is a sub-field of linguistics
, concentrating on study of the structure and formation of word
are, linguistically, units of expression
in a language that have meaning to speakers of that language
. So. Consider the following words in English: blood, lifeblood, blood-red, bloody, and bloodiness.
No one would argue that these are not different words, meaning very different things; yet, they can all be broken down and shown to have a common element
Likewise, if one were to look at all these words, they have some meaning associated with that common element.
However, take blood
Although these share a common grouping of letters
they have no meaningful association
with each other. Nor do blood
which share an initial
Neither the group of letters blo
nor the syllable bluh
have any meaning in English as a morpheme
are the smallest meaningful
units into which words in English can be broken down and shown to have either meaning or grammatical function
. They may refer to the real world and have inherent meaning
in the example above, but they also include affixes
es, and infix
es (sounds inserted into the middle of a word) -- and rules for the creation of words such as reduplication
, a phenomenon found in some languages such as Tagalog
which consists of duplicating
some syllable of the stem morpheme
to create an inflected word. In Tagalog, the first syllable of the verb stem is reduplicated to create the present tense; reduplication and similar rules are, therefore, part of the study of morphology and themselves morphemes. Morphemes do not necessarily have to be linked to a sound, as in the example of reduplication, but often are, as is the case with affixes.
A word, therefore, morphologically, is a construction of one or more morphemes.
Morphemes can be free
. A free morpheme
, termed a lexeme in certain circles of linguistical study, is one that can occur on its own, as a unique and meaningful word. A bound morpheme
, however, can only occur as part of a word. Affixes are exclusively bound morphemes. Affixes also have two categories: derivational
, which change the meaning of the word and the way it functions in a sentence, and inflectional
, which change only the meaning and not the lexical category
, or part of speech.
is the phenomenon that occurs when a morpheme changes sound but not meaning. Allomorphy is characteristic of morphophonemics
, the area in which morphology and phonology
, the study of sounds and how they interact, overlap. The prefixes in imperfect
, irregular, illicit,
: they sound similar but not the same and they mean the same thing, a negation
. However, beware: the -ly
are not allomorphs: they are the same morpheme. Morphology is driven by sound, not the peculiarities of English spelling
*coughs* 2004.12.31@20:40 fnordian says re: morphology, I believe il/ir- and in- are two different morphemes, as one occurs in level 1 morphology and the other in level 2. the underlying representation for in- is In and it undergoes homorganic nasal assimilation to become im, etc., but there is no rule that could make in- into il-.
I sit corrected. I must note, then, one's Latin teacher's information (even if "Latin" and "Linguistics" both start with "L") is not to be necessarily relied upon in other fields... especially not without applying common sense.