in morphology.

The missing element to this otherwise wonderful scientific community is the formalization, coordination and official support to the constant cooperation between the European research institutions working on morphology by experimenting cooperative workspace systems, by strengthening the links with the commercial and industrial bodies benefiting from research in the field and by coordinating our international fund raising efforts.

The goals of the ENLM can be summarized in the following four points:

  • Transfer of knowledge and expertise: This comprises a variety of flows of knowledge and expertise, e.g. between academia and industry (in both directions), between languages (porting analytical techniques from one language to another), across disciplines, or from developers to researchers. This dimension forms the basis of our coordination, dissemination and referral services.
  • Shared language resources: Language resources are essential, both to support research and development, and to support evaluation. As new types of application areas emerge (e.g. new experimental research in psycholinguistic processing), new types of resources will be needed. ENLM will actively explore the desirability and feasibility of possible new types of resources required by new applications, in close concertation with other scientific and/or industrial/commercial bodies involved in the production and distribution of language resources (e.g. the European Language Resources Association - ELRA -, Evaluation & Language resources Distribution Agency - ELDA -, ELSNET and HLT- Central)
  • Shared scientific goals: In order to create contexts for joint efforts to face major research challenges, ENLM will produce road-maps and programmes for various sub-fields in Linguistic Morphology, which will help establishing common goals and priorities. Each sub-field will be managed by a Special Interest Group (SIG), ensuring a highly articulated network structure.
  • Evaluation: In order for researchers and developers to be able to monitor their own progress, also in comparison with others using different approaches and methods, it is important that there are facilities to support this. ENLM will offer a platform for discussion and further dissemination of evaluation expertise and experience on both sides of the Atlantic.

In short, the ENLM seeks to enhance the dynamism, creativity and proven excellence of European research in all scientific and technological fields dealing with the internal structure and knowledge of words.

Throughout the start-up phase of this project, all the activities of the ENLM members will be carried out with the aim of raising funds to complete the project and fully realize the network’s objectives.

At present, there is no similar initiative in the field of Cognitive Sciences. The European Network for Linguistic Morphology will therefore be a unique venture for the whole field, setting up a path and a model that could be applied to other areas of research in linguistics. We believe that the time has come for such an innovation in the European research community, finally promoting Linguistic Morphology and Linguistics in general in the ERA.

European Network of Linguistic Morphology


Sergio Scalise, University Bologna


Geert Booij (University Leiden), Angela Ralli (University of Patras)

Scientific committee:

Harald Baayen, Radboud University Nijmegen / Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen

Bernard Comrie, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig (?)

Greville Corbett, University of Surrey, Guildford

Wolfgang U. Dressler, Austrian Academy of Sciences - Vienna

Bernard Fradin, CNRS, Paris

Ferenc Kiefer, Hungarian Academy of Sciences

Anke Luedeling, Humboldt University, Berlin

Ingo Plag, University of Siegen

Frans Plank, U. Konstanz, ZAS Berlin

Andrew Spencer, University of Essex, Colchester

Soledad Varela, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid