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30. 11. 2006 Morphology - Word construction


30. 11. 2006 Morphology – Word construction

Revision: Basic concepts in morphology

Grammatical morphemes ( affixes or free morphemes, fixed number)

  • cats ( unvoiced)

  • dogs ( voiced)

  • horses ( voiced)

  • sheep_

  • oxen

  • men, women ( vowel change)

Lexical morphemes

  • free morphemes

  • can be found in the dictionary

  • you can invent new ones ( web + blog = weblog)


  • nouns combined with nouns/ adjectives, ...

  • fire engine -> what kind of engine

  • endocentric compound

  • red skin -> Indian, NOT what kind of skin BUT who has that kind of skin


  • English words consist of

  • a stem

  • an inflection

A stem

An inflection

  • Has a lexical meaning

  • Has a grammatical meaning

  • relates a word to its syntactic context

  • subject verb agreement ( person, case, number)

  • relates a word to its semantic context

  • tense, time, quantity, speaker addressee

  • eg. table, chair, ...

  • eg. cats, dogs, children, ...

Inflections of English words



  • morpheme

  • a morpheme is the smallest linguistic unit that has semantic meaning.

  • lexical morpheme

  • Derivational morphemes can be added to a word to create (derive) another word: the addition of "-ness" to "happy," for example, to give "happiness."

  • grammatical morpheme

  • Inflectional morphemes modify a word's tense, number, aspect, and so on. (as in the dog morpheme if written with the plural marker morpheme s becomes dogs).

  • Stem

  • the combination of the basic form of a word (called the root) plus any derivational morphemes, but excluding inflectional elements

  • derived stem

  • stem + affix

  • compound stem

  • stem + another stem

What is the difference between inflection and derivation?

  • Inflection : the modification or marking of a word (or more precisely lexeme) to reflect grammatical (that is, relational) information, such as gender, tense, number or person.

  • derivation: the process of creating new lexemes from other lexemes, for example, by adding a derivational affix. It is a kind of word formation.

What is the difference between derivation and


  • Derivation

  • compounding: A compound is a word (lexeme) that consists of more than one free morpheme.

Collect 5 longish words and

  • divide them into morphemes

  • show construction of a word from their stems as tree diagrammes


  • mis – treat – ment

  • treat -> mistreat -> mistreatment


  • anti – lock – brake – ing – system

  • lock -> antilock

  • brake -> braking

7.1.07 15:17

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