Morphology

Topics: Morpheme, Word, Inflection Pages: 14 (1596 words) Published: March 20, 2014
Morphology

‘If language was just a random collection of words,

you couldn’t acquire it, you couldn’t learn it and you’d be imprisoned in the here and now because you
couldn’t talk about what was, what might be and
what will be…’ You couldn’t construct complete and
coherent texts….you’d be in a ‘me Tarzan – you
Jane’ situation, swinging from the wordtrees, pointing
at things with little labels on them to try and make
your partner understand.’

The myths of grammar
(Crystal 2004)
•The myth of difficulty
Mastering grammar requires long time and the acquisition
of technical terminology
•The myth of distance
Grammar is for a restricted number of people, the
grammarians
•The myth of simplicity
People identify simplicity of a language with the small
number of word-endings

Knowing grammar
is an unconscious process:
recognize errors
correct errors
put words together
Knowing about grammar
is a conscious process:

Crystal 2004

describe rules
describe errors
use grammar words

What is Grammar
‘That branch of the description of
languages which accounts for the way
in which words combine to form
sentences’ (Lyons 1971)
‘Grammar is a means of explaining the
significant and functional patterning of
words in the making of meaning’

GRAMMAR
Grammar is to be seen as language patterning
which implies some system that allows
principled choices to be made
What we say or write is always a matter of
exercising these choices designing our
texts with some purpose in mind
Grammar is a matter of meaningful, flexible
but patterned choice….it is not just a
matter of labelling classes of words - it is a
purposeful, constructive and above all a

social enterprise

FORM
rules and syntax
MEANING
same form BUT different
meanings
USE
why is the form being used:
the purpose

TRADITIONAL

COMMUNICATIVE

GRAMMAR

GRAMMAR

FORM

FORM

MEANING

USE

Communicative Grammar
•The past
•Learn patterns
•The model was Latin
•Less importance to spoken language
•The Present
•Grammar is a matter of meaningful and
flexible choice
•Used basically to communicate

To sum up
The study of language


1.
2.
3.
4.

Match the structures in the left-hand column with the area of linguistics in which they are studied in the right-hand column

The structure of words
Word order/structure of clauses
The meaning of words
Individual sounds

a.
b.
c.
d.

Phonetics/phonology
Morphology
Syntax
Semantics

Morphology
the branch of grammar which studies the
structure of words.

Morpheme
• a minimal unit of meaning or grammatical function that
is the central concern of morphology.





the teacher restructured the final exam.
re(minimal unit of meaning standing for again)
-structur (minimal unit of meaning)
-ed
(minimal unit of grammatical function)

Morphemes are commonly classified into:
• free morphemes – morphemes which can stand by
themselves as separate words,
e.g. structure, like, go, work, friend etc.
• bound morphemes – morphemes which cannot normally
stand alone but need to be attached to other forms,
e.g. re-, -ed, -s, -ing etc.






- unit of meaning which can only exist alongside a free
morpheme.
These are most commonly prefixes and suffixes:
ungrateful
insufficient
childish
goodness

untouchables
un-touch-able-s

A handful of examples
• His un-happi-ness is contagious.
• Oh goodness me! He has unraveled
the mistery.
• That essay is illegible.
• She finds it stressful to keep travelling.

A handful of examples
• His un-happi-ness is contagious.
• Oh good-ness me! He has un-ravel-ed
the mistery.
• That essay is il-legi-ble.
• She find-s it stress-ful to keep travelling.

• A free morpheme is also called STEM
• In words like re-duce, re-peat, we find an
example of BOUND STEMS as –duce and
-peat don’t have a meaning of their own.

Free morphemes
• lexical morphemes:
– red,...
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