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Morphology - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Morphology. Morphology is the field within linguistics that studies the internal structure of words. a morpheme. the smallest unit of grammatical analysis. be identifiable from one word to another and Contribute in some way to the meaning of the whole word. MORPHEMES. inflectional

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Morphology 1

Morphology is thefield within linguistics that studies the internal structure of words.

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a morpheme

  • the smallest unit of grammatical analysis.

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be identifiable from one word to another


Contribute in some way to the meaning of the whole word.

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  • inflectional

    work – work(-s)

    work – work (-ed)

  • paradigm

  • derivational

read + -er

un- + tie

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A word and its forms: DERIVATION

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  • Derivationally related words are different words with a shared base.

  • We talk about so called word classes , primary grammatical categories,parts of speech or lexical categories:

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  • Why do we group words into categories?

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  • The lexicon (vocabulary) of language - much higher than a hundred thousand.

  • It is convenient not to study individual items but to group certain items into classes sharing certain features, and examine them together

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  • conversion (or zero derivation)

  • word passing from one word class to another (or several others) without taking any affix

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  • A word and its forms: INFLECTION

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  • (- s ), (- ed),(-er), are attached to words to indicate their grammatical functions, for example number, tense, degree, without involving a full semantic change (i.e. a change in meaning).

  • i n f l e x i o n a l morphemes.

  • p a r a d i g m

  • Inflectionally related word forms are the forms of the same word

  • A paradigm is the complete set of related word-forms associated with a given lexeme

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  • This pianist performs in the local hall every week.

  • Mary told us that this pianist performed in the local hall every week.

  • These pianists perform in the local hall every week.

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  • PERFORM = LEXEME=an abstract kind of word of which the word forms are all inflectional variants

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  • TELL is a lexeme of told (past tense of tell )

  • PIANIST is a lexeme of PIANISTS (plural of pianist)

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  • Inflection vs. word-formation

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  • inflectional rules - relate different forms of the same lexeme

  • word-formation - relate two different lexemes.

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  • word-formation:

  • derivation and compounding

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  • A compound is a word composed of more than one free morpheme.

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  • stir-fry, freeze-dry


  • hand-wash, air-condition , steam-clean


  • dry-clean, whitewash


    underestimate, outrun, overcook


  • downsize, upgrade

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  • right-headed

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  • Blacklist

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  • collective meaning

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  • Hyphenation

  • Unhyphenated,solid -compound verbs with single-syllable modifiers

  • overhang

  • hyphenated - longer modifiers

  • Air-condition

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  • are constructed in a very similar way to the compound nouns

  • a modifier of a noun

  • It consists of two or more morphemes of which the left-hand component limits or changes the modification of the right-hand one

  • "the dark-green dress":dark limits the green that modifies dress.

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    sky-high, coal-black, oil-rich


    grey-green, red-hot


    underfull, overactive

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  • VA structure, corresponding to the VV verbs would resemble hypothetical „sing-happy“ (happy enough to sing),

  • „fail-safe“ (designed to return to a safe condition if it fails or goes wrong).

  • They scarcely exist, even though it is easy enough to find plausible meanings for them.

  • This reflects the relative reluctance of verbs to participate in compounding generally in English.

  • All the compounds here are again right – headed.

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  • Solid compound adjectives

  • earsplitting, eyecatching, and downtown. (AmE)

  • ear-splitting, eye-catching (BrE)

  • Numbers that are spelled out and havethe suffix-fold added: "fifteenfold", "sixfold".

  • Points of the compass:

  • northwest, northwester, northwesterly,northwestwards, but not North-West Frontier.

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  • Hyphenated compound adjectives

  • A compound adjective is hyphenated if the hyphen helps the reader differentiate a compound adjective from two adjacent adjectives that each independently modify the noun.

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  • "acetic acid solution": a bitter solution producing vinegar or acetic acid (acetic + acid + solution)

  • "acetic-acid solution": a solution of acetic acid

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  • The hyphen is unneeded when capitalization or italicization makes grouping clear:

  • old English scholar: an old person who is English and a scholar, or an old scholar who studies English

  • "Old English scholar": a scholar of Old English.

  • "De facto proceedings" (not "de-facto")

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  • no risk of ambiguities - may be written without a hyphen:

  • Sunday morning walk.

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  • Hyphenated compound adjectives may have been formed originally by anadjective preceding a noun:

  • Round table" → "round-table discussion"

  • "Blue sky" → "blue-sky law"

  • "Red light" → "red-light district"

  • "Four wheels" → "four-wheel drive" (the singular, not the plural, is used)

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  • Others may have originated with a verb preceding an adjective or adverb:

  • "Feel good" → "feel-good factor"

  • "Buy now, pay later" → "buy-now pay-later purchase"

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  • others are created with an original verb preceding a preposition.

  • "Stick on" → "stick-on label"

  • "Walk on" → "walk-on part"

  • "Stand by" → "stand-by fare"

  • "Roll on, roll off" → "roll-on roll-off ferry"

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  • The following compound adjectives are always hyphenated when they are not written as one word:

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  • An adjective preceding a noun to which -d or -ed has been added as a past-participle construction, used before a noun:

    • "loud-mouthed hooligan"

    • "middle-aged lady"

    • "rose-tinted glasses"

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  • A noun, adjective, or adverb preceding a present participle:

    • "an awe-inspiring personality"

    • "a long-lasting affair"

    • "a far-reaching decision

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  • Numbers spelled out or as numerics:

    • "seven-year itch"

    • "five-sided polygon"

    • "20th-century poem"

    • "30-piece band"

    • "tenth-storey window"

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  • A numeric with the affix -fold has a hyphen(15-fold), but when spelled out takes a solid construction (fifteenfold).

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  • Numbers, spelled out or numeric, with added -odd: sixteen-odd, 70-odd.

  • Compound adjectives with high- or low-: "high-level discussion", "low-price markup".

  • Colours in compounds:

    • "a dark-blue sweater"

    • "a reddish-orange dress".

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  • Fractions as modifiers are hyphenated: "five-eighths inches", but not in "a thirty-three thousandth part".

  • Fractions used as nouns have no hyphens: "I ate only one third of the pie."

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  • Comparatives and superlatives in compound adjectives also take hyphens:

    • "the highest-placed competitor"

    • "a shorter-term loan"

  • However, a construction with mostis not hyphenated:

    • "the most respected member".

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  • The following compound adjectives are not normally hyphenated:

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  • Where there is no risk of ambiguity:

    • "a Sunday morning walk"

  • Left-hand components of a compound adjective that end in -ly that modify right-hand components that are past participles (ending in -ed):

    • "a hotly disputed subject"

    • "a greatly improved scheme"

    • "a distantly related celebrity"

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  • Compound adjectives that include comparatives and superlatives with more, most, less or least:

    • "a more recent development"

    • "the most respected member"

    • "a less opportune moment"

    • "the least expected event"

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  • Ordinarily hyphenated compounds with intensive adverbs in front of adjectives:

    • "very much admired classicist"

    • "really well accepted proposal"

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  • Verb- noun (VN): swearword, drophammer, playtime

  • Noun-noun (NN): hairnet, mosquito net, butterfly net, hair restorer

  • Adjective-noun (AN): blackboard, greenstone, faintheart

  • Preposition – noun (PN): in-group, outpost, overcoat

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  • Most of these are also right-headed.

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  • If we try to think of more examples for the four types, we will probably find the task easiest for the NN type.

  • In fact, almost any pair of nouns can be juxtaposed in English so as to form a compound or a phrase – provided that there is something that this compound or phrase could plausibly mean.

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  • Concatenating words without case markers

  • compounds - arbitrarily long.

  • Short compounds- in three different ways

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  • solid or closed:housewife,lawsuit, wallpaper, etc.

  • hyphenatedform:

  • compounds that contain affixes


  • adjective-adjective compounds


  • verb-verb compounds,


  • compounds that contain articles,



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  • open or spaced form consisting of newer combinations of usually longer words, such as distance learning, player piano, lawn tennis, etc.

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  • container ship/container-ship/containership

  • and

  • particle board/particle-board/particleboard.

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  • two kinds of NN compound.

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mosquito net

butterfly net

hair restorer

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  • restorer in hair restorer is derived from a verb (restore).

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  • Verbs, unlike most nouns and adjectives, impose expectations and requirements on the noun phrases that accompany them in the sentence.

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  • These expected or required nominal concomitants to a verb are called its arguments.

  • If aNN compound is derived from a verb, the most natural way to interpret the whole compound is quite precise, the first element expresses the object argument of the verb (that is , the person or thing that undergoes the action).

  • For example, an X-restorer, whatever X is, something or someone that restores X.

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  • Sign-writer, slum clearance, crime prevention, wish-fulfilment.

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  • crime prevention

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  • NN compound like hairnet or mosquitonet, in which the right-hand noun is not derived from a verb and whose interpretation is not precisely predictable on pure linguistic basis - a primary or root compound.

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  • NN compound like hair restorer or slum clearance, in which the first element is interpreted as the object of the verb contained within the second - a secondary or verbal compound (synthetic compound)

  • Secondary compounds are certainly right-headed

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  • Adjective-noun (AN): blackboard, greenstone, faintheart

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  • faintheart

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  • faintheart- headless -its status as a noun is not determined by either of its components.

  • Headless AN compoundsloudmouth,redshank (a kind of a bird that has red legs)

  • headless NN compoundsstickleback( a kind of fish with spines on its back), sabretooth.

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  • A few VN-compound nouns resemble secondary compounds in that the noun at the right is interpreted as the object of the verb.

  • Pickpocket, killjoy

  • Headless -a pickpocket is not a kind of pocket,

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  • Some nouns consist of a verb and a preposition or adverb:

  • Take-off, sell-out, wrap-up, sit-in

  • As for headless adjectives, there are quite a number consisting of a preposition and a noun.

  • Overland, in-house, with profits, offshore, downmarket, upscale, underweight, over-budget

  • The adjectival status of these compounds can often be confirmed by their appropriateness in comparative contexts and with the modifier very:

  • They live in a very downmarket neighbourhood.

  • This year’s expenditure is even more over-budget than last year’s .

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  • exocentric

  • endocentric.

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  • Blends and acronyms

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  • a kind of compound where at least one component is reproduced only partially - blends.

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  • smog

  • talkathon

  • cheeseburger

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  • acronyms

  • NATO (for North Atlantic Treaty Organization), ANZAC (for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps), RAM (random access memory), SCSI (pronounced scuzzy, small computer system interface), AIDS (aquired immune deficiency syndrome) .

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  • If the conventional way of reading the string is by pronouncing the name of each letter in turn, as with USA and RP (received pronunciation), then it is not an acronym but an abbreviation.

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  • Compounds containing bound combining forms.

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  • compounds that are made up of bound roots, known as combining forms.

  • Anthropology, sociology, cardiogram, electrocardiogram, retrograde, retrospect, plantigrade.

  • For most of these the meaning of the whole is clearly determinable from that of the parts.

  • For example: anthrop (o) – human plus –(o) logy, science or study, yields a word that means science or study of human beings and planti- (sole) (of foot) and –grade (walking) yields a word meaning walkin on the soles of the feet.

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  • Phrasal words

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  • jack-in-the-box.

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  • Structurally this has the appearance of a noun phrase in which the head noun, jack, is modified by a prepositional phrase, in the box , exactly parallel to the phrases :

  • People in the street or (a) book on the shelf.

  • They form their plurals by suffixing –s not to the head noun (as in books on the shelf) but to the whole expression : book on the shelves, jack-in-the boxes,

  • They jumped up and down like jack-in-the boxes.

  • Though structurally a phrase, then, it behaves as a word.

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  • Let´s contrast it with another item which is at least as idiosyncratic in meaning and which has a superficially similar structure: brother – in – law.

  • A crucial difference is that brother-in-law forms its plural by affixing – s not to the whole expression but to the head noun:

  • Brothers –in –law

  • Despite its hypens, therefore, brother-in-law is not a word at all but a phrase.

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  • Another examples of phrasal words:

  • Dyed-in-the –wool Republican /s

  • Couldn´t-care-less attitude

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