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Bound morpheme

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In morphology, a bound morpheme is a morpheme that only appears as part of a larger word; a free or unbound morpheme is one that can stand alone.[1] A bound morpheme is also known as a bound form, and similarly a free morpheme is a free form.[2] Affixes are always bound in English, although languages such as Arabic have forms which sometimes affix to words and sometimes can stand alone. English language affixes are almost exclusively prefixes or suffixes. E.g., pre- in "prefix" and -ment in "shipment". Affixes may be inflectional, indicating how a certain word relates to other words in a larger phrase, or derivational, changing either the part of speech or the actual meaning of a word. Many roots are free morphemes, e.g., ship- in "shipment", while others are bound. Roots normally carry lexical meaning. Words like chairman that contain two free morphemes (chair and man) are referred to as compound words. Linguists usually distinguish between productive and unproductive forms when speaking about morphemes. For example, the morpheme ten- in tenant was originally derived from the Latin word tenere, "to hold", and the same basic meaning is seen in such words as "tenable" and "intention." But as ten- can't be used in English to form new words, most linguists would not consider it to be a morpheme at all. Yet, tenfold is a word conjured from the word ten. Tenth is another. There are some distinguishable types of bound morphemes.



Main article: Cranberry morpheme A cranberry morpheme[3][4] or unique morpheme[5] is one with extremely limited distribution so that it occurs in only one word. A popular example is cran- in cranberry" (hence the term "cranberry morpheme"). An exception would be crangrape found in product advertising. Unique morphemes are examples of the linguistic notion of fossilization: loss of productivity or usage of grammar units: words, phrases, parts of words. Besides fossilized root morphemes, there are also fossilized affixes (suffixes and prefixes).



^ Kroeger, Paul (2005). Analyzing Grammar: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 13. ISBN 978-0-521-01653-7.


^ Elson and Pickett, Beginning Morphology and Syntax, SIL, 1968, ISBN 0-88312-925-6, p6: Morphemes which may occur alone are called free forms; morphemes which never occur alone are called bound forms.

3. 4. 5.

^ "An Introduction to English Morphology, by Andrew Carstairs-McCarthy, p. 19 ^ Contemporary Linguistics, by William O'Grady, Michael Dobrovolsky, Francis Katamba, p. 710 ^ "German Linguistics" by Christopher Beedham (1995), ISBN 3-89129-258-9, p. 103