Morphology: the study of structure of words


Linguistics Knowledge [Competence]

1-     Knowledge of sounds of the language

2-     Knowledge of words of the language


Native speaker has a lexicon in the head


Lexicon: Mental Dictionary

1-     Sounds of the words

2-     Grammatical category of word

3-     Meaning of word


Content word: has main meaning of the sentences.

Open class: it accepts the addition of new words


Function words: it shows the relation between words in the sentence.

Closed class: does not accept additional words.


Morpheme: minimal unit of meaning, smallest linguistic unit.


Morpheme      TO         Root      TO       Morpheme




Morpheme Conditions

1-     Cannot be divided

2-     Has to have a meaning


Types of Morphemes:

1-     Free Morphemes: can occurs alone in a sentence

2-     Bound Morphemes: cannot occur alone in a sentence and they have to be attached to another morpheme.


Bound Morphemes are in 4 positions in a word.

1-     Prefixes: attach at the beginning of the free morpheme

2-     Suffixes: attach at the end of the free morpheme

3-     Infixes: attach inside a free morpheme

4-     Circumfixes: attach at the beginning and at the end of a morpheme.


Root: cannot be divided

Stem: is like a host, it can be divided and accepts more morphemes

Word: is the final form, it can be divided but no morphemes can be added to it.


Why study morphemes?

We donít know where one word starts and ends, only native speakers know, so we introduced morphemes.