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LING 1000 (2)
Chapter 2

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University of Guelph
LING 1000
Linda Gerber

Introduction to Linguistics 1 Chapter 2: Morphology: The Words of Language  It is estimated that children of 6 know as many as 13,000 words. 9 new words a day.  Word: A free sound-meaning lexical unit, which may be simple or complex.  Lexicon: The component of the grammar containing speakers’ knowledge about morphemes and words; a speaker’s mental dictionary.  In a particular language the form (sounds or pronunciation) and the meaning of a word are inseparable; they are like two sides of coin.  Homophones: different words with the same sounds but different meanings o Ex: She can’t bear (tolerate) children. She can’t bear (give birth to) children. He stood there—bare and beautiful.  Synonyms: Words with the same or nearly the same meaning  Information about the longest or shortest word in the language is not part of the linguistic knowledge of a language but general conceptual knowledge about a language.  Since each word is a sound-meaning unit, each word stored in our mental dictionaries must be listed with its unique phonological representation, which determines its pronunciation, and with its meaning.  Orthography: the written form of a language; spelling.  Grammatical category: Traditionally called “Part of speech.” Also called syntactic categories. Expressions of the same grammatical category can generally substitute for one another without loss of grammaticality, ex: noun phrase, verb phrase. Dictionaries  Dictionaries grew out of the earlier practice of writing words as translations or “glosses” about especially difficult words in Latin texts and, later, in French ones.  The first dictionary, by Robert Cawdrey, appeared in 1604, with the title A Table Alphabetical, Containing and Teaching the True Writing, and Understanding of Hard Usuall English Words, etc. o It listed some 2,500 “hard words” with their explanations in ordinary language. th  Later, in the 17 century, technical dictionaries giving new terms appeared, such as that of Edward Phillips, Milton’s nephew, who listed technical consultants such as Robert Boyle for chemistry and Izaak Walton for fishing. He also indicated the subject field of each term and gave the language of origin.  It was not until the next century that anyone thought of including in the dictionary all words in the language.  Nathanael Bailey first included ordinary words in his universal etymological English dictionary as much for his interest in etymology as for completeness.  Johnsons “great Dictionary of the English Language,” published in 1755 in 2 volumes was intended to serve as such a standard, and indeed it did for over a century.  He eventually gave up because he stated that he could not construct the language but only register the language.  By the end of the 18 century, pronouncing dictionaries appeared to show not only how words were spelled but also how they were pronounced, and pronunciations became a regular part of dictionaries.  In the US, Noah Webster tried to rival Johnson’s dictionary in his American Dictionary of the English Language in 2 volumes.  He was fired with the idea that the US should have their own version of language.  The latest revision of Merriam-Webster is Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of the English Language: Unabridged, containing some 450,000 entries.  The End of the 19 century saw the beginning of the Oxford English Dictionary, which was called the greatest lexicographic work in English nd produced to date. The 2 edition was in 1989 and had 20 volumes.  A Dictionary of Canadianism on Historical Principles appeared in Canada’s centennial year of 1967.  All dictionaries, from the OED to the more commonly used “collegiate dictionaries,” provide the following information about each word: o Spelling o The “standard” pronunciation o Definitions to represent the words one or more meanings o Parts of speech. Content Words and Function Words  Content words: The nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs that constitute the major part of the vocabulary  Open class: The class of lexical content words; a category of words that commonly adds new words ex: nouns, verbs.  Function Words: A word that does not have clear lexical meaning but has a grammatical function; function words include conjunctions, prepositions, articles, auxiliaries, complementizers and pronouns.  Closed Class: A category, generally a functional category that rarely has new words added to it. Ex: Prepositions, conjunctions  Generic Term: A word that applies to a whole class, such as dog in the dog is found throughout the world. A word that ordinarily has the semantic feature (+male) when used to refer to both sexes, ex: mankind meaning the human race.  The brain treats content and function words differently. Morphemes: The Minimal Units of Meaning Introduction to Linguistics 3 Chapter 2: Morphology: The Words of Language  Morphemes: Smallest unit of linguistic meaning or function. Ex: sheepdogs contains 3 morphemes: sheep, dog, and the function morpheme for plural, s.  Morphology: The study of the structure of words; the component of the grammar that includes the rules of word formation. The science of word forms.  Discreteness: A fundamental property of human language in which larger linguistic units are perceived to be composed of smaller linguistic units. Ex: cat is perceived as the phonemes /k/, /ae/, /t/; the cat is perceived as the and cat. o Discrete language units combine in rule-governed ways to form larger units. Sound units combine to form morphemes, morphemes combine to form words, and words combine to form larger units—phrases and sentences.  Linguistic creativity means that not only can we understand words that we have never heard before, but also we can create new words. Bound and Free Morphemes Prefixes and Suffixes  Free morphemes: A single morpheme that constitutes a word  Affixes: Bound morpheme attaches to a stem or root.  Bound Morphemes: Morpheme that must be attached to other morphemes. Bound morphemes are prefixes, suffixes, infixes, circumfixes, and some roots, such as cran in cranberry.  Prefixes: An affix that is attached to the beginning of a morpheme or stem  Suffixes: An affix that is attached to the end of a morpheme or stem. Ex: -er in Lew is Taller than Bill.  Morphemes are the minimal linguistic signs in all languages, and many language have prefixes and suffixes.  But languages may differ in how they deploy their morphemes.  A morpheme that is a prefix is one language may be a suffix in another and vice versa.  Language may also differ in what meanings they express though affixation. Infixes  Infixes: A bound morpheme that is inserted in the idle of a word or stem.  English has a very limited set of infixes.  English infixing was a subject of the Linguist List, a discussion group on the Internet, in November 1993 and in July 1996.  The interest in these infixes in English may be due to the fact that one can only infix obscenities as full words inserted in other words, usually into adjectives or adverbs.  The most common infix in North America is the word fuckin. Circumfixes  Circumfixes: Bound morpheme, parts of which occur in a word both before and after the root.  Discontinuous morphemes: A morpheme with multiple parts that occur in more than one place in a word or sentence. Roots and Stems  Roots: The morpheme that remains when all affixes are stripped down from a complex word.  Stem: The base to which one or more affixes are attached to create a more complex that may be another stem or a word. Huckles and Ceives.  The definition of a morpheme has developed problems for linguistic analysis for many years, although it holds for most of the morphemes in a language.  Bound forms such as huckle-, boysen-, and luke- require a redefinition of the concept of morpheme.  Some morphemes have no meaning in isolation but acquire meaning only in combination with other specific morphemes.  Just as there are some morphemes that occur only in a single word (combined with another morpheme), there are other morphemes that occur in many words but seem to lack a constant meaning.  Etymemes: A bound base that has etymological relevance. (Ex: -ceive in receive)  Reason for the word strawberry: page 46  The meaning of a morpheme must be constant. The morpheme –er mean
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