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see grammargrammar,
description of the structure of a language, consisting of the sounds (see phonology); the meaningful combinations of these sounds into words or parts of words, called morphemes; and the arrangement of the morphemes into phrases and sentences, called syntax.
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the minimal meaningful part of an utterance and one of the basic units of a language system. The characteristics of morphemes are meaningfulness—morphemes convey lexical or grammatical meaning; repeatability—morphemes retain the same (or similar) meaning and the same (or similar) form when they appear in different contexts; and nonreducibility— morphemes cannot be further divided into parts having the same characteristics. The morpheme is also defined as the smallest meaningful part of a word and as a class of morphs possessing specific characteristics.

The detection of a morpheme begins with the division of utterances in a language into morphs; then, morphs similar in content and form and found in complementary or noncontrastive distribution (not causing differences of meaning) are combined into a single morpheme. For example, the Russian morpheme drug, “friend,” has the morphs drug~druzh~druz’ This level of analysis, which establishes the allomorphs of a single morpheme, is called identification. Identification is followed by the classification of the morpheme. According to their position in the language system, morphemes are divided into free morphemes capable of behaving as independent words, such as English day, German Tag, and Russian tikh; bound morphemes that occur only as part of a word, such as the plural formant -s in English days, or the adjectival ending -ii in Russian tikhii, “quiet“); and relatively bound morphemes that may occur in both free and bound form, such as Russian do, used as preposition and as prefix, in doletef do reki, “to fly up to the river.”

Morphemes are divided by function into auxiliary (affixal) and nonauxiliary (radical), of which the former are usually bound and the latter free. As a rule, the number of affixal morphemes is limited to a few dozen, while the number of radical morphemes is unlimited. Affixal morphemes are divided according to types of meaning conveyed, into derivational (word-forming), relational (word-altering, or inflectional), and relational-derivational (form-creating). The last two categories are often combined under the term “word-altering.”

Morphemes may convey meaning not only by their phonological presence in a given word but also by their absence (zero ending, zero allomorph). For example, the Russian word stol, “table,” is construed as nominative singular since it lacks the morphemic plural marker -y (Russian stoly, “tables“) as well as any relational morphemes indicating oblique case (the sign for zero ending is -#, as in stol[-#]). Most linguists regard the morpheme as a unit that correlates linguistic expression with linguistic content, that is, as a two-sided semiotic unit. Less often, the morpheme is regarded as the smallest unit of linguistic expression.


References in periodicals archive ?
3 Task generative use of morphemes (Guimaraes, 2005): This task requires the children to orally perform inflexion of verb forms presented in the context of two or three sentences.
Layer II morphemes attach to the base augmented by the Layer I marker.
This means that lexemes refer to something in the real world, whereas morphemes refer exclusively to universally available closed class grammatical categories (such as Tense, Aspect, and Number) and may consist of independent phonemic strings, affixes, infixes, changes in accent or tone, or even predictable omissions (zero morphemes).
While it could be argued that BARSTOOL and TOOLBARS share the same morpheme, BAR, the credentials for MENTALLY TALLYMEN appear to be impeccable.
The morpheme <ka-> occurs in reflexive or reciprocal conjugations.
These morphotactic rules explain that which classes of morphemes can follow other classes.
A MANOVA indicated that inservice teachers outperformed preservice teachers on counting phonemes and morphemes, and on identifying instructional activities, [F.
The first is that, although evidence supporting the contrastive nature of the morphemes under analysis have been furnished for -a, -e and -u, no instances of morphological contrast have been found of the type [?
The new value of eventuality function [alpha] chiefly depends on the lexical items retrieved from the interpreter's internal mental lexicon as a result of the perception and recognition of the words / morphemes of the interpreter's mother tongue in discourse d.
14) It is thus somewhat similar to the phenomenon of reduction described as part of the process of grammaticalization, with the difference that it cannot be described as the reduction of particular words or morphemes.
It has already been pointed out by Taljard and Bosch (2005) that POS-tagging in Northern Sotho results in hybrid annotations, in which both morphemes and lexemes are tagged, without distinguishing between them.