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English Morphology Lecture 2

David Brett Antonio Pinna

University of Sassari 2007

Distinguishing between morphemes:

Bound and free morphemes: Free morphemes can occur on their own: happy, change, select, green, house, Bound morphemes can occur only if they are attached to other morphemes: Affixes (un-, -ness, -able, de-, -ive, -er, ) Binding forms liber-, oper-, circul-, legitim-, materi-, Eg. liber-ation, oper-ate, circul-ar, legitim-(a)cy, materi-al

Cran-berry (berry, straw-berry, blackberry) Dis-gruntle-d Gorm-less Cranberry morphemes

Bound morphemes as core elements: words derived from Latin

CirculCircular LiberLiberty







Problem case: Verbs of Latin origin

receive revert deceive conceive convert perceive pervert

reduce deduce



Should these be considered to be composed of a single morpheme? Or prefix + bound morpheme?

General tendency
The core vocabulary of English is generally composed of words of AngloSaxon origin There is a general tendency for core elements to be free morphemes E.g. Hand Hand-y, hand-le, hand-ful, mis-hand-le,

What is the difference between these two sets of complex words

Fast-er Sing-ing Open-ed Car-s Write-s Bigg-est Treat-ment Rude-ness Un-kind Fam-ous Use-less Help-ful Ir-regular Red-dish

Fast-er, Sing-ing, Open-ed, Car-s, Write-s, Big-gest These affixes do not change the word class (verb, noun etc.), but rather contribute to meeting grammatical constraints. These are called: Inflectional morphemes

Treat-ment Rude-ness Un-kind Red-dish Fam-ous Use-less Help-ful Ir-regular These affixes do not necessarily change the class of the word, but this is normally the case, e.g. fame (n.)> famous (adj.) Since these words derive from others these morphemes are called: Derivational morphemes

He go to the park every day She speaks to me yesterday

He is a very fame actor He gave me very good treat

Inflectional morphemes: Plurals #1

Cat > cats; dog > dogs; case > cases N.b. these are pronounced /s/, /z/, /z/ These different realizations are called allomorphs of the inflectional morpheme for plurals

Inflectional morphemes: Plurals #2

Irregular plurals are also considered to be allomorphs e.g. Foot > feet; man > men; child > children Sheep > Sheep; Fish > fish etc.

Inflectional morphemes: Verbs #1

English is particularly low on inflectional morphemes for verbs cfr. Italian (amare 1st person> amo, amavo, amai, amer, ami (subjunctive), amassi, amerei x 6) English: love, loves, loved (past simple and p.part.), loving BE has the largest number of realizations: Be, am, are, is, was, were, been, being

Inflectional morphemes: Verbs #2

Verbs in the past and p. participle form can be: 1 Regular: kissed; changed; wanted Note that the ed suffix has three, phonologically determined, realizations (i.e. three allomorphs): /t/, /d/, /d/ The following lines rhyme:
You were the first one I kissed Because you were at the top of my list

Inflectional morphemes: Verbs #3

Verbs in the past and p. participle form can be: 2 Irregular Involving no change> hit-hit-hit Involving vowel change> drink-drank-drunk Involving consonant change > make-mademade Involving vowel and consonant change> leaveleft-left Suppletion (i.e. with no phonological relation)> BE> was-were; GO> went

Inflectional morphemes: Adjectives

Comparatives HOT> hott-er hott-est IMPORTANT > more important most important Note suppletion in GOOD > better best BAD > worse worst

Derivational morphemes
Far more numerous than inflectional morphemes Allow productivity (involved in the coining of new words) Can be prefixes, or suffixes, not circumfixes Suffixes usually, but not always, change word class Prefixes, usually dont

Derivational morphemes: some examples

Verbs > Nouns: work-er, act-or, treatment, elect-ion Nouns > Adjectives: colour-ful, friend-less, fac-ial, fam-ous Verbs > Adjectives: bor-ing, interest-ed honour-able, access-ible

Derivation with ful and less

Which words can be derived by adding the following suffixes -ful/less Only -ful Only -less

Age, Bag, Care, Cease, Cheer, Child, Colour, Cup, Defence, Delight, Effort, End, Fate, Friend, Help, Hope, Penny, Play, Spoon, Tact , Taste , Use,

Care Use Cheer Colour Help Taste Hope Tact

Only -ful
Fate Spoon Delight Bag Play Cup

Only -less
Friend Age Cease Child Defence End Effort Penny

Tree diagrams
Label the boxes in the diagram

Greed >

Greedy >


N.b. Specif- is a bound root cfr. Specif-y

Draw tree diagrams for the following words

Unwholesome Rulership Underdeveloped Overachiever Operational Indispensable

Productivity the creation of new words

There a six main ways of creating new words By combining two or more core elements: this process is called compounding
truck driver, mother-in-law, download;

By adding parts to a core element: this process is called affixation

clockwise, credible, coarsely, kingdom;

By changing the word class of a given word: this process is called conversion
Bottle > to bottle; to call > a call;

By clipping a longer word: this process is called truncation

Veterinary Surgeon > vet; Zoological gardens > Zoo;

By amalgamating parts of different words: this process is called blending

Smoke + fog > smog; Motor + Hotel > Motel; Camera + Recorder > Camcorder

Acronyms - North Atlantic Treaty Organization > NATO; Absent without leave > AWOL; Personal Identification Number > PIN

We can also find multiple processes e.g. Camera > web camera (Compounding) > webcam (Truncation) Ball > snowball (Compounding) > to snowball (Conversion)

Exercise for next lecture

Produce tree diagrams of the following multiply affixed complex words: airworthiness; speechlessness; nonspecialization; developmental; antihistorical; miscarriage;