marker (linguistics)
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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 ...
, a marker is a free or bound
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 ...
that indicates the grammatical function of the marked word, phrase, or sentence. Most characteristically, markers occur as
clitic In Morphology (linguistics), morphology and syntax, a clitic (, Back-formation, backformed from Ancient Greek, Greek "leaning" or "enclitic"Crystal, David. ''A First Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics''. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1980. Print.) ...
s or inflectional
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 Morphological derivation, derivational, like English language, English ''-ness'' and ''pre-'', or inflectional, like English pl ...
. In
analytic language In linguistic typology, an analytic language is a language that conveys relationships between words in sentences primarily by way of ''helper'' words ( particles, prepositions, etc.) and word order, as opposed to using inflections (changing ...
s and
agglutinative language An agglutinative language is a type of synthetic language with Morphology (linguistics), morphology that primarily uses agglutination. Words may contain different morphemes to determine their meanings, but all of these morphemes (including word st ...
s, markers are generally easily distinguished. In
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 grammar, grammatical, syntactic, or semantic features ...
s and
polysynthetic language In morphological typology, linguistic typology, polysynthetic languages, formerly holophrastic languages, are highly synthetic languages, i.e. languages in which word (linguistics), words are composed of many morphemes (word parts that have indepe ...
s, this is often not the case. For example, in Latin, a highly fusional language, the word '' amō'' ("I love") is marked by suffix '' '' for indicative mood, active voice, first person, singular, present tense. Analytic languages tend to have a relatively limited number of markers. Markers should be distinguished from the linguistic concept of
markedness In linguistics and social sciences, markedness is the state of standing out as nontypical or divergent as opposed to regular or common. In a marked–unmarked relation, one term of an opposition is the broader, dominant one. The dominant defau ...
. An ''unmarked'' form is the basic "neutral" form of a word, typically used as its dictionary lemma, such as—in English—for nouns the singular (e.g. ''cat'' versus ''cats''), and for verbs the infinitive (e.g. ''to eat'' versus ''eats'', ''ate'' and ''eaten''). Unmarked forms (e.g. the
nominative case In grammar, the nominative case (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ), subjective case, straight case or upright case is one of the grammatical cases of a noun or other part of speech, which generally marks the subject (grammar), subject ...
in many languages) tend to be less likely to have markers, but this is not true for all languages (compare
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, 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 ...
). Conversely, a marked form may happen to have a zero affix, like the
genitive In grammar, the genitive case (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) is the grammatical case that marks a word, usually a noun, as modifying another word, also usually a noun—thus indicating an attributive noun, attributive relationshi ...
plural of some nouns in Russian (e.g. сапо́г). In some languages, the same forms of a marker have multiple functions, such as when used in different cases or
declension 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 ar ...
s (for example '' -īs'' in Latin).


See also


Related topics

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Affix 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 ...
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Lexeme A lexeme () is a unit of lexical semantics, lexical meaning that underlies a set of words that are related through inflection. It is a basic abstract unit of meaning, a emic unit, unit of Morphology (linguistics), morphological Semantic analysis ...
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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 ...
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Markedness In linguistics and social sciences, markedness is the state of standing out as nontypical or divergent as opposed to regular or common. In a marked–unmarked relation, one term of an opposition is the broader, dominant one. The dominant defau ...
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Lemma (morphology) In morphology (linguistics), 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 language, English, for example, ''break'', ''breaks ...
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Null morpheme In Morphology (linguistics)#Morpheme-based morphology, morphology, a null morpheme or zero morpheme is a morpheme that has no phonetic form. In simpler terms, a null morpheme is an "invisible" affix. It is a concept useful for analysis, by contra ...
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Uninflected word In morphology (linguistics), linguistic morphology, an uninflected word is a word that has no morphological marker (linguistics), markers (inflection) such as affixes, ablaut, consonant gradation, etc., indicating declension or grammatical conjug ...


Types of marking

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Dependent-marking language A dependent-marking language has grammatical markers of agreement and case government between the words of phrase In syntax and grammar, a phrase is a group of words or singular word acting as a grammatical unit. For instance, the English langu ...
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Head-marking language A language is head-marking if the grammar, grammatical marks showing Agreement (linguistics), agreement between different words of a phrase tend to be placed on the Head (linguistics), heads (or nuclei) of phrases, rather than on the Modifier (gra ...
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Double-marking language A double-marking language is one in which the grammatical In linguistics, grammaticality is determined by the conformity to language usage as derived by the grammar of a particular variety (linguistics), speech variety. The notion of grammatica ...
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Zero-marking language A zero-marking language is one with no marker (linguistics), grammatical marks on the dependents or the grammatical modifier, modifiers or the head (linguistics), heads or nucleus (linguistics), nuclei that show the relationship between differen ...


References

* Maddieson, Ian. "Locus of Marking: Whole-Language Typology", in Martin Haspelmath et al. (eds.) ''The World Atlas of Language Structures'', pp. 106–109. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. . * Chomsky, N. 1965. Aspects of the theory of syntax. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Linguistic morphology Linguistics terminology {{ling-stub