* the smallest unit of linguistic meaning.
* A single word may be composed of one or more morphemes.
Example: un+system+atic+al+ly ( the word unsystematically can be analyzed into 5 separate morphemes) A grammatical unit in which there is an arbitrary union of a sound and a meaning that cannot be further analyzed.
* * Every word in every language is composed of one or more morphemes.
One morpheme boy (one syllable)
desire, lady, water (two syllables)
crocodile (three syllables)
salamander (four syllables), or more syllables
Two morpheme boy + ish
desire + able
Three morpheme boy + ish + ness
desire + able + ity
Four morpheme gentle + man + li + ness
un + desire + able + ity
More than four un + gentle + man + li + ness
anti + dis + establish + ment + ari + an + ism
|Kinds of Morpheme|
1. Free Morphemes : Morphemes which can be used as a word on its own (without the need for further elements, i.e. affixes)
Example: girl, system, desire, hope, act, phone, happy..
2. Bound Morphemes: Morphemes which cannot occur on its own as an independent (or separate) word.
* Affixes (prefix, suffix, infix and circumfix) are all bound morphemes.
Circumfixes (discontinuous morpheme)
Bound morphemes which occur only before other morphemes.
un- (uncover, undo)
dis- (displeased, disconnect),
pre- (predetermine, prejudge) Bound morphemes which occur
following other morphemes.
-er (singer, performer)
-ist (typist, pianist)
-ly (manly, friendly) Bound morphemes which are inserted
into other morphemes.
fumikas "to be strong"
(Bontoc Language) Bound morphemes that are attached to a root or
stem morpheme both initially and finally.
chokma "he is good"
ik + chokm + o "he isn’t’ good"
3. Root vs. Stem
Non-affix lexical content morphemes that cannot be analyzed into smaller parts
(ex.) cran (as in cranberry), act, beauty, system, etc..
* Free Root Morpheme: run bottle, phone, etc.
* Bound Root Morpheme: receive, remit, uncount, uncouth, nonchalant, etc.
* When a root morpheme is combined with affix morphemes, it forms a stem.
* Other affixes can be added to a stem to form a more complex stem.
Root believe (verb)
Stem believe + able (verb + suffix)
Word un + believe + able (prefix + verb + suffix)
Root system (noun)
Stem system + atic (noun + suffix)
Stem un + system + atic (prefix + noun + suffix)
Stem un + system + atic + al (prefix + noun + suffix + suffix)
Word un + system + atic + al + ly prefix + noun + suffix + suffix + suffix