Morphology is the study of the patterns of word formation in a particular lan guage. It is the identification, analysis and description of the structure of a given language's morphemes and other linguistic units, such as root words, affixes, parts of speech, or intonation/stress.

A meaningful linguistic unit consisting of a word (such as ”dog”) or a word element (such as the ”-s”at the end of ”dogs”) that can't be divided into smaller meaningful parts.

Morphemes have four defining characteristics:

They cannot be subdivided.
For example, we could break the morpheme "cat" down into the "c" sound, the "a" sound, and the "t" sound. But none of these sounds by itself conveys any meaning

They add meaning to a word.
We could begin with "cat" and add the morpheme "-s" (meaning 'plural') to get "cats." Here we've changed the meaning of the word from 'one cat' to 'more than one cat.'

They can appear in many different words.
For example, the latin morpheme “duc” (meaning 'lead,draw,pull‘ can be used in different words such as “reduce”, “deduce” or “seduce”.

They can have any number of syllables.
The word "hurricane" is a single morpheme with 3 syllables.

Morphemes are commonly classified into free morphemes : - Which can occur as separate words. (Ex. “dog”) And bound morphemes: - Which can't stand alone as words. (Ex. “-ing”)

- A root word is a word without any word parts added to the beginning or end. - There are 3 different forms of affixes: - Prefixes: placed before a root word. - Sufixes: placed after a root word. - Infixes: placed in the middle of a root word.


Note: There are times when the root word must be changed when a suffix is added. When a root word ends in a silent "e", the e is dropped before adding a suffix. (ex.) un + bake + ed becomes ”unbaked” When a root word ends in a consonant, the consonant is "doubled" before adding a suffix beginning with a vowel. (ex.) re + run + ing becomes rerunning

A morph is simply the phonetic representation of a morpheme - how the morpheme is said. This distinction occurs because the morpheme can remain the same, but the pronunciation changes.
Cats - '-s' morpheme is pronounced /s/ Dogs - '-s' morpheme is pronounced /z/ Houses - '-s' morpheme is pronounced /ɪz/

These various pronunciations are the morphs of the morpheme '-s'.

Allomorphs are the varieties of a morpheme, which is closely related to the morph. The morph is just how you pronounce the morpheme, the allomorph is the variation in pronunciation. So, the morpheme '-s' (plural) has three allomorphs with the morph /s/, /z/, and /ɪz/.

A morphological process is a means of changing a root to adjust its meaning to fit its syntactic and communicational context.
Derivation Affixation

Morphological Processes



Affixation is the process of forming a new word by the addition of a morpheme (or affix) to an already existing word.
There are 2 different ways to do it:

Affixation Morphological Processes Compounding Inflection

• Inflection takes as input a word and outputs a form of the same word appropriate to a particular context:
– e.g. buy -> bought

• Derivation takes as input a word and output a different word that is derived from the input word:
– e.g. buy + er -> buyer

Takes as input a word and outputs a form of the same word appropriate to a particular context: – e.g. buy -> bought. * These words don’t use to appear in dictionaries.

• Tense:
Indicates the relative time at which the situation described by the sentence occurred: - e.g. “-ed” in “talked”, “-s” in “talks”, “-en” in “taken”.

• Number:
•(e.g. singular, plural, dual) “Cats”, “Boxes”

• Aspect:
Indicates the state of completion of the situation – e.g. perfective, progressive, experiential, etc. “talking”, “cleaning”, “reading”.

• Degree:
Often comparative (hotter) forms and superlative (hottest) forms are expressed

• Case (or Possession): case (e.g. nominative, accusative, etc.) “-’s” in “the girl’s doll”,
“hers”, “him”, etc.

Derivation takes as input a word and output a different word that is derived from the input word: – e.g. buy + er -> buyer

This type of morpheme often change the meaning of the word or the part of speech (word class) or both. Often create new words. They usually come in dictionary. EXAMPLES:
Kind – Unkind Able – Enable Dark - Darkness

Compounding is the combination of two already existing words:

Rain + Bow = Rainbow Over + Come = Overcome Red + Head = Redhead Word + Formation = Word-formation

Sometimes compounds can be spelled as just one word, or with an hifen.

COINAGE Coinage is the word formation process in which a new word is created with no influence of any other word. Examples: Aspirin Google Zipper Kerosene Muggle

BORROWING A word from one language that has been adapted for use in another. Examples:

Salsa Bungalow Tobacco

BLENDING A word formed by merging the sounds and meanings of two or more other words or word parts. Examples: Motorcade (Motor + Cavalcade) Emoticon (Emote + Icon) Smash (Smack + Mash)

CLIPPING (or BACKFORMATION) A word formed by dropping one or more syllablesfrom a polysyllabic word, such as cell from cellular phone. Examples: Celebs (from Celebrities) Hippo (from Hippopotamus) Info (from Information) Intro (from Introduction)

CONVERSION Assigns an already existing word to a new word class (part of speech) or syntactic category. Examples:

Henry downed a pint of beer. Melissa went to town and did a buy. I eared her language.

ACRONYMS Words which are formed from the initial letters of other words. Examples: LOL (Laughing Out Loud) NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration)

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