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



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.


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A branch of biology that deals with structure and form of an organism at any stage of its life history.
References in periodicals archive ?
Another important factor to take into account when examining correlation data, is the experience of the morphologists examining the blood films.
For morphologists, 'reading' the material form of the city is the key to revealing its latent, underlying logic; the reading of coherent patterns in space is coupled with the possibility of identifying regularities in temporal transformation, i.e.
He does give us direct illustrations of the progressionism of some evolutionary morphologists. And anyhow the issue is more relevant to the nineteenth- than the twentieth-century discussions, back when morphological approaches to evolution were more prominent.
In On Growth and Form Thompson wanted to define the mathematical and geometrical forms of organisms that grow in "scale" according to their local "field of action."(42) Notice how Thompson's definition of form varies from the extreme reductionism of Spencer, who approvingly quoted a morphologist's logic, written in 1858:
Sacks hands the man an extravagant, fresh red rose: He took it like a botanist or morphologist given a specimen, not like a person given a flower.
This view challenges an old notion of how hummingbirds sip--that nectar flows up open grooves in the tongue the way water rises inside thin capillary tubes, says Alejandro Rico-Guevara, a functional morphologist at the University of Connecticut in Storrs.
To find out, Tom Geerinckx, an evolutionary morphologist at Ghent University in Belgium, extracted teeth from five species of scraping suckermouth catfish and analysed their composition and microstructure.
All of these values constitute less complex grammatical environment, both according to the markedness criteria of the Prague School and the serevalues of Natural Morphologist. The results are also consistent with the principles that govern the process of morphologization in Creole languages.
It looks as if the paleo-anthropologist got lucky, since at the level of the subdisciplines being used, the geneticist denies that the morphology has anything to do essentially with the natural kinds involved, and vice versa for the morphologist. Indeed, for Putnam, they exclude the essential relevance of each others' work.
I loved to garden with my mother, I keep coming back to investigations of the life and work of the plant morphologist Agnes Arber (Flannery, 2005), and for the past two years I've been taking courses in botanical illustration at the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG).
Police raided four homes in Lurgan's Kilwilkee Estate and removed dozens of pairs of shoes, boots and slippers, then called on the foot morphologist for help.
The conclusive diagnosis of any of the chronic leukemias requires a skilled morphologist, but early consideration of these disorders and prompt referral can result not only in more efficient patient management, but also in considerable cost savings to the laboratory and hospital.