THE CONCEPT OF MORPHEME
A morpheme can be loosely defined as a minimal unit having more or less constant meaning associated with more or less constant form.
Morpheme is the smallest meaningful unit in the grammar of language.
- Concept of Morpheme
There are three points to note with respect to morphemes.
First, they are distinct from semantic feature, in that morphemes have a more or less constant form, which is usually reflected by they spelling.
Ex ; the sense of the words man, boy, stallion, and colt.
Second, the definition of morpheme as a minimal unit with more or less constant meaning associated with more or less constant form should be taken as a general rule of thumb rather than a hard and fast criterion
Ex : the word boys and girls.
Boys → boy + s
Girls → girl + s
Where the –s in each word represent the same plural morpheme (the plural morpheme is often symbolized (PLU) rather than (S) to distinguish it from other morphemes spelled with – s, such as the possessive morpheme in boys)
Third, it is important to note that identical spelling don’t necessary indicate the same morpheme
Ex : buyer and shorter
Buyer → means something like “one who”
Shorter → comparative morpheme
- Lexical and Grammatical Morpheme
The distinction between lexical and grammatical morphemes is not well defined, although many linguists seem to agree that is a useful division to make
Lexical morphemes have a sense (i.e. meaning) is and of them selves.
- Nouns : boy
- Verb : boy
- Adjective : big
Grammatical morphemes, on the other hand, don’t really have a sense in and on themselves. Instead they express some sort of relationship between lexical morphemes.
- preposition : at, on, beside etc
- article : a, an and the
- conjunction : but, and, both etc.
- Free and Bound Morphemes
In contrast to the division between lexical and grammatical morphemes, the distinction between free and bound morphemes is straight forward. Free morphemes are those that can stand alone as words. They may be laxical (serve, press) or they may be grammatical (at, and).
Bound morphemes, on the other hand, cannot stand alone as word. Like wise, they may be lexical (clued) as in exclude, include and preclude or they may be grammatical (Plu) plural as in boys, girls and cats.
- Inflectional and Derivational Morphemes
Free Bound Free Bound
Preposition Inflectional derivational
Compress Subvert at
Depress Invert the
Oppress Convert and
- Suffix (ize)
→ ize + noun = verb adj + ize =
Ex : ex :
- Suffix (Ful)
→ noun + ful = adjective
- Suffix (ly)
→ noun + ly = adjective
- prefix (Un)
- prefix (dis_
- prefix ( a )
- prefix (anti)
→ anti castro