Morphemes , morpheme classification, inflectional and derivational morphology. June 5, 2014. What is a word?? https :// twitter.com/nixicon. Morphology. morphology : subfield of linguistics that studies…
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June 5, 2014
morphology:subfield of linguistics that studies…
morphophonology: study of the interaction between morphology and phonology. More on morphophonology is coming up next week!
In general, a word’s meaning or usage cannot be predicted from the speech segments that make up the word, e.g.:
But there are types of words in which sound and meaning are more closely tied, e.g. onomatopoeia: word that (supposedly) imitates natural sounds
Look at the two shapes. How would you pair these shapes with the following words?
sound symbolism: the idea that vocal sounds carry meaning in and of themselves:
slip slide, slurp, slither, slime, slug… but slave, slit, slow
little, teeny, cutey, Johnny, sweety… butbleed, grip, zombie
But once we know the meanings of certain words, we CAN predict the meanings of other words, because word meaning is often compositional, e.g.:
rapid rapidly drink drinkable
blue blueish bride, Godzilla bridezilla
And yet, the meanings of many phrases and expressions are NOT compositional:
*It’s no use crying over a broken plate.
“Jennifer is a Party Pooper”
morpheme: smallest meaningful unit of language and a building block of words (cf. phoneme). Also, a morpheme is identifiable from one word to another.
pegand begare two morphemes with distinct meanings, differentiated by the phonological feature [+/‐voice] and contrastive phonemes /p/ and /b/.
But /p/ and /b/ on their own do NOT carry any meaning!
Anybody want a peanut?
Anybody want some peanuts?
Anybody want some peanuts?
*Anybody want some –s?
English: a, sweet, camel, library
Spanish: y, casa, cucaracha
-dis, -ish, -ness, -zilla, pre-
in- (inútil), -s (casas), o(puedo)
(a) read‐able (b) leg‐ible
The meaning of the words in (b) and (a) are similar, but roots in (a) are free morphemes, while roots in (b) are bound morphemes!
What about words like…?
cranberry huckleberry loganberry raspberry
There are no words like cran, huckle, logan, and rasp, or at least not with the relevant meaning. Words like cranberry are compounds: complex words consisting of two roots, one of which is bound! Morphemes like cranand loganare often called cranberry morphemes.
Words that consist of a single morpheme are classified as simple words.
Words that consist of more than one morpheme are classified as complex words.
root: morpheme (usually free) that plays a central role, to which all other morphemes attach. Roots usually contribute the greatest meaning component to the resulting word, e.g.:
jump+ able = jumpable (can be jumped)
liquid+ ify = liquify(to turn into liquid)
dog+ s = dogs (more than one dog)
affix: bound morpheme that attaches itself to a root. Affixes are further subdivided into:
base: that to which the affix is attaching; can be a bare root or an already affixed form
stem: the bare root that never changes
With a partner, complete exercise 1 on the exercise sheet.
infix: morpheme that gets inserted INSIDE the root instead of going to its left or right edge!
bhore ‘be full’ bhobre ‘fill’
t͡ʃuwe‘leak’ t͡ʃubwe ‘cause to leak’
fikas ‘strong’ fumikas‘he is becoming strong’
bato ‘stone’ bumato ‘it is becoming a stone’
circumfixes: two‐part morphemes that go AROUND the root simultaneously!
lakna ‘it is yellow’ iklakno ‘it isn’t yellow’
palli ‘it is hot’ ikpallo ‘it isn’t hot’
Lieb ‘love’ geliebt‘loved’
glaub ‘believe’ geglaubt‘believed’
There are other types of morphological processes that are not limited to prefixation and suffixation, e.g. reduplication(root or part of root is repeated).
Agta (Austronesian, The Philippines)
ma‐wakay ‘lost’ ma‐wakwakay ‘many things lost’
takki ‘leg’ taktakki ‘legs’
mag‐saddu ‘leak’ mag‐sadsaddu ‘leak in many places’
Ilokano(Austronesian, The Philippines)
pusa ‘cat’ puspusa‘cats’
jojo ‘yoyo’ joj‐jojo ‘yoyos’
chit‐chat loviedoviesee‐saw teeny weeny
crisscross knock knock bow wow craycray
‘I don’t like him. I like like him!”
Reduplication is often used iconically: repetition of the
phonological material stands for repetition of the events of
things (to mean repetitive action or plurality).
Another non-suffixal processes is zero affixation/conversion: morphological change (usually of lexical class) without any explicit phonological material, e.g. in English:
N V V N
a telephone to telephone to look a look
a friend to friend to run a run
a Xeroxto Xerox to like a like
In English these are exceptional, but some languages use them extensively, e.g.: Hebrew, Arabic use vowel change to signal derivational morphological relationships:
saperverbal root ‘to get a haircut’
English words can also change lexical class through:
Stress change: per’mit (V.) ‘permit (N.)
Final consonant change: prove (V.) proof (N.)
defend (V.) defense (N.)
Vowel change: sing (V.) song (N.)
sit (V.) seat (N.)
lexical (content) morphemes
express general informational content, a meaning that is essentially independent of the grammatical system of a particular language; open class
functional (grammatical) morphemes
tied to a grammatical function, expressing syntactic relationships between words in a sentence or obligatorily marked categories, such as number or tense; closed class
Nouns: London, app, love
Verbs: swim, devour, sleep
Adjectives: squishy, tiny, meh
Adverbs: often, nicely, very
Prepositions: to, by, from, with
Articles: the, a, an
Auxiliaries: has, did, will, might
Conjunctions: and, but, however
Interjections: well, hi, gah!
Affixes: re-, -ness, -ly, -ed, -s
Personal: I, he, they
Reflexive: yourself, themselves
Possessive: my, hers, its
Demonstrative: this, these, those
Indefinite: each, somebody, both
Relative: that, which, what, who
Interrogative: where, when, whether
Tie elements together grammatically:
hit bya truck apples andbananas
Express grammatical features, e.g. definiteness, gender, number, tense:
She found a/the table vs. *She found table.
She found many tables vs. *She found many table.
She fixedit yesterday vs. *She fix it yesterday.
Give me a second, I
I need to get my story straight
My friends are in the bathroom
Getting higher than the Empire State
My lover, she is waiting for me
Just across the bar
My seat’s been taken by some sunglasses
Asking 'bout a scarfun. “We are young”
With a partner, complete exercise 2 on the exercise sheet.
Inflectional morphology creates new grammatical formsof the same word, but the core meaning remains the same. Also, inflectional morphology NEVER changes the word’s syntactic/lexical category, e.g.:
key (N.) keys (N.)
cute (Adj.) cuter (Adj.)
Derivational morphology creates new words from old ones. The core meaning might change significantly, and the syntactic category of the word may change too. Also, the new word will require additional inflectional morphology required by the grammar, e.g.:
happy (Adj.) unhappy (Adj).
blend (V.) blender (N.) blenders
Inflectional morphology marks grammatical features of words, like plurality or tense. This morphological marking is required by syntax of the language. For example, in English, there are contexts where a verb must carry a 3rd-person singular marker:
He goes to school vs. *He go to school
Inflectionsdo NOT create new words but rather mark the existing ones for grammar. The meaning of the inflected word is always compositional, or predictable from the meaning of its parts, e.g.:
piano (musical instrument) + s (plural) = pianos (more than 1 musical instrument)
sweet (sugary flavor) + est (superlative) = sweetest (the most sweet)
different inflectional variants of the same abstract word (lexeme): PAINT
play vs. played
cough vs. coughing
book vs. books
I vs. we, this vs. these
they vs. them
white vs. whiter
loud vs. loudest
numberand person on verbs
number on pronouns
comparativedegree on adjectives
superlativedegree on adjectives
All English inflections are suffixes!
Some English inflections are irregular, e.g.:
tooth teeth go went man men ox oxen
dive dove or dived child children drink drank cactus cacti
But what are the plural forms of nouns like…?
a pair of
a pair of
a piece/stick of
a piece of
some/a lot of
a piece of
a flock of
periphrasis (periphrastic form): use of one or more free morphemes (instead of inflections or derivations) to denote grammatical meaning. Also:
English: ofa dog vs. Japanese: いぬの Latin: stēllae
Some languages have richer inflectional systems than English.
Il sole ‘sun’ (masc.)
la luna ‘moon’ (fem.)
[stul] ‘chair’ (masc.)
[taburetka] ‘stool’ (fem.)
[sidenje] ‘seat’ (neut.)
jeż ‘hedgehog’ NOMINATIVE
jeża ‘of a hedgehog’ GENITIVE
jeżowi ‘to a hedgehog’ DATIVE
jeża ‘hedgehog (dir. ob.)’ ACCUSATIVE
jeżem ‘with a hedgehog’ INSTRUMENTAL
jeżu ‘about a hedgehog’ LOCATIVE
jeżu ‘you hedgehog’ VOCATIVE
Iglu ‘a house’
Igluk ‘two houses’ (DUAL)
Iglut ‘more than two houses’