• Morph: A morph is a constituent element of a word form. Or is the
realization of a morpheme (or sometimes of more than one). It is a
physically (phonological and orthographical) identifiable segment of
a language.
• A word such as invariables /inveWriWblz / contains four morphs.
• Free morphemes: are those that can stand alone in English phrases,
clauses, and sentences, such as man, boy, work, nice, fast, etc.
• Bound morphemes: are those morphemes that cannot stand alone by
themselves, as in-, un-, dis-, pre-, post, -ity, -ness, -dom, -ic, -able, etc.
• Morphology is the study of the ways in which lexemes and word
forms are built up from smaller elements and the changes that are
made to those smaller elements in the process of building lexemes
and word-forms.
• Lexeme: lexeme is a unit of lexical meaning that can take a set of
inflectional endings, such as show , shows, showing, showed.
• lexeme is a dictionary word, an abstract unit of vocabulary. It is
realized by word forms , in such a way, that the word form
represents the lexeme and any inflectional endings that are
required. For example, small, smaller, and smallest are all word
forms that can realize the lexeme SMALL. Similarly, dance, dances
danced, dancing are word forms based on the lexeme DANCE.
Conventionally lexemes are written in capital letters.
• Zero morph
• When there is not overt phonological and orthographical
realization of a morpheme, so the morph is zero. For example, the
past forms of the verbs shut, cut, hit, cost, etc. are the same as their
present forms. This means that there is no overt orthographical or
phonological change.
• Portmanteau morph
• It is a togetherness of more than one morpheme in one morph.
Portmanteau morph: is a morph which represents a togetherness of
two or more morphemes in one word.
• Consider the morph is, which contains the following morphemes:
• 1. verb to be,
• 2. Tense: simple present,
• 3. number: singular,
• 4. person: third person.
• Root:
A root is that part of the word which remains after all inflectional and
derivational affixes have been removed. Or it is irreducible core of
the word. For example, the root of the word decentralizations is
centre which is remained after removing inflectional morpheme {-s
of pl} and all derivational prefixes and suffixes {de-, -al, -ize, -ation}.
• Stem:
• A Stem is that part of the word which remains after removing all
inflectional suffixes. Or
• The stem is that part of a word that is in existence before any
inflectional affixes (i.e grammatical morphemes) have been
• Examples are cat is the stem of cats, worker is the stem of workers
• Walk is the stem for walked, victimize is the stem of victimized.
• Cheap is the stem of cheaper.
• Base: A base is that part of the word to which an affix of any kind is added.
• A base is any unit whatsoever to which affixes of any kind can be added.
For instance, duck is the base of duckling and also duckling is the base of
• Affixes:
• Affixes are bound morphemes that can be attached to the initial or the final
part of a word so as to form either a new from or a new word. All English
prefixes and suffixes are kinds of affixes, such as in-, anti-, mini-, dis-, de-,
un-, pre-, post-, maxi-, -ance, -ment, -able, -age, -less, -ness, -er, -ous, etc.
• Classification of affixes according to their position in the host word:
• Prefixes:
• Prefixes are bound morphemes that can be added to the beginning part of
the base. They mostly change the meaning of the root or base to which
they are added, few numbers of the prefixes change the word class of the
host word. Examples are unhappy, disappointed, misplaced, prewar,
postmodern, antisocialist, encage, impersonal etc.
They are bound morphemes that are added to the terminal part of
words to form a new form or a new lexeme. They either change the
meaning of the base to which they are added or they only change the
word class of the base or they do both, for instance, colourless, singer,
depth, happiness, purify, etc.
Affixes in English are divided into either class-changing or classmaintaining affixes.
Classs-changing affixes: are bound morphemes that are added to the
word and they change the meaning and the word class of the host word.
In English most, but not all, derivational suffixes are class changing
suffixes, e.g., happiness, penniless, dependent, carriage, admirable,
attractive, etc.
Class- maintaining affixes: are those dependent bound morphemes that
are added to the word and they never change the word class of the host
word, e.g., all inflectional suffixes, mountaineer, lioness, booklet,
kingdom, friendship, etc,
Differences between affixes and roots:
1.They can stand alone i.e.
they are free morphemes
1.They cannot stand alone
by themselves i.e. they are
bound morphemes
2. They are in the central
part of the words.
2. They are on the margins
(peripheries) of the words.
3.Their number somehow
is open and bigger than
that of affixes
3. Their number is limited
and fixed.
4. They can be divided
into nouns, verbs,
adjective and adverbs etc.
4. They Can be divided
into prefixes, suffixes, and
infixes .
Inflectional VS. Derivational Affixes
Never change the part of speech of 1. They may change the part of speech of
the base to which they are added.
the words to which they are added.
They are related to syntax.
2. They are related to semantics.
Inflectional affixes have a regular
3. Their meaning is irregular.
They are farther to the root than
4. They are nearer to the root.
They close off the word
5. They never close off the word
They can only be added to the
6. The can be added to the base.
Inflection uses a close set of
suffixes and their number is quite
smaller than derivationals
7. Derivation uses an open set of affixes
i.e, their number is much bigger that that
of inflectionals.
By adding an inflectional suffix, a
new form of the same morpheme
will be obtained.
8.By adding aa derivational suffix, a new
word (lexeme) will be obtained.
Only one suffix can occur within a
9. More than one affix can occur within
Replacive allomorph: sometimes a morpheme can be
realized by replacing one medial vowel sound by
another. For example, the past form of the verb give
which is gave is formed by
Changing one vowel sound to another, i.e.,
the vowel sound /i/ is replaced by /ei/ .
Other examples include:
Tooth + {-spl}= teeth
/ ti:Q/ = / tu:Q/ + i: >u:
Take + {-ed past} = took
/tuk/= /teik/ + u >ei
• Allomorphs or Positional Variants:
• Simply, allomorphs mean (an)other shapes of the same morpheme.
Allomorphs are the alternative realizations of a morpheme.
• Two or more morphs are said to be allomorphs of the same morpheme if
• 1. They have the same grammatical function or the same meaning.
• 2. They must be in complementary distribution, i.e., they must be in
mutually exclusive relation.
• An allomorph is a variant form of a morpheme which differs only in
sound not in meaning. It is an alternative manifestation of a morpheme
which varies in pronunciation according to phonological conditions.
• Allomorphs are either regular, rule-governed phonological
alternation,(a situation where the choice between alternative
allomorphs is regulated in quite predictable ways by the phonological
properties of the different morphs that occur near each other), or
morphologically (lexically) conditioned. This means that
• Choice of an allomorph is obligatory and it is dependent on the
presence of the specific lexeme or word. This can be done by our
identification for that lexeme. For example, by adding the plural
morpheme to the noun ox we know the plural form of the word is oxen.
• In Phonologically Conditioned allomorph, the phonological
environment determines the shape of the morpheme. Consider the
realization of {-s of pl } in English:
• cups/ kUps / the noun is ended with a voiceless consonant
• Watches /wotSis / the noun is ended with a sibilant consonant
• Rooms /ru:mz /the noun is ended with a voiced consonant
• The {-s of pl} is realized by three different phonological shapes
depending on the final sound of the host word with which the plural
morpheme is combined. All these forms are in complementary
distribution. This means that they never occur in the same enivronmet,
the presence of one of them will exclude the other forms.
• Suppletive forms: when there is no direct phonological relation
between the stem and the new form after adding inflectional
morphemes to the stem, the new form is suppletive form. For
example, the phonological form of the stem of the verb go has no
phonological relation with the past form went after adding the
morpheme of {-ed of past}. Other examples are good –better, badworse, etc.
• Truncation: In some cases, a part of the base is dropped before a
derivational suffix is added to the final part of the base. As in,
philosophy > philosopher
• Humanity > humanitarian
• Nominate > nominee
• Inflectional paradigm:
• It is a set of related forms having the same stem with different
inflectional suffixes. Examples:
• Walk, walks, walking, walked.
• Give, gives, giving, gave, given.
• Be, being, been, is , am, are, was, were.
• Small, smaller, smallest.
• Girl, girls, girl’s, girls’.
• Derivational paradigm:
• It is a set of related words(lexemes) having the same root with different
derivational affixes. Examples are: human, inhuman, humanity,
inhumanly, antihuman, etc.
• Happy, happiness, happily, unhappy, unhappily.
• It is the process of drawing a diagram to show the
layers of structure by which the word has been
composed down to the ultimate constituents.
• Immediate constituents of a unit are the smaller
units into which it is directly analysed.
Anti- nationalists
• Anti- nationalist
{-s of pl.}
• anti
• (aganist)
-ist noun-forming suffix - deadjectival
-al denominal – adjective forming suffix
• When we draw a diagram to show the structure of the words , the
following points must be taken in our consideration:
• 1. the first division must be between the inflectional morpheme (if there
is and the rest of the word.
• 2. one of the constituents must be a free morpheme. This means that it
has its own meaning and can stand alone.
• 3. The meaning of the constituents must be related or have connection
to the original word.