morphology

(redirected from morphological)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.
Related to morphological: Morphological analysis

morphology

the branch of biology concerned with the form and structure of organisms

Morphology

 

that part of the system of a natural language dealing with the structure of its word forms; the branch of linguistics that studies this part of a language system.

As a linguistic discipline, morphology includes two main divisions: the study of word formation (derivation) and the study of word inflection (the study of paradigms). Morphology often also includes morphophonemics. General, or theoretical, morphology is distinguished from descriptive morphology, the study of the morphology of specific languages. The basic morphological unit is the morph, the minimal segmental sign of a natural language, that is, a sign represented by a chain of phonemes and not replaceable by other signs; in general, a morph is part of a word form that in turn may comprise one or several morphs. Every morph represents a specific morpheme.

The task of general morphology consists in solving four basic problems. First is the enumeration and study of the nonradical meanings expressed within word forms in different languages and the development of a theory of such meanings, known as morphological meanings. Morphological meanings (and their corresponding categories) are divided, on the one hand, into semantic and syntactic (determined by syntactic relations in the sentence), and, on the other hand, into word-forming and word-altering, or word-inflecting. For example, word-forming semantic meanings include diminutivization (Russian nos, “nose,” nosik, “little nose“) and “place where” (chitat’ “to read,” chitaVnia, “reading room“). Word-forming syntactic meanings include verbal nouns (perestraivat’ “to rebuild,” perestroika, “rebuilding“) and adjectives derived from nouns (nos, “nose,” nosovoi, “nasal“). Word-altering semantic meanings include number in nouns (nos, “nose,” nosy, “noses“) and tense and aspect in verbs (chitaet, “is reading,” chital, “was reading,” odevalsia, “was getting dressed, odelsia, “got dressed“). Word-altering syntactic meanings include gender, number, and case in adjectives.

The second task is the enumeration and study of the means employed in different languages to express various meanings within word forms and the development of the theory of these means, called morphological means. Five main classes of morphological means are known. They are divided into segmental, that is, bound to morphs (see below: a-d), and suprasegmental, that is, bound only to prosodic morphological units (see below: e):

(a) compounding, including root-, stem-, and word-compounding (Russian blok-skhema, “flow-chart,” and zheltoburyi, “yellowish-brown“; French

(b) affixation, including prefixation (Russian posiVnee, “a little stronger“), postfixation (Russian chita-tel’, “reader,” nos-y, “noses“), infixation (Latin vi-ci, “I conquered,” vi-nco, “I conquer“), interfixation (Russian beton-o-meshalka, “concrete mixer“), circumfixation (German ge-sag-t, “said“, from sagen, “to say“), and transfixation (Arabic r-a-sm, “drawing,” r-u-s-u-m, “drawings“);

(c) modification (alteration of the signifier [signifiant] of a morph), including alternation (English “tooth“—“teeth“) and reduplication (Indonesian karangan, “article,” karangan-karangan, “articles“);

(d) conversion (alteration of the syntax of a morph), as in English “to cook” and “the cook“;

(e) suprafixation (expression of meaning by a particular prosodic phenomenon, such as tone or stress).

The third task is the enumeration and study of the possible formal and semantic relationships between word forms or their parts, such as synonyms and homonyms (Russian brak, “marriage,” and brak, “waste,” “spoilage“), and the study of word formation (Russian nos, “nose,” nosik, “little nose“; spa-t’, “to sleep,” spa-l’nia, “bedroom“).

Fourth is the development of a general theory of morphological models, to be created from the study of individual morphological systems. This general theory would include the construction of a system of concepts, the establishment of criteria for the morphological divisibility of word forms, and the determination of the types of morphological laws.

The task of specialized [descriptive] morphology is to create, on thebasis of general morphological principles, the morphological model of a given language. The model should reflect the rules and patterns existing in the minds of the speakers of the language, and should represent a system of rules providing the correlation between the signifier of any word form and its specialized abstract description, or deep-morphological representation.

REFERENCES

Reformatskii, A. A. Vvedenie v iazykoznanie, 4th edition. Moscow, 1967.
Zalizniak, A. A. Russkoe imennoe slovoizmenenie. Moscow, 1967.
Bloomfield, L. lazyk. Moscow, 1968. (Translated from English.)
Es’kova, N. A., I. A. Mel’chuk, and V. Z. Sannikov. Formal’naia model’ russkoi morfologii. Vol. 1, part 1: Formoobrazovanie sushchestviteVnykh i prilagaternykh. Moscow, 1971.
Vinogradov, V. V. Russkii iazyk: Grammaticheskoe uchenie o slove. Moscow, 1972.
Obshchee iazykoznanie: Vnutrenniaia struktura iazyka. Moscow, 1972.
Kubriakova, E. S. Osnovy morfologicheskogo analiza. Moscow, 1974.
Hockett, C. F. A Course in Modern Linguistics. New York, 1959.
Nida, E. Morphology: The Descriptive Analysis of Words, 2nd ed. Ann Arbor, 1965.
Harris, Z. S. Structural Linguistics. Chicago-London, 1963.

I. A. MEL’CHUK

morphology

[mȯr′fäl·ə·jē]
(biology)
A branch of biology that deals with structure and form of an organism at any stage of its life history.
References in periodicals archive ?
To foster precision in spelling, children should be explicitly taught to integrate phonological, orthographic and morphological strategies.
Morphological improvement, biological characters production and modification of the accumulation level of biologically active agents are the most important goals of any medicinal plant breeding program.
Observation of the morphological profile of goalball players, the influence of morphological characteristics on certain playing positions and achieved results are not sufficiently studied.
These tumors have similar morphological and few immunohistochemical features, including clinical presentation and radiological appearance but with different prognosis and treatment10,11.
The grouping of genotypes in two dandrograms constructed on the basis of RAPD data and morphological data did not reveal any relationship with each other.
These morphological changes occur under the influence of various hormones.
Morphological and bio-chemical description of mango is difficult and has never been addressed properly.
This work intends to expose the morphological processes available within this Igbo language group in comparison with some universal morphological processes as discussed in the handout.
The Study of Morphological, Syntactic, and Semantic Errors Made by Native Speakers of Persian and English Children Learning English"
From literature it is known that injection molding conditions strongly affect the morphological structure of semicrystalline thermoplastics [3, 4], The polymer melt is rapidly cooled down when it hits the mold surface and a frozen-in edge layer is built.
Students' overall median scores in the phonological subscale measure (score out of 31), the orthographic measure (score out of 29) and the morphological measure (score out of 41) offer some preliminary insights and support the proposal of a linguistic inquiry framework for the teaching of spelling.