LIN102H5 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Preposition And Postposition, Affix, Part Of Speech
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"Carve every word before you let it fall" - Oliver Wendell Holmes
-Nothing is more important to language than words, as words carry meaning; unlike phonemes
-Words are also permanently stored in a speaker's mental dictionary, known as lexicon
-The term morphology is used to refer to the part of the grammar that is concerned with words
and word formation
-Linguists define the "word" as the "smallest free form" found in language. A free form is an
element that does not have to occur in a fixed position with respect to neighbouring elements; it
can even appear in isolation.
--> For example: Dinosaurs are extinct.
The plural marker "-s" is not a word nor a free form, thus it never occurs in isolation and cannot
be separated from the noun to which it belongs
Thus, the example above would be acceptable, but the following example would not; Dinosaur
are -s extinct
-Some words, such as "are", normally don't occur in isolation but they are still free forms, as
their positioning with respect to neighbouring words is not entirely fixed;
A. Dinosaurs are extinct
B. Are dinosaurs extinct?
-The most important component of word structure is the morpheme, the smallest unit of language
that carries information about meaning or function
For example: The word "builder" has 2 morphemes; build (with the meaning "construct") and -er
(which indicates that the entire word functions as a noun with the meaning 'one who builds')
Example #2: The word "houses" also has 2 morphemes; house (meaning dwelling) and -s
(meaning 'more than one')
-Some words may solely consist of a single morpheme, such as "train", since it can't be divided
into smaller parts; these words are said to be simple and are distinguised from complex words,
which contain two or more morphemes
One Two Three 3+
Hunt Hunt-er Hunt-er-s
Act Act-ive Act-iv-ate Re-act-iv-
-A morpheme that can be a word by itself is called "free", whereas a morpheme that must be
attached to another element is "bound"
For example; "boy" would be free BUT "boys" would be bound
-The variant pronunciations of a morpheme are called its "allomorphs"
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