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In
linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. It is called a scientific study because it entails a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise analysis of all aspects of language, particularly its nature and structure. Linguis ...
, 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 affix which is placed before the Word stem, stem 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'' ...
es, and suffixes. Morphology also looks at
parts of speech In grammar, a part of speech or part-of-speech (abbreviated as POS or PoS, also known as word class or grammatical category) is a category of words (or, more generally, of lexical items) that have similar grammatical properties. Words that are ass ...
, intonation and
stress Stress may refer to: Science and medicine * Stress (biology), an organism's response to a stressor such as an environmental condition * Stress (linguistics), relative emphasis or prominence given to a syllable in a word, or to a word in a phrase ...
, 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 su ...
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 morphological structures. The field organizes languages on the basis of how those languages for ...
, which is the classification of languages based on their use of words, and lexicology, which is the study of words and how they make up a language's vocabulary. While words, along with clitics, are generally accepted as being the smallest units of syntax, in most languages, if not all, many words can be related to other words by rules that collectively describe the
grammar In linguistics, the grammar of a natural language is its set of structure, structural constraints on speakers' or writers' composition of clause (linguistics), clauses, phrases, and words. The term can also refer to the study of such constraint ...
for that language. For example,
English English usually refers to: * English language * English people English may also refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * ''English'', an adjective for something of, from, or related to England ** English national ide ...
speakers recognize that the words ''dog'' and ''dogs'' are closely related, differentiated only by the
plural The plural (sometimes abbreviated pl., pl, or ), in many languages, is one of the values of the grammatical category of number. The plural of a noun typically denotes a quantity greater than the default quantity represented by that noun. This de ...
ity
morpheme A morpheme is the smallest meaningful Constituent (linguistics), constituent of a linguistic expression. The field of linguistics, linguistic study dedicated to morphemes is called morphology (linguistics), morphology. In English, morphemes are ...
"-s", only found
bound Bound or bounds may refer to: Mathematics * Bound variable * Upper and lower bounds, observed limits of mathematical functions Physics * Bound state, a particle that has a tendency to remain localized in one or more regions of space Geography *B ...
to
noun phrase In linguistics, a noun phrase, or nominal (phrase), is a phrase that has a noun or pronoun as its head or performs the same grammatical function as a noun. Noun phrases are very common cross-linguistically, and they may be the most frequently oc ...
s. Speakers of English, a
fusional language Fusional languages or inflected languages are a type of synthetic language, distinguished from agglutinative languages by their tendency to use a single inflectional morpheme to denote multiple grammatical, syntactic, or semantic features. Fo ...
, recognize these relations from their innate knowledge of English's rules of
word formation In linguistics, word formation is an ambiguous term that can refer to either: * the processes through which words can change (i.e. morphology), or * the creation of new lexemes in a particular language Morphological A common method of word for ...
. 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", meaning "literary language/speech"; modern vernacular: 文言文 ''wényánwén'' "text speak text", meaning "literar ...
has very little morphology, using almost exclusively unbound morphemes ("free" morphemes) and it relies on
word order In linguistics, word order (also known as linear order) is the order of the syntactic constituents of a language. Word order typology studies it from a cross-linguistic perspective, and examines how different languages employ different orders. C ...
to convey meaning. (Most words in modern Standard Chinese Mandarin" however, are compounds and most
roots A root is the part of a plant, generally underground, that anchors the plant body, and absorbs and stores water and nutrients. Root or roots may also refer to: Art, entertainment, and media * ''The Root'' (magazine), an online magazine focusing ...
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 the branch of linguistics that studies how languages or dialects systematically organize their sounds or, for sign languages, their constituent parts of signs. The term can also refer specifically to the sound or sign system of a ...
and orthographic modifications between a base word and its origin may be partial to
literacy Literacy in its broadest sense describes "particular ways of thinking about and doing reading and writing" with the purpose of understanding or expressing thoughts or ideas in written form in some specific context of use. In other words, huma ...
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, polysynthetic languages, formerly holophrastic languages, are highly synthetic languages, i.e. languages in which words are composed of many morphemes (word parts that have independent meaning but may or may not be able ...
s, such as Chukchi, 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 A gloss is a brief notation, especially a marginal one or an interlinear one, of the meaning of a word or wording in a text. It may be in the language of the text or in the reader's language if that is different. A collection of glosses is a '' ...
. The morphology of such languages allows for each
consonant In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are and pronounced with the lips; and pronounced with the front of the tongue; and pronounced wi ...
and
vowel A vowel is a syllabic speech sound pronounced without any stricture in the vocal tract. Vowels are one of the two principal classes of speech sounds, the other being the consonant. Vowels vary in quality, in loudness and also in quantity (leng ...
to be understood as
morphemes A morpheme is the smallest meaningful constituent of a linguistic expression. The field of linguistic study dedicated to morphemes is called morphology. In English, morphemes are often but not necessarily words. Morphemes that stand alone a ...
, 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 that studies the interaction between morphological and phonological or phonetic processes. Its chief focus is the sound changes that take place in morphemes (mi ...
.


History

The history of morphological analysis dates back to the ancient Indian linguist
Pāṇini , era = ;;6th–5th century BCE , region = Indian philosophy , main_interests = Grammar, linguistics , notable_works = ' (Sanskrit#Classical Sanskrit, Classical Sanskrit) , influenced= , notable_ideas=Descript ...
, who formulated the 3,959 rules of
Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominally , , ) is a classical language belonging to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor languages had diffused there from the northwest in the late ...
morphology in the text ''
Aṣṭādhyāyī The (Devanagari अष्टाध्यायी) is a grammar that describes a form of an early Indo-Aryan language: Sanskrit. Authored by Sanskrit philologist and scholar Pāṇini and dated to around 500 BCE, it describes the language as cu ...
'' by using a
constituency grammar The term phrase structure grammar was originally introduced by Noam Chomsky as the term for grammar studied previously by Emil Post and Axel Thue ( Post canonical systems). Some authors, however, reserve the term for more restricted grammars in th ...
. 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. His great work was ''A Compendium of the Comparative Grammar of the Indo-European Languages'' in which he attempted to reconstruct the Proto-Indo-European languag ...
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 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 forms. In English, for example, ''break'', ''breaks'', ''broke'', ''broken'' and ''breaking'' a ...
in
small capitals In typography, small caps (short for "small capitals") are characters typeset with glyphs that resemble uppercase letters (capitals) but reduced in height and weight close to the surrounding lowercase letters or text figures. This is technicall ...
. 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 branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-day Rome, but through the power of the ...
, 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". An extreme level of the 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
affixes In linguistics, an affix is a morpheme that is attached to a word stem to form a new word or word form. Affixes may be derivational, like English ''-ness'' and ''pre-'', or inflectional, like English plural ''-s'' and past tense ''-ed''. They ...
, instead of by independent "words". The three-word English phrase, "with his club", in which 'with' identifies its dependent noun phrase as an instrument and 'his' denotes a possession relation, would consist of two words or even one word in many languages. Unlike most other 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): (Notation notes: # accusative case marks an entity that something is done to. # determiners are words such as "the", "this", and "that". # the concept of "
pivot Pivot may refer to: *Pivot, the point of rotation in a lever system *More generally, the center point of any rotational system *Pivot joint, a kind of joint between bones in the body *Pivot turn, a dance move Companies *Incitec Pivot, an Austra ...
" is a theoretical construct that is not relevant to this discussion.) That is, to a 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: 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, possessing the grammatical features of independent words but the
prosodic In linguistics, prosody () is concerned with elements of speech that are not individual phonetic segments (vowels and consonants) but are properties of syllables and larger units of speech, including linguistic functions such as intonation, st ...
-phonological lack of freedom of
bound morpheme In linguistics, a bound morpheme is a morpheme (the elementary unit of morphosyntax) that can appear only as part of a larger expression; a free morpheme (or unbound morpheme) is one that can stand alone. A bound morpheme is a type of bound form, ...
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, but other rules relate to different lexemes. Rules of the first kind are
inflectional In linguistic morphology, inflection (or inflexion) is a process of word formation in which a word is modified to express different grammatical categories such as tense, case, voice, aspect, person, number, gender, mood, animacy, and defin ...
rules, but those of the second kind are rules of
word formation In linguistics, word formation is an ambiguous term that can refer to either: * the processes through which words can change (i.e. morphology), or * the creation of new lexemes in a particular language Morphological A common method of word for ...
. The generation of the English plural ''dogs'' from ''dog'' is an inflectional rule, and 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), and 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 for which linguists fail to agree whether a given rule is inflection or word formation. The next section will attempt to clarify the distinction. Word formation is a process in which one combines two complete words, but inflection allows the combination of a suffix with a verb to change the latter's form to that of the subject of the sentence. For example: in the present indefinite, ‘go’ is used with subject I/we/you/they and plural nouns, but third-person singular pronouns (he/she/it) and singular nouns causes ‘goes’ to be used. The ‘-es’ is therefore an inflectional marker that 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 In linguistics, a grammatical category or grammatical feature is a property of items within the grammar of a language. Within each category there are two or more possible values (sometimes called grammemes), which are normally mutually exclusiv ...
, but 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: Language * Morphological derivation, a word-formation process * Parse tree or concrete syntax tree, representing a string's syntax in formal grammars Law * Derivative work, in copyright law * Derivation proceeding, a proc ...
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 me ...
. The latter 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 affixing bound (non-independent) forms to existing lexemes, but 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-'', and ''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 (NATO for
North Atlantic Treaty Organization The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ; french: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, ), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 30 member states – 28 European and two No ...
), borrowing in which words from one language are taken and used in another, and coinage in which a new word is created to represent a new object or concept.


Paradigms and morphosyntax

A linguistic paradigm 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
declensions In linguistics, declension (verb: ''to decline'') is the changing of the form of a word, generally to express its syntactic function in the sentence, by way of some inflection. Declensions may apply to nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, and a ...
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'', a biannual DVD magazine showcasing new media art * Aspect Co., a Japanese video game company * Aspects (band), a hip hop group from Bristol, England * ''Aspects'' (Benny Carter ...
, mood,
number A number is a mathematical object used to count, measure, and label. The original examples are the natural numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and so forth. Numbers can be represented in language with number words. More universally, individual numbers c ...
,
gender Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to femininity and masculinity and differentiating between them. Depending on the context, this may include sex-based social structures (i.e. gender roles) and gender identity. Most cultures ...
or case, organizes such. For example, the personal pronouns in English can be organized into tables by using the categories of
person A person ( : people) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousness, and being a part of a culturally established form of social relations such as kinship, ownership of prope ...
(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 but must be categories that are relevant to stating the syntactic rules of the language. Person and number are categories that can be used to define paradigms in English because the language has
grammatical agreement In linguistics, agreement or concord (abbreviated ) occurs when a word changes form depending on the other words to which it relates. It is an instance of inflection, and usually involves making the value of some grammatical category (such as gender ...
rules, which 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 both forms determines the form of the verb that is used. However, no syntactic rule shows the difference between ''dog'' and ''dog catcher'', or ''dependent'' and ''independent''. The first two are nouns, and the other 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, as well as how 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
the 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 o ...
and
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, executive, and judiciary. Government is a ...
.


Allomorphy

Above, morphological rules are described as
analogies Analogy (from Greek ''analogia'', "proportion", from ''ana-'' "upon, according to" lso "against", "anew"+ ''logos'' "ratio" lso "word, speech, reckoning" is a cognitive process of transferring information or meaning from a particular subject ...
between word forms: ''dog'' is to ''dogs'' as ''cat'' is to ''cats'' and ''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", and the second "two or more of X", and the difference is always the plural form ''-s'' (or ''-es'') affixed to the second word, which signals the key distinction between singular and plural entities. One of the largest sources of complexity in morphology is that the 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'' whose 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''. Those cases, in which the same distinction is effected by alternative forms of a "word", constitute
allomorph In linguistics, an allomorph is a variant phonetic form of a morpheme, or, a unit of meaning that varies in sound and spelling without changing the meaning. The term ''allomorph'' describes the realization of phonological variations for a specif ...
y. Phonological rules constrain the sounds that 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 "voice, sound" and "having to do with arranging") is a branch of phonology that deals with restrictions in a language on the permissible combinations of phonemes. Phonotactics defines permissible syllable struc ...
of English. 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 can distinguish one word from another in a particular language. For example, in most dialects of English, with the notable exception of the West Midlands and the north-west o ...
.


Lexical morphology

Lexical morphology is the branch of morphology that deals with the lexicon that, morphologically conceived, is the collection of lexemes 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 Constituent (linguistics), constituent of a linguistic expression. The field of linguistics, linguistic study dedicated to morphemes is called morphology (linguistics), morphology. In English, morphemes are ...
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 plants, the roots are the 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 are most often below the su ...
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 In formal language theory and computer programming, string concatenation is the operation of joining character strings end-to-end. For example, the concatenation of "snow" and "ball" is "snowball". In certain formalisations of concatenat ...
") like beads on a string. More recent and sophisticated approaches, such as
distributed morphology In generative linguistics, Distributed Morphology is a theoretical framework introduced in 1993 by Morris Halle and Alec Marantz.Halle, Morris & Alec Marantz. 1993. 'Distributed Morphology and the Pieces of Inflection.' In The View from Buildin ...
, 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: * Baudouin’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, distinguished from agglutinative languages by their tendency to use a single inflectional morpheme to denote multiple grammatical, syntactic, or semantic features. Fo ...
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 superlatives) 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 In linguistics, agglutination is a morphological process in which words are formed by stringing together morphemes, each of which corresponds to a single syntactic feature. Languages that use agglutination widely are called agglutinative lang ...
whose words tend to have many easily separable morphemes; others yet are inflectional or
fusional Fusional languages or inflected languages are a type of synthetic language, distinguished from agglutinative languages by their tendency to use a single inflectional morpheme to denote multiple grammatical, syntactic, or semantic features. For e ...
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 * Chinese people, people of Chinese nationality, citizenship, and/or ethnicity **''Zhonghua minzu'', the supra-ethnic concept of the Chinese nation ** List of ethnic groups in China, people of ...
. An agglutinative language is Turkish.
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-day Rome, but through the power of the ...
and
Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group. *Greek language, a branch of the Indo-European language family. **Proto-Greek language, the assumed last common ancestor ...
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 belonging to the state of Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia. This atoll is the homeland to the Pingelapese people, consisting of a three-square mile range ...
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, palatalized and labio-velarized labials. Languages According to Jack ...
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) The term morphome refers to a function in linguistics which is purely morphological or has an irreducibly morphological component. The term is particularly used by Martin Maiden following Mark Aronoff's identification of morphomic functions and ...


Footnotes


References


Further reading

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External links


Lecture 7 Morphology
in Linguistics 001 by Mark Liberman, ling.upenn.edu
Intro to Linguistics – Morphology
by Jirka Hana, ufal.mff.cuni.cz

by Stephen R. Anderson, part of Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science, cowgill.ling.yale.edu
Introduction to Linguistic Theory - Morphology: The Words of Language
by Adam Szczegielniak, scholar.harvard.edu
LIGN120: Introduction to Morphology
by Farrell Ackerman and Henry Beecher, grammar.ucsd.edu

by P.J.Hancox, cs.bham.ac.uk {{Authority control Linguistic typology Linguistics terminology Grammar