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Morphology



Morphology is the study of word structure. For example in the sentences The dog runs and The dogs run, the word forms runs and dogs have an affix -s added, distinguishing them from the bare forms dog and run. Adding this suffix to a nominal stem gives plural forms, adding it to verbal stems restricts the subject to third person singular. Some morphological theories operate with two distinct suffixes -s, called allomorphs of the morphemes Plural and Third person singular, respectively. Languages differ wrt. to their morphological structure. Along one axis, we may distinguish analytic languages, with few or no suffixes or other morphological processes from synthetic languages with many suffixes. Along another axis, we may distinguish agglutinative languages, where suffixes express one grammatical property each, and are added neatly one after another, from fusional languages, with non-concatenative morphological processes (infixation, Umlaut, Ablaut, etc.) and/or with less clear-cut suffix boundaries.

Morpheme

In morpheme-based morphology, a morpheme is the smallest linguistic unit that has semantic meaning.

In spoken language, morphemes are composed of phonemes, the smallest linguistically distinctive units of sound.

The concept morpheme differs from the concept word, as many morphemes cannot stand as words on their own. A morpheme is free if it can stand alone, or bound if it is used exclusively along side a free morpheme.

English example: The word "unbreakable" has three morphemes "un-", (meaning not x) a bound morpheme, "-break-" a free morpheme, and "-able". "un-" is also a prefix, "-able" is a suffix. Both are affixes.

Types of morphemes

  • Free morphemes like town, dog can appear with other lexemes (as in town hall or dog house) or they can stand alone, or "free".

Free morphemes fall into two categories .

First :The set of ordinary nouns , adjectives and verbs this is called ( lexical morphemes ) eg) boy , man , sad , long , follow , break …

Second :This set consists largely of the functional words in the language such as conjunctions , prepositions and pronouns this is called ( functional morphemes) eg)and , but , on , near , the , that  , it ……

  • Bound morphemes like "un-" appear only together with other morphemes to form a lexeme. Bound morphemes in general tend to be prefixes and suffixes. Unproductive, non-affix morphemes that exist only in bound form are known as "cranberry" morphemes, from the "cran" in that very word. This also falls in two categories :

First :Inflectional morphemes modify a word's tense, number, aspect, and so on. (as in the dog morpheme if written with the plural marker morpheme s becomes dogs).

Noun +                  -'s  , -s

Verb  +                   -s  , -ing  ,  -ed  , -en

Adjective  +          -est  , -er

Second: Derivational morphemes can be added to a word to create (derive) another word: the addition of "-ness" to "happy," for example, to give "happiness." ( -less , -ness , pre- , un- , …..)

  • Allomorphs are variants of a morpheme, e.g. the plural marker in English is sometimes realized as /-z/, /-s/ or /- ɪz/.

Free morpheme

In linguistics, free morphemes are morphemes that can stand alone, unlike bound morphemes, which occur only as parts of words. In the English sentence colorless green ideas sleep furiously, for example, color, green, idea, and sleep are all free morphemes, whereas -less, -s and -ly are all bound morphemes

Bound morpheme

Bound morphemes are morphemes that can occur only when attached to root morphemes. Affixes are bound morphemes. Common English bound morphemes include: -ing, -ed, -er, and pre-.

Morphemes that are not bound morphemes are free morphemes.

Allomorph

An allomorph is a linguistics term for a variant form of a morpheme. The concept occurs when a unit of meaning can vary in sound (phonologically) without changing meaning. It is used in linguistics to explain the comprehension of variations in sound for a specific morpheme.

[edit] Allomorphy in English

English has several morphemes that vary in sound but not in meaning. Examples include the past tense and the plural morphemes.

Example In the English language the past tense morpheme is -ed. It occurs in several allomorphs depending on its phonological environment, assimilating voicing of the previous segment or inserting a schwa when following an alveolar stop:

  • as /əd/ in 'hunted' or 'banded',
  • as /d/ in 'buzzed',
  • as /t/ in 'fished'


problems in morphological description

So far we have only considered examples of English words in which the different morphemes are easily identifiable . thus what is the inflectional morpheme which makes sheep the plural of sheep , or men the plural of man ?

A related question concern the inflection which makes went the past of go .

And yet another question concern the derivation of an adjective like legal . If al is the derivational suffix , as it is in forms like institutional , then what is the stem ? No it is not leg

A full description of English morphology will have to take account of both historical influences and the effect of borrowed elements .

Morphemes

Introduction

Morphemes are what make up words.  Often, morphemes are thought of as words but that is not always true.  Some single morphemes are words while other words have two or more morphemes within them.  Morphemes are also thought of as syllables but this is incorrect. Many words have two or more syllables but only one morpheme. Banana, apple, papaya, and nanny are just a few examples.  On the other hand, many words have two morphemes and only one syllable; examples include cats, runs, and barked.

Definitions

  • morpheme: a combination of sounds that have a meaning.  A morpheme does not necessarily have to be a word. Example:  the word cats has two morphemes. Cat is a morpheme, and s is a morpheme.  Every morpheme is either a base or an affix.  An affix can be either a prefix or a suffix. Cat is the base morpheme, and s is a suffix.
  • affix: a morpheme that comes at the beginning (prefix) or the ending (suffix) of a base morpheme. Note: An affix usually is a morpheme that cannot stand alone. Examples: -ful, -ly, -ity, -ness. A few exceptions are able, like, and less.
  • base: a morpheme that gives a word its meaning.  The base morpheme cat gives the word cats its meaning: a particular type of animal.
  • prefix: an affix that comes before a base morpheme.  The in in the word inspect is a prefix.
  • suffix: an affix that comes after a base morpheme.  The s in cats is a suffix.
  • free morpheme: a morpheme that can stand alone as a word without another morpheme.  It does not need anything attached to it to make a word. Cat is a free morpheme.
  • bound morpheme: a sound or a combination of sounds that cannot stand alone as a word.  The s in cats is a bound morpheme, and it does not have any meaning without the free morpheme cat.
  • inflectional morpheme: this morpheme can only be a suffix.  The s in cats is an inflectional morpheme.  An  inflectional morpheme creates a change in the function of the word. Example: the d in invited indicates past tense. English has only seven inflectional morphemes: -s (plural) and -s (possessive) are noun inflections; -s ( 3rd-person singular), -ed ( past tense), -en (past participle), and -ing ( present participle) are verb inflections; -er (comparative) and -est (superlative) are adjective and adverb inflections.
  • derivational morpheme: this type of morpheme changes the meaning of the word or the part of speech or both.  Derivational morphemes often create new words. Example: the prefix and derivational morpheme un added to invited changes the meaning of the word.
  • allomorphs: different phonetic forms or variations of a morpheme. Example: The final morphemes in the following words are pronounced differently, but they all indicate plurality: dogs, cats, and horses.
  • homonyms: morphemes that are spelled the same but have different meanings. Examples: bear (an animal) and bear (to carry), plain (simple) and plain ( a level area of land).
  • homophones: morphemes that sound alike but have different meanings and spellings. Examples: bear, bare; plain, plane; cite, sight, site.














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