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Project 2: Morphology and Word-Building

1. Select a 125-150 word passage from a middle, high school, or college level of academic reading.
Note: If there are not enough complex words, you may need to go beyond 150 words. Your first
step is to underline all the words that have recognizable English roots and derivational affixes
(prefixes and suffixes).

I HAD to have company--I was made for it, I think--so I made friends with the animals. They are
just charming, and they have the kindest disposition and the politest ways; they never look sour,
they never let you feel that you are intruding, they smile at you and wag their tail, if they've got
one, and they are always ready for a romp or an excursion or anything you want to propose. I
think they are perfect gentlemen. All these days we have had such good times, and it hasn't been
lonesome for me, ever. Lonesome! No, I should say not. Why, there's always a swarm of them
around --sometimes as much as four or five acres--you can't count them; and when you stand on
a rock in the midst and look out over the furry expanse it is so mottled and splashed and gay with
color and frisking sheen and sun-flash, and so rippled with stripes, that you might think it was a
lake, only you know it isn't; and there's storms of sociable birds, and hurricanes of whirring
wings; and when the sun strikes all that feathery commotion, you have a blazing up of all the
colors you can think of, enough to put your eyes out.

2. Divide all of the words into content words and function words.
Function Words

I had to have was for it so ways let you that at their If they’ve got
want to all me these days we with they are can’t them when out over is and they the a or an hasn’t
been no should say not why there’s always of them sometimes as much on in might think only know
isn’t there’s up can enough out your

Content Words

Company charming think made friends animals kindest disposition politest Never look sour feel
intruding one smile wag tail always ready Romp excursion anything purpose think perfect gentlemen
such good times lonesome swarm around four five acres count stand rock midst look furry expanse
mottled splashed gay color frisking sheen sun-flash rippled stripes lake storms sociable birds
hurricanes whiring wings sun strikes feathery commotion blazing eyes out

3. Find the compound and complex words. List the content words that are compound (consisting
of two free morphemes. Some of these words may also have complex words within them (such
as self-regulation or classrooms). Note that words can be used again in different categories.
Make a list for the complex words (one free morpheme and one or more bound morphemes)

that have semantically transparent (easily recognizable) roots, which you have underlined in
your passage.

Company friends animals charming kindest disposition politest intruding always excursion
anything propose prefect gentlemen lonesome sometimes expanse mottled splashed
frisking sun-flash rippled stripes sociable hurricanes whirring feathery commotion blazing

4. From the complex words, separate the words that have derivational morphemes from those
that have inflectional suffixes.

Friends animals charming intruding always sometimes expanse mottled splashed frisking
rippled stripes hurricanes whirring blazing

Company kindest disposition politest excursion anything propose prefect gentlemen
lonesome sometimes sun-flash sociable feathery commotion

5. For all the derived words with recognizable English stems, give the word class of the original
word and of the derived word.
Here is an example:
 Kind (N)
 Position (N)
 Polite (Adj)
 Gentle (Adj)
 Lone (Adj)
 Social (Adj)
 Feather (N)
 Common (N)
 Kindest (Adj)
 Disposition (N)
 Politest (N)
 Gentlemen (N)
 Lonesome (Adj)
 Sociable (Adj)
 Feathery (Adj)
 Commotion (N)

6. Now look for complex words that have Latin or Greek origins and divide them into their
morphemes. Create a chart of these complex words. Use an online etymology dictionary.
Word Origin Root Affix(es)
Company Latin Com “with, together”
Intrude Latin In “not, opposite of,
Excursion Latin Ex “out of, from Ion- word-forming
within” element attached to
Propose France Pro “forward, forth,
toward the front"
Expanse Latin Ex “out of, from

7. Morpheme Map

Prefix Root Word
Extra, extro “outside, Ex “out of, from within” Excavate
Per “through, across“ Extraordinary

Sub “below” Experience
Re “again” Excellence
Semi “half” Exhale
Dis “opposite of, not” Exercise
Epi “Upon, close to, after” Expire
Il, im, in, ir “impossible, Except
illegal, irresponsible,
Mis- wrongly Exact
Non “not, without” Extreme

Exact Excellence
Exactness Excellent



Ex “out of, from within” Except
Exhale Excepting

Exercise Expiration
Exercised Expiring
Exercising Expired