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Linguistics for Teachers

Language and Words
In Our Online Segment…

• morphology
• morphemes
• bound morphemes (derivational and inflectional)
• free morphemes (lexical and functional)
• open and closed class morphemes
• word formation processes (coinage, borrowing,
compounding, blending, clipping, backformation,
conversion, acronyms, derivation)
In Today’s Class…
Review and Discuss:

Morphology (morphology, morphemes, roots and stems)

Bound Morphemes (derivational and inflectional morphemes,

problems with morphological descriptions, morphs and allomorphs)

Free Morphemes (lexical morphemes and functional morphemes,

open and closed classes, pullet surprises)

Word Formation Processes (coinage, borrowing, compounding,

blending, clipping, backformation, conversion, acronyms, and
What is Morphology?

Which definition best describes

a) Morphology is the study of words.

b) Morphology is the study of the formation of


c) Morphology is the study of the internal structure

and the formation of words
What are morphemes?

Which definition best describes a

a) A morpheme is a minimal unit of meaning or
grammatical function.
b) A morpheme is a linguistic unit that is defined by a
(more or less) constant core meaning associated with a
(more or less) constant form.
c) Every sequence of phonemes which has meaning, and
which is not composed of smaller sequences having
meaning, is a morpheme.
These are all morphemes:
break care able dis re

ly s ‘s mit pent

un ment house ed like

Roots and Stems
bound roots gruntle, couth, chalance, ceive, ept,
mit, geneous
free roots
dog, idea, sad, separate, amuse…
bound root + disgruntle, uncouth, nonchalance,
prefix perceive

free root + suffix dogs, ideal, sadly, separation,

Practice 1 - Unbinding the roots
Below are a list of bound roots. Add a prefix to
each root to form an existing English word:
__________ *descript
__________ *cognito
__________ *beknownst
__________ *peccable
__________ *promptu
__________ *plussed
__________ *dominatable / domitable
__________ *nomer
Bound Morphemes

Practice 2 - Separating Morphemes
Divide the following words by placing + between
their separate morphemes. (Some of these words
may be monomorphemic and therefore indivisible.)

1. retroactive 8. holiday
2. befriended 9. grandmother
3. televise 10. morphemic
4. margin 11. mistreatment
5. endearment 12. disactivation
6. psychology 13. saltpeter
7. unpalatable 14 . airsickness
Important points to remember about
Point 1. the difference between syllables and

one morpheme, 4 syllables
two morphemes, 1 syllable
*In other words, a syllable does not constitute a
Point 2. the difference between inflectional –er and
derivational –er

derivational - teacher
inflectional - happier

What is the difference between the derivational and the

inflectional -er here?
Derivational and Inflectional Morphemes

Derivational Morphemes Inflectional Morphemes

Prefixes: Suffixes:
-un, pre, mis, re, dis, non, im, in, -s (plural)
a, semi …. -’s (possessive)
-er, -est (comparative,
-ish, ous, ful, ic, al, ation, ist, ly, -s (3rd person singular)
ize, ish, n, ness, ity, able, ive, -ed (simple past)
ory… -en (past participle)
-ing (present participle)
Differences between derivational and
inflectional morphemes
Location -premature/management vs.

Order of Appearance -spoonful vs. spoonfuls

Effect on Part of -unhappy/happiness vs.

Speech works

Number of Allowable -unsystematically vs.

Practice 3 - Derivational or Inflectional?
Write the one proper description from the list under B
for the italicized part of each word in A:

1. free root
A 2. bound root
3. inflectional suffix
a. terrorized 4. derivational suffix
b. uncivilized 5. inflectional prefix
c. terrorize 6. derivational prefix
d. lukewarm 7. inflectional infix
e. impossible 8. derivational infix
Point 3. with regards to inflectional morphemes:
the need for these morphological
{PLU} root + {PLU} noses, men, sheep
{POSS} root + {POSS} John’s, boys’, his, her
{COMP} / {SUP} root + {COMP} / root + {SUP} bigger, worst
{PRES} root + {PRES} goes, is, does, works
{PAST} root + {PAST} went, looked, ate, bought, joked
{PAST PART} root + {PAST PART} worked, eaten, gone, come
{PRES PART} root + {PRES PART} working, eating, going
Problems in Morphological Descriptions

Having morphological representations like the

ones discussed in the previous slide can help us
with potential issues like these:

 plural of man and sheep

 inconsistency of institution – institutional, legal –
leg, mouth - oral
 the order-of-appearance inconsistency of
lovingly and markedly
Morphs and Allomorphs

car + -s = two morphs

allomorph - (-allo = ‘one of a closely related set’)

morpheme = {PLU}
(-s); (-es); (Ø); (æ → ɛ) = allomorphs of the
morpheme {PLU}
i.e. cars, buses, sheep, men
Practice 4 - Rats and Mice

Go to Practice 4 on the Linguistics page.

Lexical Morphemes
Content Words:

these are nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs

which make up the largest part of our English
vocabulary and carry the content of the message

table write busy ideally

Functional Morphemes
Grammatical Morphemes:

these are conjunctions, prepositions, articles,

pronouns, and auxiliary verbs which express the
relationship between lexical morphemes

and for an she are

Practice 5: Lexical and Functional
Look at these 3 sentences. Identify the number
of lexical (L) and functional (F) morphemes in
each sentence:
1. Jim’s two sisters are really different.
L ___ F ___
2. One likes to have fun and is always laughing.
L ___ F ___
3. The other liked to read as a child and has always taken
things seriously.
L ___ F ___
“I like to verb words.”
Open and Closed Class Morphemes
Open Class Morphemes
Open Class:

 Lexical morphemes belong to

the open class morphemes because we can
add new words to this class.
 These morphemes can adapt to new
grammatical and semantic demands.
Closed Class Morphemes
Closed Class:

 Functional morphemes belong to the closed

class because we do not add words to this class.
 We also do not combine these morphemes with
other morphemes to generate new forms
“Pullet Surprises”
deciduous “able to make up one’s mind”
longevity “being very tall”
fortuitous “well protected”
gubernatorial “to do with peanuts”
bibliography “holy geography”
adamant “pertaining to original sin”
diatribe “food for the whole clan”

**How do these students’ mistakes illustrate their

morphological knowledge?**
Practice 6- How did they come up with
Below are listed some words followed by incorrect
definitions taken from Ansel Greene’s Pullet Surprises.

stalemate “husband or wife no longer interested”

effusive “able to be merged”
tenet “a group of ten singers”
dermatology “a study of derms”
ingenious “not very smart”
finesse “a female fish”

**Refer to other words or morphemes

to explain why the students made
these guesses.**
Practice 7- Vocabulary in Context

Go to Practice 7 on your Linguistics page.

Access the passage from A Clockwork

Orange and match the underlined words
with the suggested definitions.

Look at the context of the words and your

morphological knowledge to do this.

•a completely new word is invented, especially from trade

names or commercial products (zipper, kleenex, tylenol)

•eponyms - words formed from the names of people or

places (jeans, hoover, fahrenheit, volt)
Nitwit, poppycock, bedspread, and
dunderhead all come from what language?

• the taking over of words from other languages (pretzel,

croissant, dope, tattoo)

• calque or loan translation - direct translations

(wolkenkrabber, perros calientes, boyifurendo)
•the formation of
a word by joining
two separate
words (wallpaper,
scarecrow, good-

What do Brangelina, Tomkat and Bennifer have

in common?

•joining the beginning of one word to the ending

of another word (smog, motel, infomercial)
I am a Mulder and Scully shipper. I am
also a Jim and Pam shipper.

• a word of two or more syllables is ‘clipped’ to a shorter

form (fax, fan, bra, perm)

• hypocorism - a long word is reduced to a single syllable

and y or ie is added (telly, barbie, hankie, Aussie)

•a word of one type is reduced to form a

word of another type (televise, emote,
babysit, enthuse)

A- I didn’t get your email.

B-Ok, I’ll email you in a second.

• the function of a word is changed - i.e. from a

noun to a verb (man, post, rake, bottle, butter)

•formed from the initial

letters of a set of words

He is a workaholic, chocoholic, technoholic,

and an alcoholic.

• adding affixes to free roots (unhappy, joyful,

misrepresent, boyish)
• infixing - a stem is inserted inside another word
(absobloodylutely, unfreakinbelievable)
Practice 8: Which word formation
Identify the process being used in the
formation of the following words:
1. laser, scuba, UNESCO
2. argyle, sandwich, levis
3. doorknob, footprint, necktie
4. gym, plane, gas, ad
5. alcohol, piano, tycoon
6. chunnel, brunch, motel
7. hawk, edit, act
8. systematic, adorable, unfreakinreal
9. paper, bottle, dirty
Practice 9: Stemgo!!
How can your knowledge of morphology be
made useful in the classroom?

Go to Practice 9 on your Linguistics page

and let’s find out.
Today we looked at:

Morphology (morphology, morphemes, roots and stems)

Bound Morphemes (derivational and inflectional

morphemes, problems with morphological descriptions,
morphs and allomorphs)

Free Morphemes (lexical morphemes and functional

morphemes, open and closed classes, pullet surprises

Word Formation Processes (coinage, borrowing,

compounding, blending, clipping, backformation,
conversion, acronyms, and derivation)