WORD STRUCTURE IN MODERN ENGLISH
The morphological structure of a word. Morphemes. Types of morphemes.
Structural types of words.
Principles of morphemic analysis.
Derivational level of analysis. Stems. Types of stems. Derivational
types of words.
The morphological structure of a word. Morphemes. Types of Morphemes.
There are two levels of approach to the study of word- structure: the
level of morphemic analysis and the level of derivational or
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
It has been universally acknowledged that a great many words have a
composite nature and are made up of morphemes, the basic units on the
morphemic level, which are defined as the smallest indivisible two-facet
The term morpheme is derived from Greek morphe “form ”+ -eme. The Greek
suffix –eme has been adopted by linguistic to denote the smallest unit
or the minimum distinctive feature.
The morpheme is the smallest meaningful unit of form. A form in these
cases a recurring discrete unit of speech. Morphemes occur in speech
only as constituent parts of words, not independently, although a word
may consist of single morpheme. Even a cursory examination of the
morphemic structure of English words reveals that they are composed of
morphemes of different types: root-morphemes and affixational morphemes.
Words that consist of a root and an affix are called derived words or
derivatives and are produced by the process of word building known as
affixation (or derivation).
The root-morpheme is the lexical nucleus of the word; it has a very
general and abstract lexical meaning common to a set of semantically
related words constituting one word-cluster, e.g. (to) teach, teacher,
teaching. Besides the lexical meaning root-morphemes possess all other
types of meaning proper to morphemes except the part-of-speech meaning
which is not found in roots.
Affixational morphemes include inflectional affixes or inflections and
derivational affixes. Inflections carry only grammatical meaning and are
thus relevant only for the formation of word-forms. Derivational affixes
are relevant for building various types of words. They are lexically
always dependent on the root which they modify. They possess the same
types of meaning as found in roots, but unlike root-morphemes most of
them have the part-of-speech meaning which makes them structurally the
important part of the word as they condition the lexico-grammatical
class the word belongs to. Due to this component of their meaning the
derivational affixes are classified into affixes building different
parts of speech: nouns, verbs, adjectives or adverbs.
Roots and derivational affixes are generally easily distinguished and
the difference between them is clearly felt as, e.g., in the words
helpless, handy, blackness, Londoner, refill, etc.: the root-morphemes
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