Chapter Report about English Morphology and Examples from All Cases

I.            INTRODUCTION

The study of morphology has been influenced by many groups of linguists, for example by the philologists of the nineteenth century, by the structuralists in the twentieth century, by the transformational grammarians in the second half of the twentieth century, and the linguists with other theoretical orientations as well. We know such name as Mc Carthy, Catamba, Victoria Fromkin, Laurie Bauer, and William O’Grady had made books about English morphology. As the result, many ideas come up and give various understanding about morphology itself. Advisable, a lot of different sources do not make such distortion to the reader; otherwise those will enrich their knowledge with coherent approach of morphology studies.


Have you ever questioned about many words you see when you read books? How they emerge? What exactly word is? All of these questions have something to do with morphology, the study of words and their structure. It is well-established observation that words occur in different forms and in the nineteenth century the term ‘morphology’ was given to the study of this change in the forms of words. Etymologically, morphology refers to the study of shapes of words which relates to changes in meaning. Instead, the study also covers the collection of units which are used in changing the forms of words.

  1. Basic Unit

We see many word when reading a book, we know that word is the thing appeared between spaces on the page. From this we can say word is a unit which, in print, is bounded by spaces on both sides. There are three different kinds of ‘words’: word-forms which is the units actually occur and have a shape whether that is an orthographic shape or a sound shape. It belongs to lexemes which is what all the word-forms associated with it have in common, and grammatical words which is term of word’s description rather than their forms.

There are techniques that allow us to segment sentences into word-forms; we also can use those ways to segment word-forms. The units which we arrive at within the word-form are called morphs. A word-form may contain only one morph (buy, she) or it may contain several (surprised, manly, tea-bag). There are two kinds of morphs: free morphs and bound morphs. The former is some morphs that have the potential of being word-forms on their own; in contrary the latter is morphs which cannot be word-forms by themselves but which need to be attached to other morph.

The morph which realizes the lexeme does not also realize anything else. Any morph which can realize a lexeme and which is not further analyzable (except in terms of phonemes) is termed a root. Obligatorily bound morphs which do not realize lexemes and which are attached to roots to produce word-forms are called affixes. Anything that is attached to affixes is a root or something bigger than a root, a base. If an affix is attached before a base it is called a prefix, if it is attached after a base it is called a suffix, and if it is attached in the middle of a base it is called an infix.

Affixes can be of two kinds, inflectional or derivational. An inflectional affix is one which produces a new word-form of a lexeme from a base and always has a regular meaning. Meanwhile a derivational affix is one which produces a new lexeme from a base and may have an irregular meaning.

Sometimes two or more morphs are in complementary distribution. That is the two can never occur in precisely the same environment or context, and between they exhaust the possible contexts in which the morpheme can appear. Morpheme, like lexemes and phonemes, are abstract units. The morpheme is whatever all the morphs which can realize have in common. Morphs which realize a particular morpheme and which are conditioned (whether phonetically or lexically or grammatically) are called the allomorphs of that morpheme.

2.  Morphological structure of words

The most common way of building new words in the languages of the world is by using affixes. There are some types of affixes which are: Suffixes are used for all purposes in morphology, derivationally and inflectionally. Prefixes can co-occur in the same word with suffixes and all possible combinations of derivational and inflectional. Circumfixes is case where a prefix and a suffix act together to surround a base. Infixes which is inserted after the initial consonant of the base creates discontinuous bases, the rarity of discontinuous morphs also accounts for the relative rarity of infixation in the languages of the world. Interfix is a term where the linking element in the compound is an affix which only comes between two other forms.

Reduplication is using some part of the base (which may be the entire base) more than once in the word to indicate plurality, intensity and repetition. If the entire bases reduplicated, reduplication resembles compounding and it can also form types of affix. Zero morph is used to account for the difference in function between homophonous forms. Sometimes rather than zero-derivation, a term which called conversion will be used for the derivational cases. Conversion means the usage of an existing word in a new lexical category. In cases where the element subtracted is a morph with an independent existence elsewhere in the language and the process is a derivational one, it is a backformation which removes of an (incorrectly perceived) affix to form a new word.  Another type of shortening is clipping. It is a process of shortening a word without changing its meaning or part of speech

The formation of a new lexeme by adjoining two or more lexemes is called compounding or composition. Blend is a process of two words is simply merged where they overlap, so that no information is lost, but repetition of letter combinations is avoided. Acronyms are word coined from the initial letters of the words in a name, title or phrase. They are more than just abbreviations because they are actually pronounced as new words. Cranberry morph is a unique morph because the meanings associated with the known morphs in the construction from the meaning of the construction as a whole.

Suppletion is a term when word-forms of what appear to be the same lexeme are so different from each other that they cannot be derived by general rules at all. On the other hand, internal change is a process that substitutes one non-morphemic segment for another.

The link between syntax and morphology are at least as close as those between phonology and morphology. English attaches specifically to verbs. This criterion however is not always met since some languages have specific clitic positions where any clitic must be placed. Clitic is an unstressed word, typically a function word that is incapable of standing on its own and attaches in pronunciation to a stressed word, with which it forms a single accentual unit. Clitics are divided into proclitics which are attached before their base, and enclitics which are attached after their base.

III.            CONCLUSION

It can be seen there are many of ways of building words in the languages of the words, especially in English. There are some ways which are so common to use, and several are minor function. Learning directly from the example in section V will make us easier in understanding the explanation of each way of building words in section II and the visible differences among them will also be easier to observe.

IV.            SOURCES

V.              EXAMPLES

Free morphs

  • Every
  • One
  • Live
  • Some
  • Thing

Bound morphs

  • –s
  • –ly
  • Mis-
  • Un-
  • –er

Base and Root

  • Dealingsà deal is the root, dealing is the noun base (-s was not added to a root)
  • Shortened à short is the root, shorten is the verbal base


  • Mis-
  • Un-
  • Dis-
  • Inter-


  • –er
  • –ist
  • –ly
  • –al
  • -ism


  • Bloody
  • Fuckin
  • Friggin
  • Effin


  • Misunderstanding
  • International
  • Disability

Inflectional affixes and Derivational affixes

  • Recrates à re- (derivational prefix) + create (root) + -s (inflectional suffix) [recreate is a base]
  • Formalizes à form (root) + -al (derivational suffix) + -ise (derivational suffix) + -s (inflectional suffix)


  • One car            two cars
  • One dog          two dogs         /z/
  • One horse        two horses       /iz/


  • It’s a big … big … day
  • Walkie-talky
  • Teeny-weeny
  • Humpty-dumpty


  • He buys a comb (comb = N)
  • We comb his hair (comb = V)


  • Television à televise
  • Donation à donate
  • Editor à edit
  • Clipping
  • Burger : hamburger
  • Prof     : professor
  • Doc     : doctor


  • Smog : smoke + fog
  • Brunch : breakfast + lunch
  • Edutainment : education + entertainment
  • Infotainment: information + entertainment


  • Pickpocket
  • Kill joy
  • Football
  • Armchair
  • Greenhouse


  • NATO
  • KPK
  • DPR
  • WWF


  • Kleenex

Cranberry morph

  • Strawberry
  • Silver
  • Cranberry
  • Blackberry


  • Go – went – gone
  • Is/are – was/were – been

Internal change

  • Man – men
  • Foot – feet
  • Sing – sang
  • Drive – drove
  • Prove – proof


  • The
  • D’ à the ranch à D’ranch
  • T’ à it was à T’was


  • I’ve      : I have
  • I’m      : I am
  • You’re : you are
  • It’s       : it is

2 thoughts on “Chapter Report about English Morphology and Examples from All Cases

  1. I’ve been surfing online more than 4 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It’s
    pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all site owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be much more useful than ever before.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s