Morphology: Grammatical Number and Word

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  • Topic: Grammatical number, Affix, Inflection
  • Pages : 5 (1575 words )
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  • Published : April 1, 2013
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Morphology does contribute in the Teaching and Learning process. The students are tending to understand how words are formed, by combining prefixes, suffixes and roots. They too tend to have larger vocabularies and better reading comprehension. Besides that, it helps students to identify the right root words, because the morphemes are squeezed together and often changed dramatically in the process of word formation. Moreover, it also teaches students to recognise the prefix and suffix in a complex words using the better principles. Morphology literally means the study of shape. An awareness of morphology begins in early childhood through adolescence. While younger children learn to add an "s" in order to make a word plural, older child may decipher the meaning of words by identifying their common roots with other words. A study shows that the students who take unfamiliar words and break them down into smaller parts, or morphemes, have increased success in deciphering unfamiliar vocabulary. Morphology should be taught as a distinct component of a vocabulary improvement program throughout the upper elementary years. Students also need to understand the use of prefixes, suffixes, and roots, and how words get transformed. We looked to see if morphological awareness was predictive of comprehension ability over and above just having a good vocabulary. When we found that it was, the next question was, how do we turn this into an instructional strategy? How do we get teachers keyed into working with kids to learn the roots of words?

Morphology should be taught as a cognitive strategy to be learned. Students also need to understand the use of prefixes, suffixes, and roots, and how words get transformed. In order to break a word down into morphemes, students must complete the following four steps: 1) Recognize that they don't know the word.

2) Analyze the word for recognizable morphemes, both in the roots and suffixes. 3) Think of a possible meaning based upon the parts of the word. 4) Check the meaning of the word against the context.

Both Inflectional and Derivational Morphemes are derived from Bound Morphemes. Inflectional morphemes are suffixes that provide grammatical function. It does not change either the root’s class of words or the meaning of the word. Example of words: worked, cats, walking, speaks, John's, faster, slowest. The word ‘books’, for example, derives from the root BOOK added with a suffix –s. Both ‘book’ and ‘books’ are NOUN. The meaning is still same. The suffix –s only indicates the plural form. In this case, the suffix -s is an inflectional. Another example of inflectional morphemes are in the suffix for regular verbs in the past and past participle, -ed. Example, the word ‘pleased’, derives from the root word PLEASE added with the suffix -ed. In the past simple tense, go, rather than being *goed, is went; the comparative form of good is better, not *gooder. This phenomenon is called suppletion. It is bound to and will have predictable meaning for all such words. In most languages, inflectional morphology marks relations such as person, number, case, gender, possession, tense, aspect and mood, serving as essential grammatical glue holding the relationships of construction together. Inflectional morphemes modify a verb's tense or a noun's number without affecting the word's meaning or class. Whereas derivational morphemes are affixes (prefixes/suffixes) that are added to words to form new words. Example of words: Unhappiness, unintentional, decaffeinate, examination, trustful, greediness, defrost, dishonest. The word ‘unhappy’ derives from the root HAPPY added with a prefix un-. Both ‘happy’ and ‘unhappy’ are adjectives. The meaning, however, is totally different. ‘I am unhappy’ is totally different from ‘I am happy’. In this case, the prefix un- is called derivational morphemes. Derivational morphemes when combined with a root, change either the semantic meaning or part of speech of the affected...
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