Morphology

Report
The study of the structure of words

Words are an integral part of language
◦ Vocabulary is a dynamic system

How many words do we know?
◦ Infinite sentences with finite vocabulary





Children who enter school: about 13,000
High school graduate: 60,000
Literate adult: approx. 120,000
List of words: Lexicon
Word:
Lexeme


In reading (except some languages like Thai)
words are separated by spaces.
In spoken language spaces rarely exist.
◦ Word boundaries through listening skills are an
illusion

People who master a language recognize
word boundaries not by speech pauses but by
‘elements’ of the words.
thecatsatonthesofa

Phonetic/phonological information
◦ Every word has its pronunciation
◦ Example: tree



Lexical structure information
Example: tree vs. trees
Trees is made up of two parts: tree + (-s)




What are words?
What are the basic building blocks in the
formation of complex words?
How are more complex words built up from
simpler words?
How is the meaning of a complex word
related to the meaning of its parts?

Morphemes
◦ The most elemental unit of a word

believable
unbelievable
desirable
undesirable
happy
unhappy
dressed
undressed
Morphology
◦ Study of the internal structure; rules of word
formation







Prefixes are added to the beginning
Suffixes are added to the end
One morpheme
act
Two morphemes
act + ive
Three morphemes
act + ive+ate
Four morphemes
de + act+ ive+ate
More than four:
Anti+dis+establish+ment+ari+an+ism
For each of the words below, determine the
number of morphemes it has. Then answer
the question below.
Friend
friends
friend’s
lucky
Unlucky
the
cigar
carefully
silly
Does the number of morphemes always equal
the number of syllables?


Affixes represent a wide range of meanings
Free morphemes vs. bound morphemes
◦ Free morphemes can be used alone
◦ Bound morphemes must be attached to other
morphemes

Quick exercise
For each morphemes below, determine whether it’s free
or bound.
Act
de
ive
y
worth
with
un
ness
re
ject
ed
ate


Lexical morphemes vs. grammatical
morphemes
Lexical morpheme
◦ Have a ‘real world’ meaning
◦ Also called content morpheme

Grammatical morpheme
◦ Change the form of a word but don’t have ‘real
word’ meaning

Test: find a synonym for the morpheme
◦ If you can find one, it’s a lexical morpheme

Quick exercise
For each morphemes below, determine whether it’s lexical
or grammatical.
Act
de
ive
y
worth
with
un
ness
re
ject
ed
ate

Conclusion:
free morphemes are (almost always)
lexical
bound morphemes are (almost always)
grammatical

Root morphemes similar to the roots of a tree


Root morphemes are the core of a tree
Affixes are similar to the branches of a tree
◦ They are added to the stem/root to create
multi/poly-morphemic words

Note:
-roots tend to be free and lexical
-affixes tend to be bound and
grammatical
◦ Exception: “rejected”
Quick exercise
 Analyze the word: “rejected”
 How many morphemes does it have?
 Which morpheme is the root? Which ones are
affixes?
 Is the root free and lexical?
Word
Meaning
re+ject
To send back
in+ject
To send in
pro+ject
To send forward
Conclusion: ‘ject’ is a bound root morpheme
Quick exercise

In each of the words below, determine which
morpheme is the root morpheme and decide
whether that root is free or bound. If the root is
bound, provide two additional words with the same
bound root.
Reduce
unhappily
Prediction
proactively
Mindful
reverted

Inflectional affixes
◦ Do not create new words when they attach to
existing words
◦ They change the form of that word to indicate
grammatical meaning
◦ Example: the past tense suffix ‘–ed’ attaches to
verbs to change the tense but doesn’t create a new
word

Number of inflectional affixes is very limited.
Inflectional morpheme








Plural –s, -es (noun)
Possessive –’s, s’ (noun)
Comparative –er (adj.)
Superlative –est (adj.)
3rd person singular –s (verb)
Past tense –ed (verb)
Past participle –ed, -en
Present participle -ing
Example








Pim likes to eat peach-es
Pim’s grades are great
Pim is smart-er than Boss
Pim is the quick-est of all
Pim like-s to study
Pim studi-ed hard for the
quiz
Pim hasn’t fail-ed a test
yet.
Pim has been study-ing for
3 hours

Derivational Affixes
◦ Create new (or derive) new words in two ways
◦ Some derivational morphemes change the content
meaning but not grammatical meaning
◦ Others don’t significantly change the meaning but
the grammatical meaning.

Unlike inflectional affixes, derivational affixes
can be both, prefixes or suffixes in English.
Function
Morpheme
Example Word
Change content meaning
un-
un+happy
Change content meaning
re-
re+write
Change grammatical function (noun ⇒verb)
-ize
trauma(t)+ize
Change grammatical function (noun ⇒adj.)
-y
health+y
Change grammatical function (adj.⇒adverb)
-ly
quick+ly
The number of derivational affixes in English is
far greater than inflectional affixes
Quick exercise

Each of the words below contains two morphemes, a
root and a derivational affix. Decide if the derivational
affix changes the meaning or class of the root.
rewrite
unclear
unhappy
hopeless
creation
helpful
What is the general trend with regard to the behavior
of derivational prefixes vs. suffixes? That is, how
does each kind of affix derive new words?
Morphemes
bound
free
grammatical
lexical
derivational
prefixes
ex:-un
lexical
-bound roots
inflectional
-eight suffixes
suffixes
ex: -ness

similar documents