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(also morphophonology), the branch of linguistics that studies the morphological use of phonological means; in the narrower sense, the field of word phonology connected with the sound structure of a morpheme and the changes that a morpheme undergoes when it combines with other morphemes.

Morphophonemics emerged as a separate discipline in the late 1920’s, but its origins are associated with J. A. Baudouin de Courtenay, who demonstrated the interaction of phonetics and grammar in sound alternations and advanced the hypothesis that the phoneme was “the mobile component of a morpheme and the sign of a particular morphological category.”

N. S. Trubetskoi, the founder of morphophonemics, formulated the discipline’s three main tasks: to establish the distinguishing phonological features of morphemes of different classes (for example, inflexions, as distinct from roots or suffixes); to formulate rules for transforming morphemes in morphemic combinations; and to create a theory of morphological sound alternation. Since morphophonemics includes the study of regularities in the occurrence of variant morphs of a single morpheme—regularities dependent on a morpheme’s phonemic composition and, at the same time, its morphological environment—some scholars place morphophonemics under phonology (representatives of transformational and generative grammars), other scholars place it under morphology (the French linguistic school), and still others regard it as the connecting link between phonology and grammar.

Morphophonemic characteristics are considered to include those that are related to the alterations of the morphemes when they are arranged in words (for example, in Russian, between glukhoi, “secluded,” and glush’, “backwoods,” and dikii, “wild,” and dich’ “wild game”). Morphophonemic characteristics may include alternations, the overlap and truncation of morphemes, stress shifts, and so on. Recognizing them is important for describing the morphological structure of a word, for determining the specific nature of the grammatical structure of a language (especially in constructing paradigms and word-formation series), and for comparing languages according to their typology.


Trubetskoi, N. S. “Nekotorye soobrazheniia otnositel’no morfonologii.” In Prazhskii lingvisticheskii kruzhok. Moscow, 1967.
Reformatskii, A. A. “O sootnoshenii fonetiki i grammatiki (morfologii).” In Voprosy grammaticheskogo stroia. Moscow, 1955.
Makaev, E. A., and E. S. Kubriakova. “O statuse morfonologii i edinitsakh ee opisaniia.” In Edinitsy raznykh urovnei grammaticheskogo stroia iazyka i ikh vzaimodeistvie. Moscow, 1969.
Martinet, A. “De la Morphonologie.” La Linguistique, 1965, no. 1.
Kurytowicz, J. “Phonologic und Morphonologie.” In Phonologic der Gegenwart, vol. 14. Graz-Vienna, 1967.
Stankiewicz, E. “The Hierarchization of Features and of Grammatical Functions in Morphophonology.” In Phonologic der Gegenwart, vol. 14. Graz-Vienna, 1967.
Akhmanova, O. Phonology, Morphonology, Morphology. The Hague-Paris, 1971.
References in periodicals archive ?
Most of the NIH words are loan nouns whose morphophonemic structure deviated from the regularly built SH words which are typically formed through either root and pattern combination, or through stem and suffix.
Therefore, no morphophonemic unit can be accepted as meaning-bearing unit and thus no padartha can be obtained from the so called padas (saktam padam) and no sabdabodha of the technical nature can be achieved.
Standard English spelling is not a failed phonemic system but instead a relatively consistent morphophonemic system.
Given that Bunun does not have phonemic long vowels, the data (22) must involve a vowel lengthening rather than shortening rule, based on the morphophonemic alternations shown.
In particular, alternations between umlauted and non-umiauted vowels are involved in several morphophonemic processes, such as in past tense formation, and as Cain noted (2000: 195-96), vowels other than *a are affected in Sinhala but not in Dhivehi.
It should be pointed out, however, that even in the midst of the more orthodox generative view there were generative linguists, such as Schane (1968a, 1971) and Kiparsky (1982) who 'reverted' to a more traditional 'autonomous' view of the phoneme, not so much in the sense of autonomy from mental reality (as Trubetzkoy and Jakobson preferred) but in the Chomskyan polemic sense of not necessarily related to morphophonemic alternations, and derivable solely by distributional facts.
errors may result from a mismatch in morphophonemic correspondence, from inserting the word in the wrong grammatical slot or failing to locate grammatical dependencies, from inaccurate first-language transfer and from intralingual confusion, that is, as a result of failing to distinguish appropriately between and among lexical items in the target language.
Performance at the high spelling acquisition level is characterized by substitution errors for vowels and morphophonemic endings like the past tense -ed.
There are only a few morphophonemic rules: underlying forms of morphemes virtually always surface directly, except for the optional reduction of-yellingto -lng- mentioned above, the reduction of e and i to u in some unstressed positions, and the conversion of sequences of identical stops into long stops within some compounds.
Perhaps Sanskritists as well as Pali scholars have already more than enough to do in spelling out for us the intricacies of morphological paradigms and morphophonemic rules.
They form a separate group of verbs in the sense that they never showed the morphophonemic alternations induced by Verner's Law.
1]kbal in Yucatec (/V/ represents a morphophonemic segment the realization of which depends on the root vowel; /[V.