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In
linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying ...

linguistics
, morphology () is the study of words, how they are formed, and their relationship to other words in the same language. It analyzes the structure of words and parts of words such as stems, root words,
prefix A prefix is an which is placed before the of a word. Adding it to the beginning of one word changes it into another word. For example, when the prefix ''un-'' is added to the word ''happy'', it creates the word ''unhappy''. Particularly in t ...
es, and
suffix In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include ...
es. Morphology also looks at
parts of speech In traditional grammar Traditional grammar is a framework for the description of the structure of a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sig ...
, intonation and stress, and the ways
context Context may refer to: * Context (language use), the relevant constraints of the communicative situation that influence language use, language variation, and discourse summary. Computing * Context (computing), the virtual environment required to ...
can change a word's pronunciation and meaning. Morphology differs from
morphological typology Morphological typology is a way of classifying the languages of the world (see linguistic typology) that groups languages according to their common Morphology (linguistics), morphological structures. The field organizes languages on the basis of ...
, which is the classification of languages based on their use of words, and
lexicology Lexicology is the branch of linguistics that analyzes the lexicon of a specific language. A word is the smallest meaningful unit of a language that can stand on its own, and is made up of small components called Morpheme, morphemes and even smalle ...
, which is the study of words and how they make up a language's vocabulary. While words, along with
clitic In morphology and syntax In linguistics, syntax () is the set of rules, principles, and processes that govern the structure of Sentence (linguistics), sentences (sentence structure) in a given Natural language, language, usually including word ...
s, are generally accepted as being the smallest units of
syntax In linguistics, syntax () is the set of rules, principles, and processes that govern the structure of Sentence (linguistics), sentences (sentence structure) in a given Natural language, language, usually including word order. The term ''syntax'' ...

syntax
, in most languages, if not all, many words can be related to other words by rules that collectively describe the
grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the me ...
for that language. For example,
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
speakers recognize that the words ''dog'' and ''dogs'' are closely related, differentiated only by the
plural The plural (sometimes abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full version of the word or ph ...

plural
ity
morpheme A morpheme is the smallest meaningful lexical item in a language. A morpheme is not a word. The difference between a morpheme and a word is that a morpheme bound and free morphemes, sometimes does not stand alone, but a word on this definition alw ...
"-s", only found
bound Bound or bounds may refer to: Mathematics * Bound variable * Upper and lower bounds, observed limits of mathematical functions Geography *Bound Brook (Raritan River), a tributary of the Raritan River in New Jersey *Bound Brook, New Jersey, a borou ...
to
noun phrase A noun phrase, or nominal (phrase), is a phrase In everyday speech, a phrase is any group of words, often carrying a special idiomatic meaning; in this sense it is synonymous with expression. In Linguistics#Analysis, linguistic analysis, a phrase i ...
s. Speakers of English, a
fusional language Fusional languages or inflected languages are a type of synthetic language A synthetic language uses inflection In linguistic morphology, inflection (or inflexion) is a process of word formation, in which a word is modified to express dif ...
, recognize these relations from their innate knowledge of English's rules of
word formation In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languag ...
. They infer intuitively that ''dog'' is to ''dogs'' as ''cat'' is to ''cats''; and, in similar fashion, ''dog'' is to ''dog catcher'' as ''dish'' is to ''dishwasher''. By contrast,
Classical Chinese Classical Chinese, also known as Literary Chinese (古文 ''gǔwén'' "ancient text", or 文言 ''wényán'' "text speak"; modern vernacular: 文言文 ''wényánwén'' "text speak text"), is the language of the classic literature from the end ...
has very little morphology, using almost exclusively unbound morphemes ("free" morphemes) and depending on
word order In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languag ...
to convey meaning. (Most words in modern
Standard Chinese Standard Chinese (), in linguistics known as Standard Northern Mandarin, Standard Beijing Mandarin or simply Mandarin, is a dialect of Mandarin that emerged as the lingua franca among the speakers of various Mandarin and other varieties of C ...
Mandarin" however, are
compounds Compound may refer to: Architecture and built environments * Compound (enclosure), a cluster of buildings having a shared purpose, usually inside a fence or wall ** Compound (fortification), a version of the above fortified with defensive structu ...
and most
roots A root In vascular plants, the roots are the plant organ, organs of a plant that are modified to provide anchorage for the plant and take in water and nutrients into the plant body, which allows plants to grow taller and faster. They most often ...
are bound.) These are understood as grammars that represent the morphology of the language. The rules understood by a speaker reflect specific patterns or regularities in the way words are formed from smaller units in the language they are using, and how those smaller units interact in speech. In this way, morphology is the branch of linguistics that studies patterns of word formation within and across languages and attempts to formulate rules that model the knowledge of the speakers of those languages.
Phonological Phonology is a branch of that studies how languages or dialects systematically organize their sounds (or constituent parts of signs, in sign languages). The term also refers to the sound or sign system of any particular language variety. At on ...
and orthographic modifications between a base word and its origin may be partial to
literacy Literacy is popularly understood as an ability to read and write Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (ph ...
skills. Studies have indicated that the presence of modification in phonology and orthography makes morphologically complex words harder to understand and that the absence of modification between a base word and its origin makes morphologically complex words easier to understand. Morphologically complex words are easier to comprehend when they include a base word.
Polysynthetic language In linguistic typology Linguistic typology (or language typology) is a field of linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for s ...
s, such as
Chukchi Chukchi may refer to: *Chukchi people *Chukchi language *Chukchi Peninsula *Chukchi Sea See also

*Chukotka (disambiguation) *Chukotsky (disambiguation) {{Disambig, geo Language and nationality disambiguation pages ...
, have words composed of many morphemes. For example, the Chukchi word "təmeyŋəlevtpəγtərkən", meaning "I have a fierce headache", is composed of eight morphemes ''t-ə-meyŋ-ə-levt-pəγt-ə-rkən'' that may be glossed. The morphology of such languages allows for each
consonant In articulatory phonetics The field of articulatory phonetics is a subfield of phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that studies how humans produce and perceive sounds, or in the case of sign languages, the equivalent aspects of sig ...
and
vowel A vowel is a syllabicSyllabic may refer to: *Syllable, a unit of speech sound, considered the building block of words **Syllabic consonant, a consonant that forms the nucleus of a syllable *Syllabary, writing system using symbols for syllables ...

vowel
to be understood as
morphemes A morpheme is the smallest meaningful lexical itemIn lexicography, a lexical item (or lexical unit / LU, lexical entry) is a single word, a part of a word, or a chain of words ( catena) that forms the basic elements of a language's lexicon A l ...
, while the grammar of the language indicates the usage and understanding of each morpheme. The discipline that deals specifically with the sound changes occurring within morphemes is
morphophonology Morphophonology (also morphophonemics or morphonology) is the branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language ...
.


History

The history of morphological analysis dates back to the ancient Indian linguist
Pāṇini (Devanagari: पाणिनि, ) was a Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language ...
, who formulated the 3,959 rules of
Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor langua ...

Sanskrit
morphology in the text '' Aṣṭādhyāyī'' by using a constituency grammar. The Greco-Roman grammatical tradition also engaged in morphological analysis. Studies in Arabic morphology, conducted by Marāḥ al-arwāḥ and Aḥmad b. ‘alī Mas‘ūd, date back to at least 1200 CE. The linguistic term "morphology" was coined by
August Schleicher August Schleicher (; 19 February 1821 – 6 December 1868) was a German linguist Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), ...

August Schleicher
in 1859.


Fundamental concepts


Lexemes and word forms

The term "word" has no well-defined meaning. Instead, two related terms are used in morphology:
lexeme A lexeme () is a unit of lexical meaning that underlies a set of words that are related through inflection In linguistic morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines * Morphology (archaeolog ...
and word-form. Generally, a lexeme is a set of inflected word-forms that is often represented with the
citation form In morphology and lexicography, a lemma (plural ''lemmas'' or ''lemmata'') is the canonical form, dictionary form, or citation form of a set of word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes ...
in
small capitals In typography File:metal movable type.jpg, 225px, Movable type being assembled on a composing stick using pieces that are stored in the type case shown below it Typography is the art and technique of typesetting, arranging type to make wri ...

small capitals
. For instance, the lexeme contains the word-forms ''eat, eats, eaten,'' and ''ate''. ''Eat'' and ''eats'' are thus considered different word-forms belonging to the same lexeme . ''Eat'' and ''Eater'', on the other hand, are different lexemes, as they refer to two different concepts.


Prosodic word vs. morphological word

Here are examples from other languages of the failure of a single phonological word to coincide with a single morphological word form. In
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
, one way to express the concept of 'NOUN-PHRASE1 and NOUN-PHRASE2' (as in "apples and oranges") is to suffix '-que' to the second noun phrase: "apples oranges-and", as it were. An extreme level of this theoretical quandary posed by some phonological words is provided by the Kwak'wala language. In Kwak'wala, as in a great many other languages, meaning relations between nouns, including possession and "semantic case", are formulated by
affix In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the met ...
es instead of by independent "words". The three-word English phrase, "with his club", where 'with' identifies its dependent noun phrase as an instrument and 'his' denotes a possession relation, would consist of two words or even just one word in many languages. Unlike most languages, Kwak'wala semantic affixes phonologically attach not to the lexeme they pertain to semantically, but to the preceding lexeme. Consider the following example (in Kwak'wala, sentences begin with what corresponds to an English verb): kwixʔid-i-da bəgwanəmai-χ-a q'asa-s-isi t'alwagwayu
Morpheme A morpheme is the smallest meaningful lexical item in a language. A morpheme is not a word. The difference between a morpheme and a word is that a morpheme bound and free morphemes, sometimes does not stand alone, but a word on this definition alw ...
by morpheme translation: ::kwixʔid-i-da = clubbed-PIVOT-DETERMINER ::bəgwanəma-χ-a = man-ACCUSATIVE-DETERMINER ::q'asa-s-is = otter-INSTRUMENTAL-3SG-POSSESSIVE ::t'alwagwayu = club :"the man clubbed the otter with his club." (Notation notes: # accusative case marks an entity that something is done to. # determiners are words such as "the", "this", "that". # the concept of "
pivot Pivot may refer to: *Pivot, the point of rotation in a lever A lever ( or ) is a simple machine consisting of a beam or rigid rod pivoted at a fixed hinge, or '':wikt:fulcrum, fulcrum''. A lever is a rigid body capable of rotating on a point on i ...
" is a theoretical construct that is not relevant to this discussion.) That is, to the speaker of Kwak'wala, the sentence does not contain the "words" 'him-the-otter' or 'with-his-club' Instead, the markers -''i-da'' (PIVOT-'the'), referring to "man", attaches not to the noun ''bəgwanəma'' ("man") but to the verb; the markers -''χ-a'' (ACCUSATIVE-'the'), referring to ''otter'', attach to ''bəgwanəma'' instead of to ''q'asa'' ('otter'), etc. In other words, a speaker of Kwak'wala does not perceive the sentence to consist of these phonological words: kwixʔid i-da-bəgwanəma χ-a-q'asa s-isi-t'alwagwayu clubbed PIVOT-the-mani hit-the-otter with-hisi-club A central publication on this topic is the volume edited by Dixon and Aikhenvald (2002), examining the mismatch between prosodic-phonological and grammatical definitions of "word" in various Amazonian, Australian Aboriginal, Caucasian, Eskimo, Indo-European, Native North American, West African, and sign languages. Apparently, a wide variety of languages make use of the hybrid linguistic unit
clitic In morphology and syntax In linguistics, syntax () is the set of rules, principles, and processes that govern the structure of Sentence (linguistics), sentences (sentence structure) in a given Natural language, language, usually including word ...
, possessing the grammatical features of independent words but the
prosodic In linguistics, prosody () is concerned with those elements of speech that are not individual phonetic segment (linguistics), segments (vowels and consonants) but are properties of syllables and larger units of speech, including linguistic functio ...
-phonological lack of freedom of
bound morpheme In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the meth ...
s. The intermediate status of clitics poses a considerable challenge to linguistic theory.


Inflection vs. word formation

Given the notion of a lexeme, it is possible to distinguish two kinds of morphological rules. Some morphological rules relate to different forms of the same lexeme; while other rules relate to different lexemes. Rules of the first kind are inflectional rules, while those of the second kind are rules of
word formation In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languag ...
. The generation of the English plural ''dogs'' from ''dog'' is an inflectional rule, while compound phrases and words like ''dog catcher'' or ''dishwasher'' are examples of word formation. Informally, word formation rules form "new" words (more accurately, new lexemes), while inflection rules yield variant forms of the "same" word (lexeme). The distinction between inflection and word formation is not at all clear cut. There are many examples where linguists fail to agree whether a given rule is inflection or word formation. The next section will attempt to clarify this distinction. Word formation is a process where one combines two complete words, whereas with inflection you can combine a suffix with some verb to change its form to subject of the sentence. For example: in the present indefinite, we use ‘go’ with subject I/we/you/they and plural nouns, whereas for third person singular pronouns (he/she/it) and singular nouns we use ‘goes’. So this ‘-es’ is an inflectional marker and is used to match with its subject. A further difference is that in word formation, the resultant word may differ from its source word's
grammatical category A grammatical category or grammatical feature is a property of items within the grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of lang ...
whereas in the process of inflection the word never changes its grammatical category.


Types of word formation

There is a further distinction between two primary kinds of morphological word formation:
derivation Derivation may refer to: * Derivation (differential algebra), a unary function satisfying the Leibniz product law * Derivation (linguistics) * Formal proof or derivation, a sequence of sentences each of which is an axiom or follows from the precedi ...
and
compounding In the field of pharmacy, compounding (performed in compounding pharmacies) is preparation of a custom formulation of a medication to fit a unique need of a patient that cannot be met with commercially available products. This may be done for med ...
. Compounding is a process of word formation that involves combining complete word forms into a single compound form. ''Dog catcher'', therefore, is a compound, as both ''dog'' and ''catcher'' are complete word forms in their own right but are subsequently treated as parts of one form. Derivation involves
affix In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the met ...
ing bound (i.e. non-independent) forms to existing lexemes, whereby the addition of the affix derives a new lexeme. The word ''independent'', for example, is derived from the word ''dependent'' by using the prefix ''in-'', while ''dependent'' itself is derived from the verb ''depend''. There is also word formation in the processes of clipping in which a portion of a word is removed to create a new one, blending in which two parts of different words are blended into one, acronyms in which each letter of the new word represents a specific word in the representation i.e. NATO for North Atlantic Treaty Organization, borrowing in which words from one language are taken and used in another, and finally coinage in which a new word is created to represent a new object or concept.


Paradigms and morphosyntax

A linguistic
paradigm In science Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the universe."... modern science is a discovery as well as ...
is the complete set of related word forms associated with a given lexeme. The familiar examples of paradigms are the conjugations of verbs and the
declension In linguistics, declension is the changing of the form of a word, generally to express its syntactic function in the sentence, by way of some inflection. The inflectional change of verbs is called Grammatical conjugation, conjugation. Declensions ...
s of nouns. Also, arranging the word forms of a lexeme into tables, by classifying them according to shared inflectional categories such as tense,
aspect Aspect or Aspects may refer to: Entertainment * ''Aspect magazine ASPECT Volume 9: Performance ''ASPECT'' was a biannual DVD The DVD (common abbreviation for Digital Video Disc or Digital Versatile Disc) is a digital optical disc data stor ...
, mood,
number A number is a mathematical object A mathematical object is an abstract concept arising in mathematics. In the usual language of mathematics, an ''object'' is anything that has been (or could be) formally defined, and with which one may do deduct ...
,
gender Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between femininity Femininity (also called womanliness or girlishness) is a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles generally associated with women A woman is ...
or
case Case or CASE may refer to: Containers * Case (goods), a package of related merchandise * Case, the metallic enclosure component in modern firearm cartridge (firearms), cartridges * Bookcase, a piece of furniture used to store books * Briefcase or ...
, organizes such. For example, the
personal pronouns in English
personal pronouns in English
can be organized into tables, using the categories of
person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning Reason is ...
(first, second, third); number (singular vs. plural); gender (masculine, feminine, neuter); and case (nominative, oblique, genitive). The inflectional categories used to group word forms into paradigms cannot be chosen arbitrarily; they must be categories that are relevant to stating the
syntactic rules
syntactic rules
of the language. Person and number are categories that can be used to define paradigms in English, because English has grammatical agreement rules that require the verb in a sentence to appear in an inflectional form that matches the person and number of the subject. Therefore, the syntactic rules of English care about the difference between ''dog'' and ''dogs'', because the choice between these two forms determines which form of the verb is used. However, there's no syntactic rule for the difference between ''dog'' and ''dog catcher'', or ''dependent'' and ''independent''. The first two are nouns and the second two are adjectives. An important difference between inflection and word formation is that inflected word forms of lexemes are organized into paradigms that are defined by the requirements of syntactic rules, and there are no corresponding syntactic rules for word formation. The relationship between syntax and morphology, and the way in which they interact, is called "morphosyntax"; Dufter and Stark (2017)
Introduction - 2 Syntax and morphosyntax: some basic notions
' in Dufter, Andreas, and Stark, Elisabeth (eds., 2017)
Manual of Romance Morphosyntax and Syntax
', Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG
this term is also used to underline the fact that syntax and morphology are interrelated.Van Valin, R. D., van Valin Jr, R. D., van Valin Jr, R. D., LaPolla, R. J., & LaPolla, R. J. (1997)
Syntax: Structure, meaning, and function
', p.2, Cambridge University Press.
The study of morphosyntax concerns itself with inflection and paradigms, and some approaches to morphosyntax exclude from its domain the phenomena of word formation, compounding and derivation. Within morphosyntax fall the study of
agreement Agreement may refer to: Agreements between people and organizations * Gentlemen's agreement, not enforceable by law * Trade agreement, between countries * Consensus, a decision-making process * Contract, enforceable in a court of law ** Meeting of ...
and
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Departmen ...
.


Allomorphy

Above, morphological rules are described as between word forms: ''dog'' is to ''dogs'' as ''cat'' is to ''cats'' and as ''dish'' is to ''dishes''. In this case, the analogy applies both to the form of the words and to their meaning: in each pair, the first word means "one of X", while the second "two or more of X", and the difference is always the plural form ''-s'' (or ''-es'') affixed to the second word, signaling the key distinction between singular and plural entities. One of the largest sources of complexity in morphology is that this one-to-one correspondence between meaning and form scarcely applies to every case in the language. In English, there are word form pairs like ''ox/oxen'', ''goose/geese'', and ''sheep/sheep'', where the difference between the singular and the plural is signaled in a way that departs from the regular pattern, or is not signaled at all. Even cases regarded as regular, such as ''-s'', are not so simple; the ''-s'' in ''dogs'' is not pronounced the same way as the ''-s'' in ''cats''; and, in plurals such as ''dishes'', a vowel is added before the ''-s''. These cases, where the same distinction is effected by alternative forms of a "word", constitute
allomorph In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include ...
y. Phonological rules constrain which sounds can appear next to each other in a language, and morphological rules, when applied blindly, would often violate phonological rules, by resulting in sound sequences that are prohibited in the language in question. For example, to form the plural of ''dish'' by simply appending an ''-s'' to the end of the word would result in the form , which is not permitted by the
phonotactics Phonotactics (from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ...
of English. In order to "rescue" the word, a vowel sound is inserted between the root and the plural marker, and results. Similar rules apply to the pronunciation of the ''-s'' in ''dogs'' and ''cats'': it depends on the quality (voiced vs. unvoiced) of the final preceding
phoneme In phonology and linguistics, a phoneme is a unit of sound that distinguishes one word from another in a particular language. For example, in most List of dialects of English, dialects of English, with the notable exception of the West Midlan ...
.


Lexical morphology

Lexical morphology is the branch of morphology that deals with the
lexicon A lexicon is the vocabulary A vocabulary is a set of familiar words In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, pra ...

lexicon
, which, morphologically conceived, is the collection of
lexeme A lexeme () is a unit of lexical meaning that underlies a set of words that are related through inflection In linguistic morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines * Morphology (archaeolog ...
s in a language. As such, it concerns itself primarily with word formation: derivation and compounding.


Models

There are three principal approaches to morphology and each tries to capture the distinctions above in different ways: * Morpheme-based morphology, which makes use of an item-and-arrangement approach. * Lexeme-based morphology, which normally makes use of an item-and-process approach. * Word-based morphology, which normally makes use of a word-and-paradigm approach. While the associations indicated between the concepts in each item in that list are very strong, they are not absolute.


Morpheme-based morphology

In morpheme-based morphology, word forms are analyzed as arrangements of
morpheme A morpheme is the smallest meaningful lexical item in a language. A morpheme is not a word. The difference between a morpheme and a word is that a morpheme bound and free morphemes, sometimes does not stand alone, but a word on this definition alw ...
s. A morpheme is defined as the minimal meaningful unit of a language. In a word such as ''independently'', the morphemes are said to be ''in-'', ''de-'', ''pend'', ''-ent'', and ''-ly''; ''pend'' is the (bound)
root In vascular plant Vascular plants (from Latin ''vasculum'': duct), also known as Tracheophyta (the tracheophytes , from Greek τραχεῖα ἀρτηρία ''trācheia artēria'' 'windpipe' + φυτά ''phutá'' 'plants'), form a large grou ...
and the other morphemes are, in this case, derivational affixes. In words such as ''dogs'', ''dog'' is the root and the ''-s'' is an inflectional morpheme. In its simplest and most naïve form, this way of analyzing word forms, called "item-and-arrangement", treats words as if they were made of morphemes put after each other (" concatenated") like beads on a string. More recent and sophisticated approaches, such as distributed morphology, seek to maintain the idea of the morpheme while accommodating non-concatenated, analogical, and other processes that have proven problematic for item-and-arrangement theories and similar approaches. Morpheme-based morphology presumes three basic axioms: * ’s "single morpheme" hypothesis: Roots and affixes have the same status as morphemes. * Bloomfield’s "sign base" morpheme hypothesis: As morphemes, they are dualistic signs, since they have both (phonological) form and meaning. * Bloomfield's "lexical morpheme" hypothesis: morphemes, affixes and roots alike are stored in the lexicon. Morpheme-based morphology comes in two flavours, one Bloomfieldian and one Hockettian. For Bloomfield, the morpheme was the minimal form with meaning, but did not have meaning itself. For Hockett, morphemes are "meaning elements", not "form elements". For him, there is a morpheme plural using allomorphs such as ''-s'', ''-en'' and ''-ren''. Within much morpheme-based morphological theory, the two views are mixed in unsystematic ways so a writer may refer to "the morpheme plural" and "the morpheme ''-s''" in the same sentence.


Lexeme-based morphology

Lexeme-based morphology usually takes what is called an item-and-process approach. Instead of analyzing a word form as a set of morphemes arranged in sequence, a word form is said to be the result of applying rules that alter a word-form or stem in order to produce a new one. An inflectional rule takes a stem, changes it as is required by the rule, and outputs a word form; a derivational rule takes a stem, changes it as per its own requirements, and outputs a derived stem; a compounding rule takes word forms, and similarly outputs a compound stem.


Word-based morphology

Word-based morphology is (usually) a word-and-paradigm approach. The theory takes paradigms as a central notion. Instead of stating rules to combine morphemes into word forms or to generate word forms from stems, word-based morphology states generalizations that hold between the forms of inflectional paradigms. The major point behind this approach is that many such generalizations are hard to state with either of the other approaches. Word-and-paradigm approaches are also well-suited to capturing purely morphological phenomena, such as morphomes. Examples to show the effectiveness of word-based approaches are usually drawn from
fusional language Fusional languages or inflected languages are a type of synthetic language A synthetic language uses inflection In linguistic morphology, inflection (or inflexion) is a process of word formation, in which a word is modified to express dif ...
s, where a given "piece" of a word, which a morpheme-based theory would call an inflectional morpheme, corresponds to a combination of grammatical categories, for example, "third-person plural". Morpheme-based theories usually have no problems with this situation since one says that a given morpheme has two categories. Item-and-process theories, on the other hand, often break down in cases like these because they all too often assume that there will be two separate rules here, one for third person, and the other for plural, but the distinction between them turns out to be artificial. The approaches treat these as whole words that are related to each other by analogical rules. Words can be categorized based on the pattern they fit into. This applies both to existing words and to new ones. Application of a pattern different from the one that has been used historically can give rise to a new word, such as ''older'' replacing ''elder'' (where ''older'' follows the normal pattern of adjectival
superlative Comparison is a feature in the morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines * Morphology (archaeology), study of the shapes or forms of artifacts * Morphology (astronomy), study of the shape of a ...
s) and ''cows'' replacing ''kine'' (where ''cows'' fits the regular pattern of plural formation).


Morphological typology

In the 19th century, philologists devised a now classic classification of languages according to their morphology. Some languages are isolating, and have little to no morphology; others are
agglutinative The middle sign is in Hungarian, which agglutinates extensively. (The top and bottom signs are in Romanian and German, respectively, both inflecting languages.) The English translation is "Ministry of Food and Agriculture: Satu Mare County D ...
whose words tend to have many easily separable morphemes; others yet are inflectional or fusional because their inflectional morphemes are "fused" together. That leads to one bound morpheme conveying multiple pieces of information. A standard example of an isolating language is
Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a populat ...
. An agglutinative language is
Turkish Turkish may refer to: * of or about Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It shares borders with Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), offi ...

Turkish
.
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...
and
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
are prototypical inflectional or fusional languages. It is clear that this classification is not at all clearcut, and many languages (Latin and Greek among them) do not neatly fit any one of these types, and some fit in more than one way. A continuum of complex morphology of language may be adopted. The three models of morphology stem from attempts to analyze languages that more or less match different categories in this typology. The item-and-arrangement approach fits very naturally with agglutinative languages. The item-and-process and word-and-paradigm approaches usually address fusional languages. As there is very little fusion involved in word formation, classical typology mostly applies to inflectional morphology. Depending on the preferred way of expressing non-inflectional notions, languages may be classified as synthetic (using word formation) or analytic (using syntactic phrases).


Examples

Pingelapese The Pingelapese language is a Micronesian language native to Pingelap, an atoll An atoll (), sometimes known as a coral atoll, is a ring-shaped coral reef A coral reef is an underwater ecosystem An ecosystem is a community (ecology), ...
is a
Micronesian language The twenty Micronesian languages form a family of Oceanic languages. Micronesian languages are known for their lack of plain labial consonants; they have instead two series, Palatalization (phonetics), palatalized and labio-velarized labials. Lang ...
spoken on the Pingelap atoll and on two of the eastern Caroline Islands, called the high island of Pohnpei. Similar to other languages, words in Pingelapese can take different forms to add to or even change its meaning. Verbal suffixes are morphemes added at the end of a word to change its form. Prefixes are those that are added at the front. For example, the Pingelapese suffix –''kin'' means ‘with’ or 'at.’ It is added at the end of a verb. ''ius'' = to use → ''ius-kin'' = to use with = to be good → = to be good at ''sa-'' is an example of a verbal prefix. It is added to the beginning of a word and means ‘not.’ = to be correct → = to be incorrect There are also directional suffixes that when added to the root word give the listener a better idea of where the subject is headed. The verb ''alu'' means to walk. A directional suffix can be used to give more detail. ''-da'' = ‘up’ → ''aluh-da'' = to walk up ''-d''i = ‘down’ → ''aluh-di'' = to walk down ''-eng'' = ‘away from speaker and listener’ → ''aluh-eng'' = to walk away Directional suffixes are not limited to motion verbs. When added to non-motion verbs, their meanings are a figurative one. The following table gives some examples of directional suffixes and their possible meanings.


See also

* Morphome (linguistics)


Footnotes


References


Further reading

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