Morpheme – is the minimal unit of meaning or grammatical function. Morphemes occur in speech only as constituent parts of words, not independently, although a word may consist of single morpheme. Each morpheme possess sound form and meaning.
Sound – form (morph) Meaning
Bound morphemes – which cannot normally stand alone, but which are typically attached to another form, e.g. re-, -ist, -ed, -s, etc. Bound morphemes, we can divide into two categories:
- a) derivational (used to make words of a different grammatical category from the stem, e.g. N → A fool – foolish, V → N pay – payment; suffixes –ish, -ment, etc. and prefixes such as re-, pre-, ex-, etc.)
- b) inflectional (these are not used to produce new words, but rather to indicate aspects of the grammatical function of a word, e.g. –s, -ed, -ing, -er (in comparing), -est, etc.)
Free morphemes – which can stand by themselves as single words, e.g. open, door, table, etc. Free morphemes fall into two subgroups :
- a) lexical morphemes, e.g. boy, man, house, tiger, etc.
- b) functional morphemes, e. g. and, because, when, near, etc. (Yule, 1993, p. 60-64)
Ex: The boy-’s wild-ness shock -ed the teach -er -s.
Funct.lex.infl.lex.deriv.lex. inf.funct.lex. deriv inf.
Root – morpheme – is the lexical nucleus of the word, it has a very general and abstract lexical meaning.
Morphs – the actual forms used to realize morphemes. Thus, the form cat is a single morph realizing a lexical morpheme. The form cats consists of two morphs, realizing a lexical morpheme and an inflectional morpheme (plural). Just as we noted that there were allophones of a particular phoneme, then we recognize allomorphs of a particular morpheme. (Yule, 1993, p. 63-64)
Word – is the principal and basic unit of the language system, the largest on the morphologic and the smallest on the syntactic plane of linguistic analysis. Words that consist of a root and a affix are called derived words.
Words can be classified into
- a) monomorphic (or root-words consist of only one root morpheme, e.g. small, dog, make, give, etc.)
- b) polymorphic – all polymorphic words fall into two subgroups: derived words (one root-morpheme and derivational affix, e.g. acceptable, outdo, etc) and compound words (according to the number of root morphemes they have, e.g. black-board, eye-ball, pen-holder, etc.)
When speaking about the structure of words also should be mentioned.
Stem – the part of the word which remains unchanged throughout its paradigm (a set of all the different forms of a word). The stem have not only the lexical meaning but also grammatical meaning, they can be noun stems (girl – in the adjective girlish), adjective stems (girlish – in the noun girlishness), verb stems (expel – in the noun expellee), etc. They differ from words by the absence of inflexions in their structure, they can be used only in the structure of words. There are three types of stems: simple, derived and compound.
A theory based on the notion of word-formation syntagma maintains that word-formation can only treat of composites which are analysable into two constituents:
- a) determinans – specifies its typical features by which it differs from all other objects of the class. Determinans cannot represent the whole syntagma in that it can stand for it in all positions.
- b) determinatum – identifies the object to be named with other similar objects. Determinatum represents the whole syntagma in that it can stand for it in all positions.
Determinans is followed by determinatum. Determinant is determining element and determinantum is determined element. For example:
determinatum of washing machine, i.e. machine identifies the object to be named with all other machines. Then, determinans specifies its characteristic feature (the machine used for washing).
head-ache, where the first component is determinant and the second is determinantum -compound derivative
father-hood, where father is determinant and hood is determinantum - a suffixation derivative
un-do, where un is determinant and do is determinantum – prefixal derivate