Rochelle Lieber

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Rochelle Lieber (U.S.) is Professor of Linguistics at the University of New Hampshire. She is a linguist known for her work in morphology, the syntax-morphology interface, and morphology and lexical semantics.

After receiving an A.B. in anthropology from Vassar (1976), Lieber studied linguistics at MIT, receiving her Ph.D. in 1980. Her dissertation, On the Organization of the Lexicon, was written under the direction of Morris Halle. It was in this work that she proposed "feature percolation," a mechanism by which the properties of lexical items are inherited by their larger constituent structures, and which she articulates more fully in Lieber 1992 (77ff). Syntacticians and morphologists have made use of the concept of feature percolation in many different ways since Lieber's first proposal.[1][2][3]

Lieber is the author of Deconstructing Morphology: Word Formation in Syntactic Theory (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1992), an influential attempt to reduce morphology to the syntactic principles of government and binding theory. In Deconstructing Morphology, Lieber makes two statements that are often quoted: "no one has yet succeeded in deriving the properties of words and the properties of sentences from the same principles of grammar," and "the conceptually simplest possible theory would then be the one in which all morphology is done as a part of syntax" (Lieber 1992: 21).

Lieber's recent monograph, Morphology and Lexical Semantics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), is the first attempt to develop a theory of the lexical semantics of derivation and compounding.

Professor Lieber has taught at the University of New Hampshire since 1981. She received the University of New Hampshire Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1991. In addition to several monographs, she is the author of numerous articles and book chapters on morphology. She is currently the co-editor in chief of the Wiley-Blackwell Language and Linguistics Compass.


  1. Lieber, R. & P. Štekauer, Eds. 2009. Handbook of Compounding. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-921987-2
  2. Štekauer, P. & R. Lieber, Eds. 2005. Handbook of word-formation. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer. ISBN 1-4020-3597-7
  3. Lieber, R. 2004. Morphology and lexical semantics. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-83171-7
  4. Lieber, R. 1992. Deconstructing morphology : Word formation in syntactic theory. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-48063-1
  5. Lieber, R. 1990. On the organization of the lexicon. Outstanding Dissertations in Linguistics. New York: Garland. ISBN 0-8240-1890-7
  6. Lieber, R. 1987. An integrated theory of autosegmental processes. Albany: State University of New York Press. ISBN 0-88706-509-0


  1. ^ Di Sciullo, A.-M. & Williams, E. (1987). On the definition of word. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 
  2. ^ Selkirk, E. (1982). The syntax of words. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 
  3. ^ Spencer, A. (1991). Morphological theory: An introduction to word structure in generative grammar. London: Blackwell.