2. Morphology is
the study of words and their meaningful parts, the●
principles that govern the composition of words and
the functions of words in sentences (Finegan, 2007)
the study of the rules governing the formation and●
combination of morphemes
(Rowe & Levine, 2012)
●Morphemes are the smallest units of
meaning i.e. morphemes cannot be broken
down further and remain meaningful.
E.g. the word “cat” /kæt/ cannot be broken
down further into other meaning units.
4. The ability to use any word in a sentence requires
knowledge of its lexical category of every word we
Identify the category of the underscored words in the
following sentences. Use the abbreviations N for noun,
V for verb, Adj for adjective, Adv for adverb, Prep for
preposition, Pro for Pronoun.
a.People who rarely read in bedrooms can feel
b.Nobody really knows what normal reading is.
c.The market for audiobooks is very large.
5. Ways of Identifying Lexical Categories
1) Examining forms of words that is words which
show parallel patterns of related forms, and
words with parallel forms belong to the same
fork/forks, book/books, truck/trucks i.e.
tall/taller, bright/ brighter, smart/smarter i.e.
walk/walked, talk/talked, listen/listened i.e. verbs
6. 2) Focusing on which words and categories can
occur together in phrases.
E.g. The nouns can be preceded by the and
a(or an): a fork/the fork, and the plural
forms in –s can be preceded by the.
Basic adjectives such old, tall, and bright
can be preceded by very, or too as in too
Bright. Basic verbs can be preceded by
can or will: will laugh.
7. 3) Relying on meaning
E.g.: Nouns name persons, places or
Adjectives name qualities properties
Verbs describe actions.
(Refer to Finegan (2004)pg 41 for more examples)
8. 1) VERBS
A verb expresses an action, an occurrence, a
condition, or a state of being.
In English , verbs are inflected for tense, person,
number, voice, and aspect.
Verbs have a set of related forms (talk, talks, talked,
talking) and that the basic verb form – the one without
an ending – can be preceded by can or will
9. Subcategories of verbs
Two Kinds of sentence structures: Transitive
1. Sarah told the joke.
2. Sarah laughed at the joke.
Transitive: Verbs that take noun phrase after
Intransitive: Verbs that do not take noun
phrase after them.
10. 2) ADVERBS
Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, or other
often indicate when (often, now, then), how
(quickly, suddenly), or to what degree (very,
11. Adverbs play a range of functions
a) modifying verbs
E.g.: He talked loudly. (He was a loud
She slept soundly. (She was a
She spoke often.
They will arrive soon/ He believes
12. b) Adverb Modifying Adjectives
E.g. a very tall three, a bitterly cold
c) Adverbs modifying other adverbs
E.g. very soon, unbelievable quickly
truly unbelievable fast
A noun is a word that refers to names, persons,
places, attitudes, ideas, qualities, or conditions.
A noun can be the subject of a sentence, an object of
a verb, or the object of a preposition.
Inflection at the end represents information on
number i.e. plural or singular
E.g. “regular” – cat/cats, dish/dishes
“irregular” – child/children, tooth/teeth
Exceptions – deer and sheep
(same form for singular and plural)
or can be inflected to show possession (-’s); Peter’s
Adjectives modify a noun (beautiful flowers). or
Can be inflected to indicate degree i.e. the ending –er
and –est, (e.g. larger and largest).
adjectives containing more than two syllables, do not
permit these endings e.g.
beautiful/*beautifuller/*beautifullest , hence should
be preceded by very or too.
15. CONTENT WORDS
words in the NOUNS, VERBS, ADJECTIVES and
ADVERBS convey the major ‘content’ of a message
Also known as open class as it allows new
members – new lexical items being introduced
into languages in response to the changing world
E.g. download and byte and email which entered the
17. b) demonstrative pronoun
- refer to things relatively near (this/these) or, by
contrast, relatively far away (that/those)
e.g. That really bothers Guy
Those are Guy’s.
c) interrogative pronouns
- are used to ask questions - who, what, where,
e.g. Whose are those?
You told Rose what?
18. d) Relative pronoun – who, that and which
Relative pronoun is related to the preceding noun.
E.g.: Ellen’s a doctor who specializes in
The show that won most awards is “60 minutes.”
She’s is a licensed masseur, which I am not.
19. e)Indefinite pronouns
- a set of pronouns whose referents are not specific:
someone, anyone, everyone, no one, somebody,
anybody, everybody, nobody, something, anything
Determiners precede nouns (specify something about
Several categories of determiners:
Definite and indefinite articles: the, a, an
Demonstratives: this, that, these, those
Possessives: my, our, your, her, his, its, their
Interrogatives: which, what, whose
Qualifier: all, some, many, three etc
precede a noun phrase, e.g. at a concert, on
Tuesday, or under the table.
indicate a semantic relationship between other
entities. E.g.: The book is on (under or near) the
table - the location of the book with respect to the
table. Tina rode to/from Athen (direction with
respect to Athens) with/without Chris
(accompaniment) at/near/by her side (indicating
location of Chris with respect to Tina)
Some languages (such Japanese) have postpositions
which function like prepositions but follow noun
phrase instead of preceding it. E.g:
Japanese postpositions: English prepositions
Taroo no of Taroo
Hasi de with chopsticks
Conjunctions connect words or groups of words.
There are three subtypes of conjunctions.
1) Coordination conjunctions e.g.: and, but, and or
serve to conjoin expressions of the same category or
status e.g. noun phrases (Dungeons and Dragons, tea
or coffee), verb phrases (she sang and he danced).
24. 2) Subordinating conjunctions are words such as that,
These conjunctions link unequal elements e.g. a
dependent and independent clauses
E.g.:She visited Montreal while she attended Bates
College or He said that she was ill.
3) Correlative conjunctions connect equal elements but
occur in pairs e.g. Either you or I will go to the store
25. FUNCTION WORDS
words in PRONOUNS, DETERMINERS,
PREPOSITIONS AND POSTPOSITIONS and
CONJUNCTIONS are also known as closed class.
have little or no semantic content.
mainly gives information on grammatical structure of
Linkage between major words.
26. Identify the category of italicised words in the
sentences below. Use the abbreviation N for
noun, V for verb, ADJ for adjective, ADV for
adverb, PREP for preposition, PRO for pronoun.
a.People who rarely read in the bedrooms can feel
b.Nobody really knows what normal reading is.
c.The market for audiobooks is very large.
27. For the five words in Table 2-2 (page 56) that
belong to three lexical categories, provide a
sentence illustrating their use in each category.
Examples are provided for average.
•Is there a difference between an average and a
•A guide can average $75 a day in tips. (verb)
•He worked hard but earned only average grades.
(1. model, 2.blanket, 3. brick & 4.prime)
Morphemes are word parts that carry meaning.
A morpheme is “the smallest unit of language that
carries meaning/“the minimal units of meaning.”
Morphology is the study of morphemes, which are the
smallest significant units of the grammar (Todd, 1987,
a) cat cats (cat+s) plurality is indicated
mat mats (mat+s) by adding +s to the
b) cook cooked (cook+ed) the ‘ed’ morpheme
look looked (look+ed) the past tense
30. one morpheme boy
Two morphemes boy + -ish
desire + -able
Three morphemes boy + -ish +- ness
desire +- able +- ity
Four morphemes gentle +-man + -li +-ness
un + -desire + -able +- ity
More than four un + -gentle + -man + -li + -ness
31. A morpheme may also consist of more than one
syllable: by two syllables as in camel, lady or by three
syllables as in crocodile or by four or more syllables
as in hallucinate
33. FREE AND BOUND MORPHEMES
Morphemes which can occur freely on their own are
called ‘free’ morphemes.
Morphemes which can only occur as affixes are
described as ‘bound’ morphemes. For e.g.
unmanly and meaningless
can be split up into:
Un + man + ly (3 morphemes)
prefix + root + suffix
(Bound) (Free) (Bound)
Mean+ing+less (3 morphemes)
root + suffix + suffix
(Free) (Bound) (Bound)
35. Bound morphemes may be classified as affixes, which
are subdivided into prefixes, suffixes and infixes,
according to the way they combine with the base or
Prefixes occur before the base, e.g. (re)heat,
Suffixes occur after the base e.g.kind(ness), angri(ly),
(Confixes occur before (prefix) and after the base
(suffix) e.g. incomprehensible & unhappiness)
English has no infixes.
36. Infix - A morpheme inserted into a root
Tagalog: sulat (write)
Malay: jari - jemari
guruh – gemuruh
rambut - rerambut
37. 1. Place a plus sign (+) between two morphemes
in each word listed below.
2. Label each morpheme as bound (B) or free
Example: Reading = Read + ing F+B
a. Telephone f. actor
b. Infirm g. inaccessibility
c. Farm h. duckling
d. Reformers i. countess
38. Bound morphemes or affixes may also be
classified as DERIVATIONAL or INFLECTIONAL
according to they effect they produce on the base.
39. Derivational Morphemes
Bound morphemes generally combine with the base to
change its “part of speech” class (lexical category) or they
can change the meaning of the word.
Examples of derivational affixes which change the lexical
category of the base
teach teach + -er
build build+ -er
40. Adjective Adverb
happy happi + -ly
loud loud + -ly
smooth smooth + -ly
danger en- + danger
slave en- + slave
throne en- +throne
moral moral + -lize
Adjective Verb noun
pure pure + -ify pure +- fi + -cation
41. Examples of derivational affixes which change the
meaning of the base word
42. Inflectional Morphemes
which change the form of a word but not the lexical
categories or its central meaning
which change the function of a word from the
grammatical point with no change in the lexical
category/the part of speech
which create variant forms of a word to conform to
different roles in a sentence or in a discourse.
E.g: cat - noun
cat + s = cats – still a noun but in plural form
dream - verb
dream + ed=dreamed – verb in past tense
43. Inflectional morphemes occur with nouns,
pronouns, and verbs.
In nouns, inflection marks plurality in regular
nouns: book/books, chair/chairs
and the possessive of all nouns:
John John’s book/books
the man the man’s book/books
the men the men’s book/books
the builders the builders’ material/materials
44. Irregular nouns often form their plurals by
a vowel change:
To indicate present agreement
For regular verbs the past tense and the past participle
are formed by the suffix
‘-ed’ e.g. I look+ed/I have look+ed.
Irregular verbs – signalled by a vowel change or a
change plus suffix:
46. Eight inflectional bound morphemes in English, and they
are all suffixes:
1.The plural markers (-s) e.g. The pens are on the table.
2.The possessive (-’s and-s’) e.g. It was Andrew’s car.
3.The third person, present singular (-s) e.g. He always
comes home late.
4.The comparative (-er) e.g. The milk is fresher than
5.The superlative (-est) e.g. This is the freshest milk.
6.The progressive (-ing) e.g. He is walking down the
7.The past (-ed) e.g. She arrived late.
8.The past participle (-en) e.g. Jim has beaten his
47. Practice 2: Derivational & Inflectional
1. For each word listed below,
identify its lexical category
2. Place a plus sign (+) between
each boundary & label each
morpheme as free (F) or bound
3. Label each bound morpheme
as derivational (D) or
a. Deepen deep + en F+B D