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Non-root morphemes

include inflectional morphemes (or inflections) and affixational morphemes (or affixes). Inflections carry only grammatical meaning and are thus relevant only for the formation of word-forms, whereas affixes are relevant for building various types of stems'

Structurally morphemes fall into three types:

-- free morphemes;

-- bound morphemes;

-- semi-bound (semi-free) morphemes.

A free morpheme is defined as one that coincides with the stem or a word-form.

For example, the root-morpheme friend- of the noun friendship is naturally qualified as a free morpheme because it coincides with one of the forms of the word friend.

A bound morpheme occurs only as a constituent part of a word.

Affixes are bound morphemes for they always make part of a word. For example, the suffixes -ness, -ship, -ize in the words darkness, friendship, to activize; the prefixes im-, dis-, de- in the words impolite, to disregard, to demobilize.

Some root-morphemes also belong to the class of bound morphemes. These are, as a rule, roots which are found in quite a limited number of words and never independently or pseudo-roots, i. e. root-morphemes which have lost most of the properties of "full" roots. Such are the root-morphemes goose- in gooseberry, -ceive in conceive.

Semi-bound (semi-free) morphemes are morphemes that can function in a morphemic sequence both as an affix and as a free morpheme. For example, the morphemes well and half onthe one hand occur as free morphemes that coincide with the stem and the word-form in the utterances to sleep well, half an hour, on the other hand well and half occur as bound morphemes in the words well-known, half-done.

Morphemes can be:

1. Inflectional - vary or inflect the forms of words in order to express grammatical feature. # tense and number - boy - boys.

Features: - generally don't change basic meaning or part of speech;

- generally express grammatically required features or indicate relations between different words in the sentence. # Lee loves Kim.

- generally are productive typically combine freely with all members of some large class of morphemes with quite a predictable effect on usage and meaning;

- occur outside any derivational morphemes.



- suffixes only

2. Derivational - make new words from old ones.

Features: - change the part of speech or the basic meaning of a word

- not required by syntactic relations outside the word # unkind

- often not productive i.e. they can be selective about what they will combine with and also have erratic effect on the meaning # -hood + brother/ child - brotherhood; childhood

- typically occur between the stem any inflectional affixes: # neighborhoods

- in English it is prefixes or suffixes.

Types of meaning in morphemes

In morphemes different types of meaning can be singled out depending on the semantic class morphemes belong to.


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Syntagmatic relations | Morphemic types of words
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