Morphology

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Morphology, Part 1
HU2910
Summer 2011
What is morphology?
What is a morpheme?
“the minimal unit of meaning”
What is morphology?
What is a morpheme?
“the minimal unit of meaning”
Which of these are morphemes?
cat
-s
sen- (as in sentence)
un-
Why study morphology?
to gain an understanding of
 where our words come from
Why study morphology?
to gain an understanding of
 where our words come from
 what the properties of words are
Why study morphology?
to gain an understanding of
 where our words come from
 what the properties of words are
 how parts of words add together to
form meaningful separate words
Why study morphology?
to gain an understanding of
 where our words come from
 what the properties of words are
 how parts of words add together to
form meaningful separate words
 how we build our mental stock of words
Why study morphology?
to gain an understanding of
 where our words come from
 what the properties of words are
 how parts of words add together to
form meaningful separate words
 how we build our mental stock of words
 how dictionaries are formed
Dictionaries
Who makes them? How?
Dictionaries
Who makes them? How?
What do they include? Leave out?
Dictionaries
Who makes them? How?
What do they include? Leave out?
Are morphemes like un- and -ment in your
dictionary?
Dictionaries
Who makes them? How?
What do they include? Leave out?
Are morphemes like un- and -ment in your
dictionary?
Linguists call the “word list” of words and
morphemes you know, and their
attendant properties, the LEXICON.
Relationships between syllables
and morphemes
Mississippi
- one (long) word,
- one morpheme in English,
- though two morphemes (big-river)
in Ojibwe
Relationships between syllables
and morphemes
Mississippi
- one (long) word,
- one morpheme in English,
- though two morphemes (big-river)
in Ojibwe
Compare:
Chicago ‘skunk place’ and
Wabash ‘it shines white’

tried
one (short) word, two morphemes
try + ed (with spelling change)
Morphological properties
Free or bound?
un-disturb-ed
disturb
un-ed
Affixation
prefix
suffix
dis-, un-, re-ly, -ment, -hood
= Most common word formation process
in English
Affixation
infix
-damnBontoc (Phillipines)
takbuh + -um- > t-um-akbuh
'run'
(past)
'ran’
circumfix
a-com-in(g)
I’m acoming to get you (dialectal)
Affixation
root/stem (to which you add affixes)
tuck
un-tuck-ed
respect dis-respect-ful-ly
spelling changes
un- happy -ly > unhappily
Derivational affixes
examples: un-, dis-, re-, mis-, in-ify, -ate, -tion, -ly
Derivational affixes
examples: un-, dis-, re-, mis-, in-ify, -ate, -tion, -ly
- frequently change categories or
meaning, e.g., N--> V
Derivational affixes
examples: un-, dis-, re-, mis-, in-ify, -ate, -tion, -ly
- frequently change categories or
meaning, e.g., N--> V
- typically affect semantic relations within
word
Derivational affixes
examples: un-, dis-, re-, mis-, in-ify, -ate, -tion, -ly
- frequently change categories or
meaning, e.g., N--> V
- typically affect semantic relations within
word
- typically affect only certain words within
a class (unproductive)
Derivational affixes
examples: un-, dis-, re-, mis-, in-ify, -ate, -tion, -ly
- frequently change categories or
meaning, e.g., N--> V
- typically affect semantic relations within
word
- typically affect only certain words within
a class (unproductive)
- typically occur before inflectional
suffixes (e.g.?)
Inflectional affixes (8 types)
- do not change “meaning” or part of
speech
- typically indicate syntactic or semantic
relations between different words in
a sentence
- typically are very productive
- typically occur at margins of words
8 Types of Inflectional Affixes
-s plural
-’s possessive
-s third singular
-ing progressive
-ed past tense
-en past participle
-er comparative
-est superlative
dog-s
Chris’s
(she) speak-s
walk-ing
walk-ed
tak-en
tall-er
tall-est
Compounds
Note how the stress shifts to the first syllable:
firetruck
blue-green
wind tunnel
but:
cream cheese
fíre + trúck > fíretrùck
blúe + gréen > blúe-grèen
wínd + túnnel > wíndtùnnel
créam + chéese?
or
créam + chèese?
More problematic morphemes
-able
unconquerable
indestructible
What is -able (-ible, -ibil…)?
A free root (compounded)?
A bound root?
Separating morphemes
misdirection
mis- + direct + ion
Free/Bound
Inflectional/Deriv.
Prefix/Root/Suffix
Spelling change
B
D
P
-
F
R
-
B
D
S
-
For next time, try:
fingernails
maladjusted
James
incomprehensibility
Open classes
Open (usually "content" words)
Open to the addition of new items
(the “dollar” words):
Nouns
fax(es)
Verbs
fax(ed)
Adjectives fax(able)
Adverbs
?fax(ly?)
Closed classes
Closed (usually "function" words)
Pronouns
Conjunctions
Determiners
Prepositions
she, they, I, you
and, or, but, |
the, a, some
in, by, from, to
Problematic morphemes
cran-berry
luke-warm
re-ceive
per-ceive
con-ceive
de-ceive
re-mit
per-mit
com-mit
Bound roots?
Potential problems in morphemic
analysis
PROBLEM 1:
Distinguishing parts of words that look like
morphemes from actual morphemes
Clues:
separable meaning
meaning adds to the conglomerate meaning of
the whole item
Issues in segmentation
E.g.: hippopotamus
not: hippo + pot + amus (or hip + po)
note that hippo is a clipping of the whole
word, not a separate morpheme
but: one morph (maybe two, considering
hippopotam-i)
Another mis-segmentation
problem
e.g., standards
standard + s
not stand + ard + s
Problem #2: distinguishing
homomorphs
plural of ox: ox+en
NOT the same as the past tense of
take, take+en
un-reliable
not the same as understand, nor un+tie
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