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Morphology and syntax How are words formed, and how are they arranged?

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Presentation on theme: "Morphology and syntax How are words formed, and how are they arranged?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Morphology and syntax How are words formed, and how are they arranged?

2 Morpheme the smallest meaningful unit in a language 2 morphemes in a word: fireproof, snowplow 2 morphemes in a word: joyous, poisonous, grievous, thunderous (-ous = adjective made from a noun) 3 morphemes in a word: unsightly (un-, sight, -ly) 2 morphemes in a word: eats (eat, -s) 1 syllable, 2 morphemes: don’t 2 syllables, 1 morpheme: barren

3 Free vs. bound morphemes free morphemes can be used alone as independent words (take, for, each, the, panda) bound morphemes form words only when attached to at least one other morpheme (re-, dis-, un-, -ing, -ful, -tion “It had been a rough day, so when I walked into the party I was very chalant, despite my efforts to appear gruntled and consolate. I was furling my wieldy umbrella for the coat check when I saw her standing alone in a corner. She was a descript person, a woman in a state of total array. Her hair was kempt, her clothing shevelled, and she moved in a gainly way. I wanted desperately to meet her, but I knew I'd have to make bones about it, since I was travelling cognito. Beknownst to me, the hostess, whom I could see both hide and hair of, was very proper, so it would be skin off my nose if anything bad happened. And even though I had only swerving loyalty to her, my manners couldn't be peccable. Only toward and heard-of behavior would do. Fortunately, the embarrassment that my maculate appearance might cause was evitable.” Jack Winter, “How I Met My Wife” (New Yorker, July 25/94)“How I Met My Wife”

4 Some bound morphemes affixes (prefixes and suffixes): added to the beginning or end of another morpheme bases (morphemes to which affixes can be attached) can sometimes be bound e.g., -cept (< Lat. capio, “to take”) except, accept, deceptive, reception – but no cept!

5 Affixes inflectional affix: indicates a grammatical feature (number, person, mood, tense, case): -s (plural), – ed (past tense), ‘s (possessive) derivational affix (either prefix or suffix) can change the meaning of the word it’s attached to (uniform, transplant, microwave, unbelievable, desensitize) or, can change its part of speech: power noun -> empower verb buzz verb -> abuzz adjective cool adjective -> coolness noun joy noun -> joyless adjective (and changes meaning to its opposite)

6 Variant pronunciations of morphemes different pronunciations of –ed: [d] after voiced consonant: stabbed, raised, slaved [t] after unvoiced consonant: stopped, raced, laughed [əd] after dental consonant: wanted, braided archaic [əd] pronunciations: learned, beloved different pronunciations of –s: [z] after voiced consonant: jobs, beds, bags [s] after unvoiced consonant: hats, hips, books -es [əs] after [s], [z], [č], [ǰ], [š], [ž] (hisses, sizes, beaches, edges, rushes, massages)

7 Lexical vs. function morphemes lexical words or morphemes (usually nouns, adjectives, verbs): content words with referents in the real world (radio, nasty, swim) function words or morphemes (usually conjunctions, pronouns, demonstratives, articles, prepositions): signal relationships between other words within the language (but, myself, these, a, of, than) an example of a word with both lexical and functional aspects: in function word: we are in love, one child in ten lexical word: I’m in! (an adjective, or a preposition without an object)

8 Syntax the arrangement of words into phrases, clauses, and sentences order affects meaning: Dog chases postman. / Postman chases dog. They are outside. / Are they outside? Only I saw Mary. / I saw only Mary. Naturally, I got up. / I got up naturally. Show me the last three pages. / Show me the three last pages. The man with a dog saw me. / The man saw me with a dog.

9 Incorrect/unidiomatic syntax I walked to town. / I to town walked. Hardly had I left… / Hardly I had left… That’s a fine old house. / That’s an old fine house. John and I saw her. / I and John saw her. She switched it on. / She switched on it. instinct and education work together

10 Clause elements S = subject (identifies theme or topic of the clause) V = verb (actions, sensations, states of being) O = object (direct or indirect) C = complement (gives further information about another element) You are a fool. Did you call me fat? A = adverbial (adds extra information about the situation)

11 Common clause types in present-day English S + V: I / yawned. S + V + O: I / opened / the door. S + V + C: I / am / ready. S + V + A: I / went / to London. S + V + O + O: I / gave / him / a pen. S + V + O + C: I / got / my shoes / wet. S + V + O + A: I / put / the box / on the floor. word order in English has become more rigid over time, but many basic patterns of modern English syntax were already established by the Old English period


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