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Morphology

2010

Morphemes
Introduction Morphemes are what make up words. Often, morphemes are thought of as words but that is not always true. Some single morphemes are words while other wordshave two or more morphemes within them. Morphemes are also thought of as syllables but this is incorrect. Many words have two or more syllables but only one morpheme. Banana, apple, papaya, and nannyare just a few examples. On the other hand, many words have two morphemes and only one syllable; examples include cats, runs, and barked. Definitions


morpheme: a combination of sounds that havea meaning. A morpheme does not necessarily have to be a word. Example: the word cats have two morphemes. Cat is a morpheme, and -s is a morpheme. Every morpheme is either a base or an affix. An affixcan be either a prefix or a suffix. Cat is the base morpheme, and -s is a suffix.



affix: a morpheme that comes at the beginning (prefix) or the ending (suffix) of a base morpheme. Note: Anaffix usually is a morpheme that cannot stand alone. Examples: -ful, -ly, -ity, ness. A few exceptions are able, like, and less.



base: a morpheme that gives a word its meaning. The base morphemecat gives the word cats its meaning: a particular type of animal.

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prefix: an affix that comes before a base morpheme. The in in the word inspect is a prefix. suffix: an affix that comesafter a base morpheme. The s in cats is a suffix. allomorphs: different phonetic forms or variations of a morpheme.

Example one: The final morphemes in the following words are pronounceddifferently, but they all indicate plurality: dogs, cats, and horses. (The plural marker in English is sometimes realized as /-z/, /-s/ or /- ɪz/.) Example two: In the English language the past tense morpheme is-ed. It occurs in several allomorphs depending on its phonological environment, assimilating voicing of the previous segment or inserting a schwa when following an alveolar stop: as /əd/ in...
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