Phonology and Morphology

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  • Topic: Phonology, Phoneme, Morpheme
  • Pages : 5 (1431 words )
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  • Published : February 24, 2013
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Phonology and Morphology correlate with each other lexically and grammatically. Phonology is essentially the description of the systems and patterns of speech sounds in a language. Morphology is the study of words in a language. The interplay between the two categories has a mutual effect in the process of word formation. The relationship between the two systems can be attributed to Morphophonemics which is a branch of Linguistics that delves into the interaction between morphological and phonological components of a language. The phonological and morphological operations embedded into this field of linguistics lay emphasis on the sound changes that take place in morphemes when they coin words. In fact the significance of morphophonemic structure springs from a word’s pronunciation which can mainly be ascribed to morphological factors. But morphophonemic constituent of a word is discussed in relation to two spheres, i.e. morphemic boundaries within the confines of phonemic structure. Apparently the changes that morphemes undergo in the values of phonological features should be taken into account within the perspective of word formation. The word formation process which marks the combination of morphemes under the influence of phonology is rule governed and has a considerable impact on many facets of morphophonemic manifestations. Further these rules may pave the way to have access to a morphophonemic analysis through which we seek to establish a connection between data and theory. The theory underlying this phenomenon states that morphemes are stored in the lexicon in an invariant phonemic form. They are clasped together by morphological and syntactic rules. Thereupon the morphemes recorded in the speaker’s lexicon in a given environment are converted by rules into a surface form. These surface forms can be viewed in terms of linguistic data based on a system of underlying units called morphophonemes. The intersection of morphology and phonology gives rise to the term “morphophoneme” and it denotes the phonological variations in morphemes. These phonological variations form phonologically conditioned allomorphs which are the members or the variants of a morpheme. On the other hand it derives the empirical generalization that allomorph selection is always opaque with phonology, conditioned by the competing allomorphs. Nonetheless the interface between phonology and morphology is such convincing that it yields a concatenation of words. Morphophonemic rules have the form of phonemic rules restricted to a particular morphological environment. Within these rules we can find each morpheme that alternates through which we locate all of its allomorphs. All these allomorphs possess particular segments which undergo changes. Moreover these allomorphs are derived from a single underlying representation by general phonological rules. So it is patent that a language’s morphophonological structure is generally described with a series of rules which ideally can predict every morphophonological alternation that takes place in the language. For example the plural morpheme written as “-s” or “-es” which represent three allomorphs /s/, /z/ and /iz/ gives way to a morphophonological alternation in English language. When two or more instances of a given morpheme occur with different shapes they are termed as “allomorphs”. The occurrence of the above three allomorphs in English is predictable in terms of the phonological ending of the base form of the noun. This kind of predictability is called phonological conditioning. The phonological realization of the plural morpheme or the morpheme alternants or the allomorphs is categorized according to their manner of articulation and voicing aspect. The rules regarding the formation of plurals are as follows. /s/occurs after the singular forms of nouns ending in voiceless consonants except the sibilants and affricates. Examples: cat-/s/, map-/s/, rack-/s/

/z/occurs after the singular forms of...
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