Chapter 3 Morphology..

Chapter Three Morphology
1. What is morphology?
Morphology—the study of the
internal structure of words and the
rules by which words are formed.
e.g. unfriendly—un + friend + ly
2. Morphemes
A morpheme—a minimal unit of
meaning or grammatical function.
unacceptable — un, accept, able
A morpheme cannot be divided into
further smaller units without
destroying or altering its meaning.
e.g. kind  kin + d; shout  shou + t
A word may consist of one or more
than one morphemes.
e.g., friend, friendly, friendliness,
2.1 Free morphemes
1) A free morpheme—a morpheme
which can stand by itself as a single
word, e.g. dog, desk, out.
2) root and stem
Root — the morpheme that remains
when all affixes are stripped from a
complex word (p.337) or to that part
of a word left when all its affixes are
e.g. unfriendliness has only one root
more than one roots.
e.g. girlfriend is a free morpheme,
but it has two roots—girl and friend.
stem— any morpheme or
combination of morphemes to which
an affix can be added. It may be the
same as a root.
e.g. in the word friends, friend is
both the root and the stem.
But a stem may also be different
from a root in other cases.
e.g. in the word friendships,
friendship is its stem and friend is its
3) Lexical morphemes and functional
Lexical morphemes—morphemes
which carry the content of messages.
See examples on p.53. They are also
called an open class of words because
it is easy to add new words to this
Functional morphemes—morphemes
which have grammatical function. See
examples on p.53. They are also
called a closed class of words because
it is not easy to add new words to this
2.2 Bound morphemes
A bound morpheme—a morpheme
which is never used alone but must
be used with another morpheme,
e.g. re-, -s, ness, less.
Bound morphemes = affixes.
1) Prefixes, suffixes and infixes
Prefixes are joined to the
beginning of the root or stem
e.g. dislike, impossible, nonsmoker.
Suffixes are joined to the end of
the root or stem (p.54).
e.g. brotherly, books.
Infixes are inserted into other
morphemes. (p.54).
e.g. men, feet, ran. Infixes like this
in English are actually internal
inflection. Other examples of
infixes can be found in some
languages like Tagalog on p.54.
2) Derivational morphemes and
inflectional morphemes
A derivational morpheme—a
morpheme that serves to derive a
word of one class or meaning from a
word of another class or meaning
Derivational morphemes often (not
always) change the parts of speech
of the root, e.g. nation—national;
rich—enrich. But: take —retake;
An inflectional morpheme—a
morpheme that does not change the
syntactic function/parts of speech
of the root to which they are added,
e.g. lesson—lessons; play—played.
Inflectional morphemes typically
indicate syntactic or semantic
relations between different words in
a sentence.
e.g. the present tense morpheme -s
in waits shows agreement with the
subject of the verb.
Compared with other Indo-European
languages, modern English has relatively
few inflectional morphemes, including:
a. the plural (-s)
b. the third-person singular (-s)
c. the -ing participle (-ing)
d. the past form and past participle (-ed)
e) the comparative (-er)
f. the superlative (-est)
g. the genitive case (‘s) (as in the girl’s
h. the feminine gender (-ess) (as in
3) Some points to be noticed:
a. The number of derivational
morphemes is much larger than that
of inflectional morphemes.
b. A word may have only one
derivational morpheme, but it can
have more than one inflectional
c. All the inflectional morphemes are
suffixes but derivational morphemes
may be either prefixes or suffixes.
d. If both derivational and
inflectional morphemes occur
together in a word, the derivational
morpheme occurs next to the root,
and the inflectional morpheme
occurs at the end of the word.
e.g. weaknesses—*weakesness—
3. Morphs and allomorphs
phone, phoneme and allophone
morph, morpheme and allomorph
If morphs have the same meaning
and a complementary distribution or
if they stand in free variation, then
they are said to be allomorphs of the
same morpheme. e.g.
(1) [-z] in dogs, [-s] in pests, [-iz] in
houses, [-e-] in men, and [ø] in
sheep are allomorphs of the plural
morpheme {-s}.
(2) –ion/-tion/-sion/-ation
allomorphs of the same morpheme.
They do not differ in meaning or function
but show a slight difference in sound
depending on the final phoneme of the
proceeding verb.
verbs ending with the sound /t/ usually
take –ion (invent—invention)
verbs ending with consonants other than
/t/, take –tion (describe—description)
verbs ending in –ify and –ize take –ation
(justify—justification; modernize—
verbs ending in –d, -de, or –mit, take –sion
(expand—expansion; decide—decision;
omit— omission).
Allomorphs also occur among
prefixes. Their form then depends on
the first letter of the word to which
they will be added. e.g. in-, im-, ir-,
il- are allomorphs of the morpheme
of {in-}:
im- occurs before p, b, or m
(imperfect, imbalance, immobile);
ir- occurs before r (irresponsible);
il- occurs before l (illogical);
in- occurs before all other
consonants and vowels (inflexible,
4. Types of word formation
4.1 Compounding
Compounding—formation of new
words by combining two or more free
e.g. bedroom, babysit, carefree,
throughout, a father-knows-best
family, dead-end jobs, on-the-spot
investigation, on-site service.
4.1.1 English compound words written in
three different ways:
1) As a single word—headache, sweetheart
2) With a hyphen in between—job-hunt, airconditioning, self-government
3) As two separate words—baby sitter,
chain store, air force, women doctors,
reading material
Sometimes the same compound word may
appear in three different forms, e.g.
Airline, air-line, air line
Matchbox, match-box, match box
Flowerpot, flower-pot, flower pot
In American English, compounds are
usually written as a single word
(solid) as soon as they have gained
some permanent status; otherwise
they are written as two separate
words (open). In British English,
however, compounds are usually
written hyphenated.
4.1.2 Major types of compounds
1) noun compounds
a. noun + noun: gaslight, teamboat,
windmill, science fiction, moon walk,
end product, peasant girl, pine tree
b. verb + noun: pickpocket, callgirl,
c. adj + noun: deadline, blueprint,
d. noun + verb: headache, heartbeat,
daybreak, earthquake
e. ad + verb: outbreak, downfall
2) verb compounds
a. verb + verb: sleepwalk, jumpstart,
b. noun + verb: brainwash, bottle-feed,
speed-read, mass produce, job-hop,
hand-carry, house-keep, lip-read,
c. adj + verb: dry-clean, hard-boil
d. noun + noun: daydream, windowshop
3) Adjective compounds
a. noun + adj: tax-free, fat-free,
world-famous, shoulder-high, seasick
b. adj + adj: wet-cold, light-blue, icycold
c. ad + adj: over-cautious, all-round
d. adj +noun: high-grade, good-will
e. noun + V-ed: town-bred,
heartbroken, grief-stricken,
f. noun + V-ing: peaceloving, recordbreaking, heartbreaking, fact-finding
g. adj/ad + V-ed/V-ing: fresh-frozen,
dry-cleaned, widespread, welldressed, well-meant, new-laid, easygoing, good-looking, everlasting
4.1.3 Some points to be noticed:
1) When the two elements of the
compound belong to one grammatical
category, the compound will be in the
same category, e.g. post box, blueblack, however.
2) When the two elements fall into
different grammatical categories, the
compound usually follows the
grammatical category of the second
e.g. head-strong, blacklist, pickpocket,
Exception: downfall, breakneck
3) Compounds often have different
stress patterns from the noncompound word sequences, e.g.
‘redcoat—red’coat, ‘greenhouse—
4) The meaning of a compound, in most
cases, is not the sum of the meanings of its
parts. In other words, the meaning of a
compound is often related to but cannot
simply be inferred from the meaning of its
e.g. a darkroom (a room used for
photographic processing) is not a just a
dark room, since most dark rooms are not
Other examples: typewriter, playboy, dog
days, crybaby, bigwig, pigtail, greenroom,
mother wit, homebird, bus girl, blue movies.
4.2 Derivation
Derivation—a process of forming new
words by adding affixes to other
words or morphemes, e.g. insanity,
1) Most prefixes in English change
The prefixes modify the lexical
meaning, but generally do not change
the word-class, e.g. fair—unfair;
lead—mislead; wife—ex-wife; legally—
illegally. Other examples:
mini-: minibus, miniskirt, minipants
mini-mini-skirt—a microskirt
maxiskirt—a long skirt that usually
extends to the ankle
midiskirt—a skirt that usually extends
to the mid-half
midicoat(中长大衣), maxicoat,
But some prefixes in English change
the word class: calm—becalm;
danger—endanger; sleep—asleep;
earth—unearth; fire—afire.
2) Most suffixes in English change the
word-class of the word
e.g. boy—boyish, brave— braveness.
But some of them change the meaning
instead of the word class of the
original words.
e.g. boy—boyhood; king—kingdom;
ideal—idealism; friend—friendship;
machine— machinery; book—booklet;
London—Londoner; spoon—spoonful;
music —musician.
4.3 Other ways of word formation
1) Conversion
Conversion—by converting words of
one class to another class without
adding any affixes, e.g.
The trees fell down in the gale.
The water flows down the slope.
Let’s meet on the down platform.
The workers downed their tools and
started a strike.
We all have our ups and downs.
Major types of conversion:
a. Noun to Verb conversion
She wintered at her daughter’s home in
the south.
They are better housed than ever before.
He mouthed fine words about friendship.
b. Verb to Noun conversion
At present, we have too few people with
this kind of skill mix.
I can know him at once by his walk.
There will be a repeat of the program next
This book is a must for the students
of E.
c. Adj to Noun conversion
This is a school for the deaf and the
He is at his best in his description of
college life.
d. Adj to Verb conversion
The photograph yellowed with age.
Don’t dirty your hands
No garbage is to be emptied here.
Other kinds of conversion:
I will take a through train. (prep—adj)
He knows all the ins and outs of the
whole business. (prep—n)
His talks contains too many ifs and
buts. (conj—n)
They downed their tools in protest.
We will have a face-to-face interview
with the minister. (n—adj)
2) Backformation
Backformation—by dropping an
imagined affix from an already
existing longer word. For example, the
word televise comes from the word
television, and not the other way
round. That is to say, the noun
television appeared first in the English
vocabulary, and then the verb televise.
babysit ← babysitter; merry-make ←
merry-making; drowse ← drowsy
Three types of backformation:
a. backformations from nouns
beg ← beggar; donate ← donation
b. backformations from adjectives
gloom ← gloomy; cose ← cosy; laze
← lazy
c. backformations from words ending
with -ing
air-condition ← air-conditioning
3) Clipping
Clipping—by deleting one or more
syllables from a word, e.g.
aeroplane → plane; gymnastics → gym
Five types of clipping:
a. front clipping
bus, phone, quake
b. back clipping
ad, dorm, exam
homosexual → homo; pornography→ porn;
discotheque → disc; business → biz;
gentleman → gent
c. front and back clipping
influenza → flu; detective → tec;
prescription → script
d. phrase clipping
daily paper → daily; public house →
pub; taximeter cab → taxi;
popular music, concert, or record →
permanent waves → perm
zoological garden → zoo
God be with you → goodbye
after all is said and done → after all
e. middle clipping
bike, maths
doctor → Dr; mister →Mr; limited → Ltd
4) Blending
Blending—by combining the meanings and
sounds of two words, one of which or both
of which are not in their full forms, e.g.
communication + satellite → comsat
Types of blending:
a. head + tail
breakfast + lunch → brunch
motor + hotel → motel
airport + hotel → airtel
automobile + suicide →autocide
smoke + fog → smog
cafeteria + auditorium → cafetorium
flash + blush → flush
b. head + head
teleprinter + exchange → telex
psychological + warfare → psywar
American + Indian → Amerind
high + technology → hi-tech
international + police → interpol
situation + comedy → sitcom
head + word
medical + aid → medicaid; medicare
European + Asia → Eurasian
television + script → telescript
word + tail
book + automobile → bookmobile
work + welfare → workfare
jazz + discotheque → jazzotheque
profit + toward → profitward
video + telephone→ videophone
talk + marathon → Talkathon
5) Acronym
An acronym is pronounced as a word.
e.g. NATO, UNESCO, TOEFL, laser,
6) Initialism
An initialism is pronounced letter by
letter, e.g. BBC, IT, ID, MA, BA, WTO,
WWW (world wide web), IOC
(International Olympic Committee).
There are three types of initialisms:
a. The letters represent full words.
CIA—the Central Intelligence Agency
of the U.S
UN—the United Nations
b. The letters represent elements in a
compound or just part of a word.
ID—Identification (card)
ETV—educational television
c. A letter represents the complete
form of the first or the first two
words, while the second word or the
third word is in full form. e.g. Hbomb—hydrogen bomb
7) Borrowing
Borrowing—the adoption of a
linguistic expression from one
language into another, usually when
no terms exist for the new object,
concept, or state of affairs.
Words borrowed from Chinese: tea,
taji, chow mien, wok, kung-fu,
mahjong, silk, monk, mooncake,
Four types of loan-words
a. Aliens 外国词
They are borrowed words which have
retained their original pronunciation
and spelling. These words are
immediately recognizable as foreign
in origin.
e.g. Au pair(不付钱的相互交换服务);
chauffeur ([‘uf]汽车司机);
b. Denizens外来词
They are words borrowed early in the
past and now are well assimilated
into the English language. Some of
the words are so successfully
assimilated that only trained
professionals may be aware of their
origin. Words of this group are early
borrowings from Latin, Greek, French
and Scandinavians.
e.g. egg (Scandinavian); poor
(French); event (Latin)
c. Loanblend混合借词
They are words in which part of the form
is native and part is borrowed, but the
meaning is fully borrowed.
e.g. Coconut, Chinatown.
d. translation-loans译借词
They are words and expressions formed
from the existing material in the English
language but modeled on the patterns
taken from another language. (each
morpheme or word is translated from the
equivalent morpheme or word in another
mother tongue from lingua maternal
long time no see from 好久没见
paper tiger (Chinese)
black humour from humour noir
found object from objet trouve 随手捡
到之物 (French)
e. Semantic borrowings义借词
Words of this category are not
borrowed with reference to the form.
But their meanings are borrowed (the
meaning is borrowed, but the form is
native ).
Bridge is an English word, but when it
refers to a type of card game, the
meaning was borrowed from the
Italian ponte.
The English word artificial satellite is
also a case of semantic borrowing
from the Russian counteract sputnik
Related flashcards


38 cards

Water supply

21 cards

Create Flashcards