By Janice Brooks,2014-09-27 22:53
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Morphology (linguistics) In linguistics, morphology is the identification, analysis and description of the structure of morphemes and other units of meaning in a language such as words, affixes, parts of speech, intonation/stress, or implied context. (words in a lexicon are the subject matter of lexicology). Morphological typology represents a way of classifying languages accordin..

Morphology (linguistics)

    In linguistics, morphology is the identification, analysis and description of the structure of morphemes and other units of

    meaning in a language such as words, affixes, parts of speech,

    intonation/stress, or implied context. (words in a lexicon are the

    subject matter of lexicology). Morphological typology represents a

    way of classifying languages according to the ways by which morphemes are used in a language from the analytic that use

    only isolated morphemes, through the agglutinative

    ("stuck-together") and fusional languages that use bound

    morphemes (affixes), up to the polysynthetic, which compress lots

    of separate morphemes into single words.

    While words are generally accepted as being (with clitics) the

    smallest units of syntax, it is clear that in most languages, if not all, words can be related to other words by rules (grammars). For

    example, English speakers recognize that the words dog and dogs

    are closely related differentiated only by the plurality morpheme

    "-s", which is only found bound to nouns, and is never separate. Speakers of English (a fusional language) recognize these relations from their tacit knowledge of the rules of word formation in

    English. They infer intuitively that dog is to dogs as cat is to cats;

similarly, dog is to dog catcher as dish is to dishwasher, in one

    sense. The rules understood by the speaker reflect specific patterns, or regularities, in the way words are formed from smaller units and how those smaller units interact in speech. In this way, morphology is the branch of linguistics that studies patterns of word formation within and across languages, and attempts to formulate rules that model the knowledge of the speakers of those languages.

    A language like Classical Chinese instead uses unbound ("free")

    morphemes, but depends on post-phrase affixes, and word order to

    convey meaning. However, this cannot be said of present-day Mandarin, in which most words are compounds (around 80%), and most roots are bound.

    In the Chinese languages, these are understood as grammars that represent the morphology of the language. Beyond the agglutinative languages, a polysynthetic language like Chukchi will

    have words composed of many morphemes: The word

    "təmeyŋəlevtpəγtərkən" is composed of eight morphemes

    t-ə-meyŋ-ə-levt-pəγt-ə-rkən, that can be glossed

    1.SG.SUBJ-great-head-hurt-PRES.1, meaning 'I have a fierce

    headache.' The morphology of such languages allow for each

consonant and vowel to be understood as morphemes, just as the

    grammars of the language key the usage and understanding of

    each morpheme.



    ; 1 History

    ; 2 Fundamental concepts

    o 2.1 Lexemes and word forms

    ; 2.1.1 Prosodic word vs. morphological word

    o 2.2 Inflection vs. word formation

    o 2.3 Paradigms and morphosyntax

    o 2.4 Allomorphy

    o 2.5 Lexical morphology

    ; 3 Models

    o 3.1 Morpheme-based morphology

    o 3.2 Lexeme-based morphology

    o 3.3 Word-based morphology ; 4 Morphological typology

    ; 5 References

    ; 6 Further reading


    The history of morphological analysis dates back to the ancient

    Indian linguist ini, who formulated the 3,959 rules of Sanskrit

    morphology in the text Aādhyāyī by using a Constituency ṣṭ

    Grammar. The Greco-Roman grammatical tradition also engaged in morphological analysis. Studies in Arabic morphology, conducted by Marā al-arwā and Amad b. ‘alī Mas‘ūd, date back

    [1] to at least 1200 CE.

    [2]The term morphology was coined by August Schleicher in 1859.

    Fundamental concepts

    Lexemes and word forms

    The distinction between these two senses of "word" is arguably the most important one in morphology. The first sense of "word", the one in which dog and dogs are "the same word", is called a lexeme.

    The second sense is called word form. We thus say that dog and

    dogs are different forms of the same lexeme. Dog and dog catcher,

    on the other hand, are different lexemes, as they refer to two different kinds of entities. The form of a word that is chosen conventionally to represent the canonical form of a word is called a lemma, or citation form.

Prosodic word vs. morphological word

    Here are examples from other languages of the failure of a single phonological word to coincide with a single morphological word form. In Latin, one way to express the concept of 'NOUN-PHRASE 1

    and NOUN-PHRASE' (as in "apples and oranges") is to suffix 2

    '-que' to the second noun phrase: "apples oranges-and", as it were. An extreme level of this theoretical quandary posed by some

    [3]phonological words is provided by the Kwak'wala language. In

    Kwak'wala, as in a great many other languages, meaning relations between nouns, including possession and "semantic case", are formulated by affixes instead of by independent "words". The

    three-word English phrase, "with his club", where 'with' identifies its dependent noun phrase as an instrument and 'his' denotes a possession relation, would consist of two words or even just one word in many languages. Unlike most languages, Kwak'wala semantic affixes phonologically attach not to the lexeme they pertain to semantically, but to the preceding lexeme. Consider the

    following example (in Kwakw'ala, sentences begin with what

    [4]corresponds to an English verb):

    kwixʔid-i-da bəgwanəma-χ-a q'asa-s-is t'alwagwayu ii

    Morpheme by morpheme translation:

kwixʔid-i-da = clubbed-PIVOT-DETERMINER

    bəgwanəma-χ-a = man-ACCUSATIVE-DETERMINER

    q'asa-s-is = otter-INSTRUMENTAL-3SG-POSSESSIVE t'alwagwayu = club.

    "the man clubbed the otter with his club"

    (Notation notes:

    1. accusative case marks an entity that

    something is done to.

    2. determiners are words such as "the", "this",


    3. the concept of "pivot" is a theoretical construct

    that is not relevant to this discussion.)

    That is, to the speaker of Kwak'wala, the sentence

    does not contain the "words" 'him-the-otter' or

    'with-his-club' Instead, the markers -i-da

    (PIVOT-'the'), referring to man, attaches not to

    bəgwanəma ('man'), but instead to the "verb"; the

    markers -χ-a (ACCUSATIVE-'the'), referring to otter,

    attach to bəgwanəma instead of to q'asa ('otter'),

    etc. To summarize differently: a speaker of

Kwak'wala does not perceive the sentence to

    consist of these phonological words:

    kwixʔid i-da-bəgwanəma

    χ-a-q'asa s-is-t'alwagwayu i

    "clubbed PIVOT-the-man i

    hit-the-otter with-his-club i

    A central publication on this topic is the recent volume edited by Dixon and Aikhenvald (2007), examining the mismatch between

    prosodic-phonological and grammatical definitions of "word" in various Amazonian, Australian Aboriginal, Caucasian, Eskimo, Indo-European, Native North American, West African, and sign languages. Apparently, a wide variety of languages make use of the hybrid linguistic unit clitic, possessing the grammatical features of

    independent words but the prosodic-phonological lack of freedom of bound morphemes. The

    intermediate status of clitics poses a considerable challenge to linguistic theory.

    Inflection vs. word formation

    Given the notion of a lexeme, it is possible to distinguish two kinds of morphological rules. Some morphological rules relate to different forms of the same lexeme; while other rules relate to different lexemes. Rules of the first kind are called inflectional rules, while those of the second kind are called word formation. The English plural, as

    illustrated by dog and dogs, is an inflectional rule;

    compound phrases and words like dog catcher or

    dishwasher provide an example of a word formation rule. Informally, word formation rules form "new words" (that is, new lexemes), while inflection rules yield variant forms of the "same" word (lexeme). There is a further distinction between two kinds of word formation: derivation and compounding.

    Compounding is a process of word formation that involves combining complete word forms into a single compound form; dog catcher is therefore a

    compound, because both dog and catcher are

    complete word forms in their own right before the compounding process has been applied, and are subsequently treated as one form. Derivation

involves affixing bound (non-independent) forms to

    existing lexemes, whereby the addition of the affix derives a new lexeme. One example of derivation is clear in this case: the word independent is derived

    from the word dependent by prefixing it with the

    derivational prefix in-, while dependent itself is

    derived from the verb depend.

    The distinction between inflection and word formation is not at all clear cut. There are many

    examples where linguists fail to agree whether a given rule is inflection or word formation. The next section will attempt to clarify this distinction. Word formation is a process, as we have said, where you combine two complete words, whereas with inflection you can combine a suffix with some verb to change its form to subject of the sentence. For example: in the present indefinite, we use ‘go’ with subject I/we/you/they and plural nouns, whereas for third person singular pronouns (he/she/it) and singular nouns we use ‘goes’. So this ‘-es’ is an inflectional marker and is used to

    match with its subject. A further difference is that in word formation, the resultant word may differ from its source word’s grammatical category whereas in the process of inflection the word never changes its grammatical category.

    Paradigms and morphosyntax

    A linguistic paradigm is the complete set of related word forms associated with a given lexeme. The familiar examples of paradigms are the

    conjugations of verbs, and the declensions of

    nouns. Accordingly, the word forms of a lexeme may be arranged conveniently into tables, by classifying them according to shared inflectional categories such as tense, aspect, mood, number,

    gender or case. For example, the personal

    pronouns in English can be organized into tables, using the categories of person (first, second, third),

    number (singular vs. plural), gender (masculine, feminine, neuter), and case (subjective, objective,

    and possessive). See English personal pronouns

    for the details.

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