As far as the complexity of the morphemic structure of the word is concerned all English fall into two large classes:
1. class – to first class belong segmentable words, i.e. those allowing of segmentation into morphemes, e.g. agreement, information, fearless, quickly, door-handle, etc.
2. class – to this class belong non-segmentable words, i.e. those not allowing of such segmentation, e.g. house, girl, woman, husband, etc.
The operation of breaking a segmentable word into the constituent morphemes is referred to in present-day linguistic literature as the analysis of word structure on the morphemic level.
4.1 Complete segmentability
It is characteristic of a great many words the morphemic structure of which is transparent enough, as their individual morphemes clearly stand out within the word lending themselves easily to isolation.
4.2 Conditional segmentability
It characterises words whose segmentation into the constituent morphemes is doubtful for semantic reasons.
E.g.: retain, contain, detain or receive, deceive, conceive, perceive the sound-clusters /ri-/, /di-/, /kэn-/ seem, on the one hand, they undoubtedly have nothing in common with the phonetically identical morphemes re-, de- as found in words like rewrite, re-organise, deorganise, decode; neither the sound-clusters /ri-/ or /di-/ nor the /-tern/ or /si:v/ posses any lexical or functional meaning of their own.
4.3 Defective segmentability
It is the property of words whose component morphemes seldom or never recur in other words. One of the component morphemes is a unique morpheme in the sense that it does not, as rule, recur in a different linguistic environment. A unique morpheme is isolated and understood as meaningful because the constituent morphemes display a more less clear denotational meaning. Defective segmenatbilty signals a relatively complex character of the morphological system of the language in questions, reveals the existence of various heterogeneous layers in its vocabulary. There is no doubt that in the nouns streamlet, ringlet, leaflet, etc. the morpheme –let has the denotational meaning of diminutiveness and is combined with the morphemes stream-, ring-, leaf-, etc. each having a clear denotational meaning.
5 Semantic structure of the word. Polysemy
The semantic structure of the word does not present an indivisible unity (that is, actually, why it is referred to as “structure”), nor does it necessarily stand for one concept. It is generally known that most words convey several concepts and thus possess the corresponding number of meanings. A word having several meanings is called polysemantic, and the ability of words to have more than one meaning is described by the term polysemy.
When analysing the semantic structure of a polysemantic word, it is necessary to distinguish between two levels of analysis. On the first level the semantic structure of a word is treated as a system of meanings.
E.g.: The semantic structure of the noun fire could be roughly presented by this scheme:
an instance of destructive burning (e.g. a forest fire)
burning material in a stove or fireplace (a camp fire)
the shooting of guns (to draw fire – vyprovokovať streľbu)
strong feeling, passion, enthusiasm (a speech lacking fire)
5.1 Types of semantic components
The leading semantic component in the structure of a word is usually termed denotative component (indikačná zložka) (also, the term referential component may be used). The denotative component express the conceptual content of a word.
lonely, adj.→→→alone, without company
notorious, adj.→→→widely known
celebrated, adj.→→→widely known
to glare, v.→→→to look
to shiver, v.→→→to tremble
To give a more or less full picture of the meaning of a word, it is necessary to include in the scheme of analysis additional semantic components which are termed connotations or connotative components (významová zložka).
Denotative Cs Connotative Cs
lonely, adj.→→→alone, without company+melancholy, sad
notorious, adj.→→→widely known+for criminal acts or bad traits of character
celebrated, adj. →→→widely known+ for special achievement in science, art, etc.
to glare, v.→→→to look+seadily, lastingly, in anger, rage, etc.
to shiver, v.→→→to tremble+with the cold