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Nominal Morphology Seminar 1 PhD Lecturer Ionela NEAGU


The traditional term for the most elemental unit of grammatical form is morpheme. A single word may be composed of one or more morphemes. (V. Fromkin, R. Rodman, An Introduction to Language, 1974)

Morphemes could be shown in writing, for instance by using hyphens: The tradition-al term for the most element-al unit of gramma-tic-al form is morph-eme. A single word may be compos-ed of one or more morph-eme-s. but it is not conventional to do so. The smallest grammatical unit which has meaning and which is marked in writing is the word. inflectional morphemes show a grammatical function: past tense ed (worked), the plural s (girls). derivational morphemes change the grammatical category of a word: by adding al the nouns element and tradition become the adjectives elemental, traditional. A morpheme at the end of words is called a suffix. A morpheme like un-, meaning not, placed in front of the word to make untraditional, unconditional, is called a prefix. The general term which includes both suffixes and prefixes is affix.

Central to a syllable is a vowel sound, either on its own e.g. I [ai] or opened and/or closed with a consonant e.g. tie [tai]. syllable a unit of sound morpheme a unit of grammar which has meaning e.g. singer [si]+[] two syllables & two morphemes (sing)+(er): sing free morpheme (it can stand alone as a verb) -er bound morpheme (it is always a suffix, never a word, and its meaning is to create a noun from a verb, to signify a person who performs the action of the verb singer is the one who sings. 1. Mark the syllables in the following words, using the International Phonetic Alphabet, e.g. pitifully [pi/ti/ful/ly]=4 syllables. Mark the morphemes in the same words, e.g. piti/ful/ly = 3 morphemes. restless exactly reddening assert chorus performer familiar departure irregularities wildest casual appearances understatement premonitions undiminished disobedient appealing

2. State which of the suffixes below are productive. Give examples of words formed with each suffix. 1. noun-forming suffixes: -age, -ant, -dom, -ee, -ence, -er, -ese, -ess, -hood, -ism, -ist, -ite, -ive, -ling, -ment, -or, -ry, -ship, -th, -tion. 2. adjective-forming suffixes: -ed, -esque, -fold, -ful, -ish, -less, -like, -ly, -y. 3. verb-forming suffixes: -ate, -en, -fy, -ize. 4. adverb-forming suffixes: -long, -ly, -ward, -wise. 3. Use negative prefixes to form antonyms: ability, accuracy, behaviour, combatant, conduct, content, courage, grateful, infection, interprete, legibility, like, literacy, merit, personal, precision, regular, rest, truth. 4. Comment on the use (meaning) of the prefixes in the following sentences: 1. The knight kissed softly the bejewelled hand of the Lady. 2. The protesters besieged the building. 3. The sunset betokened the end of her suffering. 4. The evidence went astray rendering the case more difficult. 5. Its quite relaxing to cycle abreast of your son along the coast. 6. Everybody was taken aback by her death. 7. The party was overshadowed by the bad news. 8. The office is overstaffed. 9. The judge overruled the objection. Labelled bracketing [the]