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The study of the structure and form of words in language or a language, including inflection, derivation, and the formation of compounds.

A morpheme is the smallest meaningful unit in the grammar of a language. A single word may be composed of one or more morphemes.

One morpheme = boy Two morphemes = boy + ish Three morphemes = boy + ish + ness Four morphemes = gentle + man + li + ness Five morphemes = un+system+atic+al+ly (the word unsystematically can be analyzed into 5 separate morphemes).

Every morpheme is either a base or an affix. An affix can be either a prefix or a suffix. e.g Cat is the base morpheme, and s is a suffix.


a morpheme that gives a word its meaning. The base morpheme cat gives the word cats its meaning: a particular type of animal.

a morpheme that comes at the beginning (prefix) or the ending (suffix) of a base morpheme. Note: An affix usually is a morpheme that cannot stand alone.

Examples: -ful, -ly, -ity, -ness. A few exceptions are able, like, and less.

an affix that comes before a base morpheme. The in in the word inspect is a prefix.

an affix that comes after a base morpheme. The s in cats is a suffix.

Single morphemes (monomorphemic) & can stand alone as words. Example : drink, cat, butter

Morphemes which cannot occur on its own as an independent (or separate) word. Example :
Trans- and mit in transmit

Affixes (prefix, suffix) are all bound morphemes.

Prefixes Bound morphemes which occur only before other morphemes. Examples: un- (uncover, undo) dis- (displeased, disconnect), pre- (predetermine, prejudge) Bound morphemes which occur following other morphemes. Examples: -er (singer, performer) -ist (typist, pianist) -ly (manly, friendly)


Derivational Morpheme
The morpheme that added with affixes such that it change the meaning of words or the part of speech or both.

Inflectional Morpheme

The morpheme that can only be suffix and create a change in the function of word. 8 types of inflectional morpheme:
s (possessive) s (plural) s (3rd person present singular) ing (present participle) ed (past tense) ed (past participle) en (past participle) est and er (superlative and comparative degree)

Free morphemes Morphemes Bound morphemes Lexical morphemes Functional morphemes Derivational morphemes Inflectional morphemes work, house, kind and, if, or, but -er, -ness, -ly

-ed, -er, -est


Derivation Category extension Compound
adding a derivational affix, thus changing the syntactic category. e.g orient > orientation extending a morpheme from one syntactic category to another. e.g chair (N) > chair (V)

combining two old words to make one new one e.g put-down
inventing a brand new word. e.g Kodak a foreign words is assimilated to native forms e.g cucuracha (Spanish) > cockroach (English)

Root creation
(antonomasia) Folk etymology

Clipped form
Blend Acronym Abbreviation Proper name

shortening a word e.g hamburger > burger

two words smooched together e.g smoke + fog > smog the letters of a title become a word e.g radar Radio Detection And Ranging Scuba - Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus

a little like clipping e.g television > TV

e.g hamburger < Hamburg