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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 ?
SBJ say-Q AFF=1SG.SBJ say=VC1 'what did you say?' 'I say' (36) /w/ coda is reassigned as syllable onset when followed by /-an[??] / tii ?a[??]wanna /tii[??] ?aw[??]-an[??] = na / 1SG say-NEG=VC2 'I do not say' The strongest counterevidence to my above conclusion is that when the future suffix /-sa/and a subject clitic are added to a verb root ending in a diphthong, the morphophonemic processes which take place seem to treat that coda like a vowel.
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.
The derivations provide the exact details of the semantic conditions under which the affixes are provided to the base and the morphophonemic changes required.
Within this group, Samoan is considered part of Samoic Outlier, coordinate with Eastern Polynesian, because it has a set of morphological and morphophonemic features that are exclusive of Tongic and Eastern Polynesian (Pawley 1966).
The traditional paradigm is in the first instance the grid of the word forms assumed by an exemplary or citation member of a particular morphophonemic class.
This can be expressed by the following morphophonemic rule:
The Introduction includes a list of sources, the guides to spelling, the order of entries and sub-entries, principles of enumeration, punctuation marks, morphophonemic changes between base words ("roots") and derived forms and the prefixes and suffix ka, and dialect variations.
(14) nearness morph furtherness morph changes huyu 'this' + o huyo (a - wa)s 'that' u is embedded hawa 'these' + o hao (a - wa)p 'those' wa is embedded hii 'this' + o hiyo (u - i)p 'that' y replaces last -i hiki 'this' + o hicho (k - vi)s 'that' ch replaces -ki hivi 'these' + o hivyo (ki - vi)p 'those' y replaces -i In the above examples, two morphophonemic changes have taken place - phoneme embedment and phoneme dissimilation.
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.
(2.) 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.
Performance at the high spelling acquisition level is characterized by substitution errors for vowels and morphophonemic endings like the past tense -ed.