Morphology: Affix and Inflectional Morphemes

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  • Topic: Morpheme, Inflection, Affix
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University of Algiers
Department of English
Magister Ling-did
Descriptive Linguistics

Presentation on

Prepared by: Supervised by: Mohamed Al-Elyani Dr. Hamitouch

Academic Year: 2010/2011

I. Introduction:
II. Defining the key concepts:
II.1 Morphology
II.2 Morphemes
III. Types of Morphemes
III.1 Lexical and Functional morphemes
III.2 Derivational and inflectional morphemes
IV. Morphological description
V. Problems in morphological description
VI. Conclusion
VII. References:

According to George Yule, morphology means '' The study of forms. It investigates basic forms in language''. This terms was originally used in biology, but since the middle of nineteenth century, has also been used to describe the type of identification, analysis and description of the structure of morphemes and other units of meaning in a language like words, affixes, and parts of speech, intonation, stress, implied context. Morphemes

We do not actually have to go to other languages to discover that ''word forms'' may consist of a number of elements. We can recognize that English word forms such as talks, talker, talked and talking consist of one element talk, and a number of other elements such as –s, -er, -ed and –ing. All these elements are described as morphemes. What is morpheme?

Morpheme is a minimal unit of meaning or grammatical function. Units of grammatical function include forms used to indicate past tense or plural, for example. As Geoffery Finch (1998) puts it :
"Morphemes are the smallest units of meaning, and the smallest units of grammatical analysis in the language. It's important not to confuse them with syllables, which are units of sound, and essentially meaningless." Geoffery Finch (1998: 183) In the sentence The police reopened the investigation, the word reopened consist of three morphemes. One minimal unit of meaning is open, another minimal unit of meaning is re- and a minimal unit of grammatical function is -ed. Another example is tourists also contains three morphemes; tour, ist and -s.

From these examples, we can make a broad distinction between two types of morphemes. There are free morphemes, which stand by themselves as single words, for example, open and tour. There are also bound morphemes, which are those forms that cannot normally stand alone and are typically attached to another form, exemplified as re-, -ed, -s. Such as affixes. So, we can say that all affixes (prefixes and suffixes)in English are bound morphemes. The free morphemes can generally be identified as the set of separate English word forms such as basic nouns, adjectives, verbs , etc. When they are used with bound morphemes attached, the basic word forms are technically known as stems. For example: undressed , carelessness. un- dress -ed care -less -ness prefix stem suffix stem suffix suffix (bound) (free) (bound) (free) (bound) (bound) There are a number of English words in which the element treated as the stem is not, in fact, a free morpheme. In words such as receive, reduce and repeat, we can identify the bound morpheme re- at the beginning, but the elements -ceive, -duce and –peat are not separate word forms and hence cannot be free morphemes. These types of forms are sometimes described as ''bound stems'' to keep distinct from ''free stems'' such as dress and care. Lexical and Functional morphemes

Free morphemes are called lexical morphemes which are set of ordinary nouns, adjectives and...
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