Linguistics week 12 Morphology 2 We looked at

Download 6,73 Kb.
Date conversion26.01.2017
Size6,73 Kb.

Linguistics week 12

  • Morphology 2

We looked at

Two kinds of words

  • Function words
    • Restricted in number
    • A closed class
    • Have a grammatical function
    • Usually just one morpheme (a grammatical morpheme)
  • Content words
    • An open class
    • New content words often come into use in every language
  • Which words on this slide …? Chinese examples?

You think English is hard?

  • Ha! When I was at school I had to do Latin
    • See if you can find out what this is:
    • amo amamus
    • amas amatis
    • amat amant
    • Or this
    • dominus domini
    • domine domini
    • dominum dominos
    • domini dominorum
    • domino dominis
    • domino dominis

They were Latin inflections

  • The two lists each show the different word-forms, for a Latin noun or verb
    • dominus is the nominative (subject form)
    • domine is the vocative form (Oh Master!)
    • dominum is the accusative (object form)
    • domini is the genitive (the master’s, of the master)
    • domino is the dative (to or for the master)
    • domino is the ablative (in some words, this is different from the dative) (by, with or from the master)
  • English has a genitive form. What is it?
    • Does Chinese have one?
  • In some lexemes, English attests nominative, accusative and genitive forms
    • What are these lexemes?

Inflectional morphology

  • In English, inflection includes things like
    • Number
    • Tense
  • Fromkin 101 gives a complete list
    • Although she doesn’t explain that -s and -es (for example) are two realizations (two allomorphs!) of the same morpheme
  • Also on p101: does the Italian verb inflection list seem familiar?
  • BUT inflection does NOT allow for making a new lexeme
    • so sleepy is not an inflection of sleep
    • unkind is not an inflection of kind
    • artistic is not an inflection of artist (which is not an inflection of art (Inflection and derivation task)

Inflectional vs derivational morphology

  • Inflection does not change the word class (syntactic category, part-of-speech, 詞類)
    • Derivation may or may not change word class
  • Derivation makes a new lexeme
    • createcreative
  • Inflection just changes the grammatical ending of the original lexeme
    • create creates
  • Inflection is productive
    • You can add –s to any verb, to make it plural
  • Derivation is not necessarily productive
    • You cannot always add un- to an adjective, or -ive to a verb

Roots and affixes

  • Unbelievable contains
  • In English, there are derivational prefixes and suffixes
  • There are no inflectional prefixes
  • Suffixes are more common in the world’s languages
    • But Thai has only prefixes – no suffixes
    • Fromkin 78: plural in the Zapotec language is relized by a prefix, not a suffix


  • In Tagalog
    • sulat = write
    • sumulat = wrote
    • sinulat = was written
  • What is the root morpheme here?
  • What are the affixes?
  • Fromkin describes a kind of infix used in English
    • I don’t want to go to uni-bloody-versity
  • Is there any infixing in Mandarin, do you think?


  • Afrikaans
    • dik = ‘thick’; dikdik = ‘very thick’
  • Motu (Papua New Guinea)
    • mero = boy; memero = boys
    • meromero = little boy
    • How do you say ‘little boys’ in this language?
  • And – you guessed it – what uses does reduplication have in Mandarin?

Hierarchical structure of words (Fromkin 84)

  • unbelievable and unsystematic have only one structural analysis each:
    • believe 相信 + -able 可相信 + un- 不可相信
  • Unlockable, Fromkin shows on 85-6, is morphologically ambiguous
    • It can be understood in two ways
    • Try to understand why, by looking at the trees

Reading and exercises

  • 69 to 74 (or further if you like)
  • Ex 2, 3, 4, 5A, 6
    • You will probably enjoy these!
  • You might like to take a look at my master’s thesis
    • It contains a short section on reduplication in Chinese
    • It has some ideas about compounding (for next week)
    • You will get an idea of the structure of a Western-style essay: study, especially, the way the references and bibliography work

The database is protected by copyright © 2016
send message

    Main page