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Linguistics for Teachers

Language and Words

Morphology
In Our Last Class…
We Looked At…

Phonetics: places of articulation


manner of articulation
consonants and vowels

Phonology: phonemes and allophones


sounds that contrast meaning
phonological rules
In Today’s Online Segment
Language and Words:
• morphology
• morphemes
• bound morphemes (derivational and inflectional)
• free morphemes (lexical and functional)
• open and closed class morphemes
• word formation processes (coinage, borrowing,
compounding, blending, clipping, backformation,
conversion, acronyms, derivation)
The Longest English Word in a Major Dictionary

Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis
(45 letters)
Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis
pneumono
ultra
microscop(e)
ic
silico (silica when unattached)
volcano
coniosis
Morphology
What is morphology?

Morphology is the study of the formation and the


internal structure of words.

desirability → desire → able → ity


In terms of morphology, the word desirability is not just
one word – it is a word made up of 3 basic elements or
morphemes
Morphemes
A morpheme is “the most elemental unit of
grammatical form”

A morpheme is the “smallest meaningful


unit in language”

A morpheme is the “minimal unit of


meaning”
“They gave it to me,” Humpty Dumpty continued, “for
an un-birthday present.”

“I beg your pardon?” Alice said with a puzzled air.

“I’m not offended,” said Humpty Dumpty.

“I mean, what is an un-birthday present?”

“A present given when it isn’t your birthday, of


course.”
Morphemes

A morpheme is referred to as an ‘element’ rather


than a ‘word’; while some morphemes may
actually be complete words like sweet or book,
other morphemes are not words at all like -re and
-ing – this takes us to our next key concept:
bound and free morphemes
BOUND MORPHEMES
Bound Morphemes
Bound morphemes are those elements that cannot occur
alone – they are typically attached to other words.
*For example, the –er in baker cannot stand alone – it
must always attach itself to another morpheme.
*Receive and permit are both words, but ceive and mit
are not complete words – they cannot stand alone.
Roots

ceive, mit, fer

These are clearly not complete words or free morphemes,


but derivational and inflectional morphemes will be
attached to roots in order to create a free morpheme.

receive, permit, transfer → these are stems


Affixes

We will look at 2 types of affixes:

Derivational
-prefixes (pre, un, con) and suffixes (ist, ly,
ment)

Inflectional
-suffixes (ing, ed, est)
Derivational Morphemes
Prefixes and Suffixes
Derivational Morphemes
Prefixes • Suffixes

• prefixes are added to • suffixes are added to


words to create new words to change a word’s
words part of speech
-pre, un, re, con -ly, ist, ment, ish
premature quickly
unnamed economist
rewrite establishment
conman boyish
Derivational Morphemes

Prefixes: Suffixes:
(new meaning) (new part of speech)

unsavory realize
dislike quickly
asexual helpful
anti-aircraft worker
Inflectional Morphemes
Inflectional Morphemes

Suffixes

• suffixes which are added to words to act as


grammatical markers
-est is added to the adjective short to mark the
word as a superlative adjective - shortest

• there are 8 inflectional morphemes


Inflectional Morphemes

English Inflectional Morphemes

-s third person singular He love-s spinach.


-ed past tense They walk-ed back home.
-ing progressive I’m not com-ing until later.
-en past participle Have you eat-en yet?
-s plural The boy-s are at school.
-’s possessive That’s John-’s sweater on
the chair.
-er comparative It’s warm-er in here than
outside.
-est superlative She’s the nic-est person.
The differences between derivational
and inflectional morphemes

• There are 4 major differences between


derivational and inflectional morphemes:

-location
-order of appearance
-effect on part of speech
-number of allowable affixes
LOCATION
Derivational Inflectional

-are either prefixes or -are only suffixes(only come


suffixes (come before or
after a word) after a word)

undone, mistreat, happily writes, Jim’s, happier


ORDER OF APPEARANCE
Derivational Inflectional
-added to words first -added after derivational
morphemes
teach + -er = teacher
teach + -er + -s = teachers
teachser is an unacceptable
form
**Look at the examples of
lovingly and markedly in
your Parker & Riley
reading**
EFFECT ON PART OF SPEECH

Inflectional
Derivational

-as prefixes, will show a -will not change a word’s


word’s variation in meaning or
meaning part of speech
-as suffixes will show a
word’s different part of
-will simply change a word’s
speech
grammatical function.
NUMBER OF ALLOWABLE AFFIXES

Derivational Inflectional

-more than one can be -only one can be added to a


added to a word
word

unsystematically
happier (only one inflectional
morpheme can be added here
(4 derivational morphemes to show the comparative form)
have been added to the free
morpheme, system) happierest (we cannot add
two inflectional morphemes)
Free Morphemes
Free Morphemes
Free morphemes are those elements that can
stand alone; they do not need to be attached to
other morphemes in order for them to exist as
‘words’.

• Lexical morphemes (dog, bus, big, eat)


• Functional (Grammatical) morphemes (in, are,
the, she, and)
Lexical Morphemes

• Words that carry the content of the


message

-nouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs


(book, pretty, debate, quickly)
Functional Morphemes

• Words that perform specific functions in


the sentence

-conjunctions (or), prepositions (with),


articles (an), pronouns (he), auxiliary verbs
(is)
Can you tell the difference?
The rabbit and the hare were involved in a
dramatic race for the finish.

Which words are the lexical morphemes?


Which words are the functional morphemes?
Closed Class Morphemes
Closed Class Morphemes
Functional Morphemes

-words like and, in, the, she, is are rarely added to


or modified
-there are some exceptions – she + ‘s → she’s
-closed class morphemes help us understand the
grammatical and semantic relationships of the
words
Open Class Morphemes
Open Class Morphemes
Lexical Morphemes and Derivational Affixes

-words like dog, pretty, love, and lovely (lexical


morphemes) can be adapted to fit new
grammatical and semantic demands
-roots like ceive, mit, fer can be added to in order
to create new words
How Words Are Formed
Word formation
• coinage
• borrowing
• compounding
• blending
• clipping
• backformation
• conversion
• acronyms
• derivation
Word formation
• coinage - the invention of completely new words,
especially stemming from commercial products:
kleenex, tylenol, aspirin, xerox, zipper
or from people’s names: hoover, sandwich, velcro

• borrowing - taking words from other languages:


pretzel, yogurt, tycoon, croissant

• compounding - joining two separate words to create


one single word: doorknob, waterbed, good-looking,
fast-food
Word formation
• blending – joining the beginning of one word to the
ending of another word: smog, motel, infomercial

• clipping - a syllable or segment of a word is cut to


create a shorter form: fax, flu, fan, perm, Rob, Tim, Sue

• backformation - a noun is reduced to form a verb:


televise, babysit, donate, edit, work, burgle, peddle
Word formation
• conversion - a word’s function (grammatical
category) is changed to a completely different function:
bottle, down, ball-park, vacation, total

• acronyms – the initial letters are used to represent a


set of words: CD, UNESCO, AIDS, MADD, PIN

• derivation - the adding of affixes to create new


versions of words or new grammatical categories:
orientation, deviation, boyish, sadness
Summary
• morphology
• morphemes
• bound morphemes (derivational and inflectional)
• free morphemes (lexical and functional)
• open and closed class morphemes
• word formation processes (coinage, borrowing,
compounding, blending, clipping, backformation,
conversion, acronyms, derivation)
Required Reading
Yule (2006), pp.54-69

Parker & Riley (2005) pp.85-104