What is Morphology?

Morphology, the study of words and morpheme


 Morphology It is a grammar discipline that is responsible for studying the parts of the sentence individually such as the noun , the adjective , the prepositions, the article; as well as study its internal structure. while understanding the linguistics, it is very important to grasp the concept of Morphology, the study of words and morpheme.

The word morphology was introduced in the nineteenth century and originally dealt simply with the form of words, although in its most modern sense it studies more complex phenomena than the form itself.

Morphology (from Greek μορφ- [morph]: form, + λογία [loggia]: treated), is the branch of linguistics that studies the internal structure of words to delimit, define and classify their units, the kinds of words to which gives rise (flexive morphology) and the formation of new words (lexical morphology).

  • Morphology as a linguistic discipline

In fact, in Morphology, the study of words and morpheme, we talk about the morphology of plants , the morphology of living beings, the morphology of land relief , etc. But in linguistics, this term has acquired a specialized meaning: ‘study of word forms’ and, by extension, ‘study of the word’. This goes back to a tradition initiated in the works of Baudouin de Courtnay according to which they are formed by rootsand affixes that perform the function of the Saussurean sign. And although one must also speak in linguistics of the form of phrases and / or phrases, the term morphology does not apply to the latter; It is the word, and only the word, that constitutes the object of linguistic morphology according to a general use.

The position in grammatical morphology is intermediate. For Bloomfield’s American structuralist tradition, morphology was essential; In the Chomskyana generativist tradition, syntax is central and morphology is either relegated to phonology or is ignored as an independent discipline. These positions have made linguistic morphology a controversial and difficult definition field in modern linguistic theory. It is usually considered that morphological patterns are the result of grammaticalization and that, in a sense, that is all there is in morphology. Therefore, the search for morphological universals and the morphological analysis itself would be nothing more than a study of grammaticalization patterns.

Distinction between morphology and syntax

The grammatical description of all the languages of the world is divided, by convention, into two sections: morphology and syntax. The relationship between the two is as follows:

  • Morphology explains the internal structure of words while syntax describes how words combine to form phrases, sentences and phrases.

Definition of morpheme

Lexemes (Lexical Morphemes)

In all languages,Morphology, the study of words and morpheme, regardless of the morphological procedures that it possesses, we can identify in one word a basic morpho sequence of seizure, in languages ​​with morphs that are not affixes, such as Semitic languages, the lexemes are “skeletons” of 2 or 3 consonants between which vowels are inserted. These vowels come in the form of paradigmatic schemes and are an example of discontinuous morpho (in this type of language the lexemes are also in fact discontinuous, that is, they do not form a sequence of consecutive phonemes) ….. lexemes form the bulk of the lexicon of a language, its number is always much higher than that of grammar, and in principle it is considered an open class. That is, they form a set that can be expanded with new lexical loans or other creative procedures to designate new concepts or realities. Examples:

  • girls
  • lexeme: child
  • use
  • lexeme: useful

Gramemas (grammatical morphemes)

Grammar morphemes are the units that constitute the variable part of the word and are responsible for expressing grammatical relationships and that do not alter the basic referential meaning of a word. They are usually not autonomous and their appearance is not optional but is subject to grammatical restrictions. These morphemes express relationships or grammatical accidents such as:

  • Grammar number
  • Grammatical genre
  • Grammar case
  • Verbal tense

Derivative grammar

Also called affixes, they are optional formants through which compositional meanings and concepts derived from the basic meaning are formed. Some examples of this: According to their position regarding lexeme, there are three types of derivative grammatical morphemes:

  • Suffixes: They go after the radical or lexeme and before the grammatical dependent morphemes. They can change the grammatical category of the word or the gender of nouns and are tonic, that is, they carry the accent of the word.
  • repeatable
  • suffix: -ible, transforms a verb into an adjective
  • quietly
  • suffix: -mente, transforms an adjective into adverb
  • cason
  • suffix: -on, transforms the gender of the noun house .
  • Prefixes: They precede the radical or lexeme. They are unstressed and have meaning. If they load with an accent they are actually prefixes or prefixes close to the lexemes.
  • impassable
  • prefix: in-, meaning of denial or deprivation
  • monosyllabic
  • prefix: mono-, meaning of single or single
  • Interfixes: They are euphonic morphological extensions that are placed between the prefixes and suffixes to avoid the cacophony between two sounds and the homonymies. They are unstressed and have no meaning. Many of them also functioned as suffixes but were left with no discernible meaning. These interfixes are not comparable to suffixes or prefixes and it is important not to confuse them with the infixes that appear in other languages, which are comparable to the prefixes and derivative suffixes.

Flexible grammar

They are constitutive formants that always occupy the final position of the word and the information they offer is grammatical, such as gender , number , person , mode , etc. Example:

  • children
  • flexible morphemes:
  • -o male gender
  • -s, plural number

Free or independent morphemes

There is another class of morphemes called free or independent morphemes that are not linked to any lexeme but give grammatical significance to the words with which they are associated. The determinants, prepositions and conjunctions can act as free morphemes. Almost all of them are unstressed. For example, the article acts as a flexible morpheme for the noun of the sentence.

Morphs of a morpheme

Morphology, the study of words and morpheme and Allomorphs are the different phonic embodiments of a given morpheme. For example, in Spanish the plural can be done as -so -es, these two forms are therefore allomorphs of the morpheme of the plural number of Spanish. They are also allomorphs: -ble and -bil as in impossible and impossibility or foolish- and neci as in foolish and foolish.

Zero morph

An interesting type of morph is one that has no audible phonemic realization. Considering this absence of phonic content as a relationship, often helps to make morphological analysis simpler and more systematic, since the fact that a given morpheme does not have phonic performance does not prevent it from being considered a full member of the class of equivalence that forms the morpheme on the basis of systematic paradigmatic relationships.

An example of this is found in Spanish in the word atlas . Here the number morpheme is not present, and that is precisely the reason why the number is singular. Another example is gender morphs in names or adjectives ending in consonant: Example:

  • This is the best-ØM
  • This is the best-ØF

The consideration of the allomorphs zeros ØM and ØF allows us to say that in an attribute sentence the subject and the attribute always agree in gender. An alternative analysis in Vossler’s line denying that these zero allomorphs are real would need to explain that sometimes there is concordance (when there are gender morphemes) and sometimes there is no concordance, being in that case the most complicated rule. That is, the consideration of zero morphemes simplifies generalizations about concordance and other aspects of grammatical structure. Likewise, the person marks of the third person of the singular can be considered zero morphs:

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