morpheme


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morpheme:

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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Morpheme

 

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.

E. S. KUBRIAKOVA

References in periodicals archive ?
Old English Deverbal Substantives Derived by Means of a Zero Morpheme. Tubingen: Eberhard-Karls-Universitat.
Especially, deciding the status of a number of morphemes as being prefixes or roots proved to be difficult.
A disallowed rule indicates that a morpheme cannot follow a root or another suffix.
The i of the plural morpheme =it= has elided and we have the unexpected (and ad hoc) presence of a transitive =u=.
Statistical information is applied to morpheme combination with additionally imposed constraints [17].
Diachronic reasons underlie this difference, but synchronic explanations may be stated: i) position of the suffix (--vel if it is the last morpheme of the word (permeavel 'permeable'), excluding inflection;--bil--if it is not the last derivational morpheme of the word (permeabilidade 'permeability')); and ii) activity or inactivity of the suffix to the word formation pattern (--vel if it is active, that is, if the affix plays a role in the formation of the word;--bil--if it is inactive, that is, if the affix does not work on the morphological pattern that constructs the word).
-lo or -lo as the case may be (negative morpheme) e.g.
It is also irregular as a form of imperative, since it lacks the marker =q, otherwise an obligatory morpheme of the imperative, although there are traces of it in dialects (Hakulinen 1941 : 226).
I contend this because long consonants are only ever found at a morpheme boundary intersecting a consonant cluster.
Volks "of the people" (genitive) Lied "song" be- modifying prefx to arbeiten, changing "to fashion" into "refashion," "adapt," "arrange," "revise" arbeit(en) "to work," "to make," "to fashion" -ung noun suffix (although Arbeit is already) a noun, the suffix distinguishes the noun from the verb arbeiten- en pluralizing suffix A "root stem"--the term most often encountered in lyric diction--is identical to a noun or verb morpheme, to which prefxes and suffixes are typically agglutinated.
Individual fMRI activation in orthographic mapping and morpheme mapping after orthographic or morphological spelling treatment in child dyslexics.
The teacher thinks aloud, making comments such as, 'The word catchment is made up of a free morpheme (catch) and a bound morpheme (ment)'.