The Importance of Morphemic Analysis in English Learning

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  • Topic: Morpheme, Bound morpheme, Morphology
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  • Published : July 25, 2011
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In linguistics, a morpheme is the smallest component of a word, or other linguistic unit, that has semantic meaning. The term is used as part of the branch of linguistics known as morphology (linguistics). A morpheme is composed by phoneme(s) (the smallest linguistically distinctive units of sound) in spoken language, and by grapheme(s) (the smallest units of written language) in written language. The concept of word and morpheme are different: a morpheme may or may not stand alone. One or several morphemes compose a word. A morpheme is free if it can stand alone (ex: "lie", "cake"), or bound if it is used exclusively alongside a free morpheme (ex: "im" in impossible). Its actual phonetic representation is the morph, with the different morphs ("in-", "im-") representing the same morpheme being grouped as its allomorphs. English example:

The word "unbreakable" has three morphemes: "un-", a bound morpheme; "break", a free morpheme; and "-able", a bound morpheme. "un-" is also a prefix, "-able" is a suffix. Both "un-" and "-able" are affixes. The morpheme plural-s has the morph "-s", /s/, in cats (/kæts/), but "-es", /ɨz/, in dishes (/dɪʃɨz/), and even the voiced "-s", /z/, in dogs (/dɒɡz/). "-s". These are allomorphs. Whether or not a word is divided on all available morphemes is debatable. Some morphologists decompose the words completely as it was formed etymologically while others only decompose what there is evidence to decompose in the modern use of the word. The word "governmental" has either three morphemes: "govern," a free morpheme: "ment", a bound morpheme; and "-al", a bound morpheme. Or, depending on the syntactic framework, it has two morphemes: "government" and "-al." The word "predict" has either two morphemes: "pre-" a bound morpheme", and "dict" a bound morpheme, or one morpheme: "predict" a free morpheme. |Contents | |[hide] | |1 Types of morphemes | |1.1 Other variants | |2 Morphological analysis | |3 Changing definitions of Morpheme | |4 See also | |5 References | |6 External links |

Types of morphemes
• Free morphemes, like town and dog, can appear with other lexemes (as in town hall or dog house) or they can stand alone, i.e., "free". • Bound morphemes like "un-" appear only together with other morphemes to form a lexeme. Bound morphemes in general tend to be prefixes and suffixes. Unproductive, non-affix morphemes that exist only in bound form are known as "cranberry" morphemes, from the "cran" in that very word. • Derivational morphemes can be added to a word to create (derive) another word: the addition of "-ness" to "happy," for example, to give "happiness." They carry semantic information. • Inflectional morphemes modify a word's tense, number, aspect, and so on, without deriving a new word or a word in a new grammatical category (as in the "dog" morpheme if written with the plural marker morpheme "-s" becomes "dogs"). They carry grammatical information. • Allomorphs are variants of a morpheme, e.g., the plural marker in English is sometimes realized as /-z/, /-s/ or /-ɨz/ Other variants

• Null morpheme
• Root morpheme
• Word stem
Morphological analysis
In natural language processing for Japanese, Chinese and other languages, morphological analysis is a process of segmenting a given sentence into a row of morphemes. It is closely related to Part-of-speech tagging, but word segmentation is required...
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