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Министерство науки и высшего образования Республики Казахстан

Карагандинский Университет Бизнеса Управления и Права

Факультет иностранных языков

по дисциплине: «Лексикология»

на тему: «Morphological structure of English word»

Выполнил: Студент гр. А-97-2

_______________ Шалаев А.В.

Проверил: преподаватель факультета

иностранных языков

_______________ Карабалиева Ш.М.

Дата защиты: «________»

Оценка «__________»

Караганда 2000
This great topic considered the structure of English words includes many items. There are such as

affixes, prefixes allomorphs etc.

In this work I want to try to learn these important lexical meanings.

And I hope the material I gathered with help of Arnold's book and other internet material will be

interested for readers and help them to understand English better.

So, fistful I want to begin from the defining the Morphology.

Morphology studies the internal structure of words

There are many words in English that are fairly obviously analyzable into smaller grammatical

units. For example, the word "unacceptability" can be divided into un-, accept, abil-, and -ity (abil-

being a variant of -able). Of these, at least three are minimal grammatical units, in the sense that

they cannot be analyzed into yet smaller grammatical units--un-, abil-, and ity. The status of accept,

from this point of view, is somewhat uncertain. Given the existence of such forms as accede and

accuse, on the one hand, and of except, exceed, and excuse, on the other, one might be inclined to

analyze accept into ac- (which might subsequently be recognized as a variant of ad-) and -cept. The

question is left open. Minimal grammatical units like un-, abil-, and -ity are what Bloomfield called

morphemes; he defined them in terms of the "partial phonetic-semantic resemblance" holding

within sets of words. For example, "unacceptable," "untrue," and "ungracious" are phonetically (or,

phonologically) similar as far as the first syllable is concerned and are similar in meaning in that

each of them is negative by contrast with a corresponding positive adjective ("acceptable," "true,"

"gracious"). This "partial phonetic-semantic resemblance" is accounted for by noting that the words

in question contain the same morpheme (namely, un-) and that this morpheme has a certain

phonological form and a certain meaning.

Morphs that are in complementary distribution and represent the same morpheme are said to

be allomorphs of that morpheme. For example, the regular plurals of English nouns are formed

by adding one of three morphs on to the form of the singular: /s/, /z/, or /iz/ (in the

corresponding written forms both /s/ and /z/ are written -s and /iz/ is written -es). Their

distribution is determined by the following principle:

if the morph to which they are to be added ends in a "sibilant" sound (e.g., s, z, sh, ch), then

the syllabic allomorph /iz/ is selected (e.g., fish-es /fis-iz/, match-es /mac-iz/);

Otherwise the nonsyllabic allomorphs are selected, the voiceless allomorph /s/ with morphs

ending in a voiceless consonant (e.g., cat-s /kat-s/) and the voiced allomorph /z/ with morphs

ending in a vowel or voiced consonant (e.g., flea-s /fli-z/, dog-s /dog-z/). These three

allomorphs, it will be evident, are in complementary distribution, and the alternation between

them is determined by the phonological structure of the preceding morph. Thus the choice is

phonologically conditioned.


In linguistics, the smallest grammatical unit of speech; it may be a word, like "place" or "an," or an

element of a word, like re- and -ed in "reappeared." So-called isolating languages, such as

Vietnamese, have a one-to-one correspondence of morphemes to words; i.e., no words contain more

than one morpheme. Variants of a morpheme are called allomorphs; the ending -s, indicating

plural in "cats," "dogs," the -es in "dishes," and the -en of "oxen" are all allomorphs of the plural

morpheme. The word "talked" is represented by two morphemes, "talk" and the past-tense

morpheme, here indicated by -ed. The study of words and morphemes is included in morphology.


Affixes, word elements attached to words, may either precede, as prefixes (do, undo; way, subway),

or follow, as suffixes (do, doer; way, wayward). They may be native (overdo, waywardness), Greek

(hyperbole, thesis), or Latin (supersede, pediment). Modern technologists greatly favour the neo-

Hellenic prefixes macro-"long, large," micro- "small," para- "alongside," poly- "many," and the

Latin mini-, with its antonym maxi-. Greek and Latin affixes have become so fully acclimatized that

they can occur together in one and the same word, as, indeed, in "ac-climat-ize-d," just used,

consisting of a Latin prefix plus a Greek stem plus a Greek suffix plus an English inflection.

Suffixes are bound more closely than prefixes to the stems or root elements of words. Consider, for

instance, the wide variety of agent suffixes in the nouns actor, artisan, dotard, engineer, financier,

hireling, magistrate, merchant, scientist, secretary, songster, student, and worker. Suffixes may

come to be attached to stems quite fortuitously, but, once attached, they are likely to be permanent.

At the same time, one suffix can perform many functions. The suffix -er denotes the doer of the

action in the words worker, driver, and hunter; the instrument in chopper, harvester, and roller; and

the dweller in Icelander, Londoner. It refers to things or actions associated with the basic concept in

the words breather, "pause to take breath"; diner, "dining car on a train"; and fiver, "five-pound

note." In the terms disclaimer, misnomer, and rejoinder (all from French) the suffix denotes one

single instance of the action expressed by the verb. Usage may prove capricious. Whereas a writer

is a person, a typewriter is a machine. For some time a computer was both, but now, with the

invention and extensive use of electronic apparatus, the word is no longer used of persons.


The combining from allo-from Greek allos ‘other’ is used to denote elements of a group whose

members together constitute a structural unit of the language (allophones, allomorphs). Thus, -ion/-

tion/-sion/-ation/ are the positional variants of the same suffix. to show this they are taken together

and separated by slight deference in sound form depending on the final phoneme of preceding stem.

An allomorphs is defined as a positional variant of a morpheme occurring in a specific environment

and characterized by complementary distribution. Complementary distribution is said to take place

when two linguistic variants cannot appear in the same environment. Thus, stems ending in

consonants take as a rule –ation (liberation); stems ending in pt, however, take -tion (corruption)

amd the final t becomes fused with the suffix.

Allomorph will also occur among prefixes. Their form then depends on the initials of the stem with

which they will assimilate. A prefix such as im- occurs before bilabials (impossible), its allomorph

ir- before r (irregular), il- before l (illegal). It is in- before all other consonants and vowels (indirect,


In American linguistic allomorphs are treated on a purely semantic basis, so that not only [iz] in

dishes, [z] in dreams and [s] in books, which are allomorphs in the sense given above, but also

formally unrelated [эn] in oxen, the vowel modification in tooth:: teeth and zero suffix in many

sheep are considered to be allomorphs of the same morpheme on the strength of the sameness of

their grammatical meaning and become pure abstractions.


Classification of suffixes

There are different classifications of suffixes in a linguistic research. Affixes have been classified

according to their origin, parts of speech they served form, frequency, productivity and other


Within the parts of speech suffixes have been classified according to lexico-grammatical groups,

and according to the types of stems they added to.

Noun-forming suffixes:

-age (bondage); -ant/-ent (disinfectant, student); -dom (kingdom, freedom);-ee (employee); er

(writer); -ess (actress); -hood (manhood); -ness (tenderness); -ship (friendship) etc.

Adjective-forming suffixes:

-able/-ible/-uble (unbearable, audible, soluble); -al (formal); -ish(Irish, reddish); -ive (active); -less

(useless); -like (lifelike); -ous/ious (trendous, curious); -some (tiresome) etc.

Numeral-forming suffixes:

-fold (twofold); -teen (fourteen); -th (seventh); -ty (sixty).

Verb-forming suffixes:

-ate (facilitate); -er (glimmer); -en (shorten); -ish (establish); -ize (equalize).

Adverb-forming suffixes:

-ly (coldly); -ward/-wards (upward, northwards); -wise (likewise).

A lexico-grammatical class may be defined as a class of lexical elements possessing the same

lexico-grammatical meaning and a common system of forms in which the grammatical categories

inherent in these units. Taking up nouns we can subdivide them into proper and common nouns.

And Among common nouns we will distinguish personal names, names of other animate beings,

abstract nouns and names of things.

Abstract nouns that are signaled by such suffixes as:

-age, -ance/-ence, -ancy/-ency,-dom,-hood,-ing, -ion/-tion/-ation, ism, ment,-ness,-ship, -th,-ty.

Personal nouns that are emotionally neutral occur with the following suffixes:
-an,(grammarian),-ant/-ent (servant), -arian (vegetarian); -ee (examinee); -er (porter); -ician

(musician), ist (linguist); -ite (sybarite);, -or (inspector) etc.

But this classification should be accepted with caution. There may be other variants, however,

whose different meaning will be signaled by a difference in distribution, and these will belong to

some other lexico-grammatical class.


Derivational morphemes affixed before the stem are called prefixes. They modify the lexical

meaning of stem, but in so doing they seldom effects its basic lexico-grammatical component.

Therefore both the simple word and its prefixed derivative mostly belong to the same part of

speech. The prefix mis-, for instance, when added to verb, conveys the meaning ‘wrongly’, ‘badly’,

‘unfavorably’; it does not suggest any other part of speech but the verb. Compare the following

oppositions; behave:: misbehave, calculate:: miscalculate, inform:: misinform. These oppositions

are strictly proportional semantically. There are may be other cases where the semantic relationship

is slightly different, but the general the general lexico-grammatical7 meaning remains. giving::

misgiving ‘foreboding’

The semantic effect of a prefix may be termed adverbial because it modifies the idea suggested by

the stem for manner, time, place, degree etc.

The examples below will prove it. It has been already shown that the prefix mis- is equivalent to the

adverbs wrongly and badly, therefore by expressing evaluation it modifies the corresponding verbs

for manner. The prefixes pre- and post- refer to time (historic:: prehistoric, pay:: prepay, view::

preview). The last word means to view a film or a play before it is submitted to the general public.

Compare also: Graduate :: post graduate (about the course of study carried on after graduation). The

prefix out- means ‘in manner that surpasses’ : outlive (to live longer, outnumber (to exceed in


There are negative and non-negative classes of prefixes English words:

de-, dis-, in-/im-,/il/ ir-, un-.

The general idea of negation is expressed by dis-; it may mean ‘not’, ‘away’, ‘apart’. agree::

disagree (not to agree), appear:: disappear (reverse of appear). Non- is often used in abstract verbal

nouns such as noninterference, nonsense, or nonresistance, and participles or former participles like

noncommissioned (about an officer in the army below the rank of a commissioned officer).

Instead of conclusion

So, I tried to touch some items of great topic Morphological structure of English word. Certainly

the number of material in my work is not enough to learn this item deeply in detail. But, my aim

was just to run trough this topic paying attention on general in my mind points and examples. And I

hope my work helped understand some items of this Great topic not only myself, but the readers

and people whom I tell this ‘referat’. I think the beginners and maybe intermediate student may find

something interesting here, that relieves them from reading very hard Arnold’s book and may be

help understand this book better.