Language in Diversity



The definitions of morphology based on the authors above

  • Francis Katamba

Morphology is the study of the internal structure of words did not emerge as a distinct sub-branch of linguistics. The claim that words have structure might come as a surprise because normally speakers think of words as a surprise because normally speakers think of words as indivisible units of meaning. This is probably due to the fact that many words are morphologically simple. For example the, desk, boot, mosquito, etc., could not be segmented (divided up) into smaller units that are themselves meaningful. But very many English words are morphologically complex. They can be broken down into smaller units that are meaningful. Like desk-s and boot-s, for instance, where desk refers into one piece of furniture and boot refers to one item of footwear, while in both cases the –s serves the grammatical function of indicating plurality.

  • George Yule

Morphology is the study of forms or investigating forms in language, which literary means ‘ the study of form’ was originally used in biology, but since the mid nineteenth century, has also been used to describe that type of investigation which analyzes all basic elements which are used in language.

  • Nirmala Sari

Morphology is the study of word formation.

  • Victoria Fromkin & Robert Rodman

Morphology is Rodman Morphology is the study of the internal structure of words, and of the rules by which words are formed. This word itself consists of two morphemes, morph + ology. the morphemic suffix –oology means “science of” or “branch of knowledge concerning.” Thus, the meaning of morphology is “the science of word forms.”

The definition of morpheme based on the authors above

  • Francis Katamba

Morpheme is the smallest units of meaning and grammatical function or Morpheme is a minimal unit having more or less constant meaning associated with more or less constant form. E.g.teacher (teach-er-s).

  • George Yule

Morpheme is a minimal unit of meaning or grammatical function, for instance ‘rearranged’. Re-arrange-d   (-d) in this case is as grammatical function, shows past time.

  • Nirmala Sari

Morpheme is a minimal unit having more or less constant meaning associated with more or less constant form / a linguistics unit that is defined by a (more or less) constant core meaning associated with a (more or less) constant form.

  • Victoria Fromkin & Robert Rodman

Morpheme is the minimal units of meaning or Morpheme is the traditional term for the most elemental unit of grammatical form. It is also recognized as the minimal units of meaning.

The phonological descriptions:

  • George Yule’s statement


  1. a.      Lexical
  2. b.      Functional
  1. c.       Derivational
  2. d.      Inflectional

NB: There are allocations of Free (Lexical & Functional) and Bound (Derivational & Inflectional) below:

  1. a.      : noun, adjective, verb
  2. b.      : conjunction, preposition, article, pronoun
  3. c.       : to make new words, often used to make words of different grammar category
  4. d.      : used to produce new words, rather to indicate aspects of the grammar function

For example:  the student’s fluency surprised his lecturers.

The                  : functional

Boy’s               : boy (lexical), s (inflectional)

Wildness         : wild (lexical), ness (derivational)

Surprised         : surprise (lexical), d (inflectional)

His                   : functional

Mother           : lexical

  • Nirmala Sari’s Statement


  1. a.      Free
  2. b.      Bound
  1. c.       Free
  2. d.      Bound : –     Derivational

–          Inflectional

NB: There are allocations of Lexical (Free & Bound) and Grammatical (Free & Bound (Derivational & Inflectional) below:

  1. a.      : noun, verb, adjective
  2. b.      : subvert, invert, convert, receive, perceive, conceive
  3. c.       : preposition, conjunction, article, pronoun
  4. d.      : derivational (suffixes: ly, ness, ion, al, ist, ity)

              Inflectional (suffixes: er, ed, s, s, ‘s, er)

  • Francis Katamba’s Statement

Lexeme is an abstract word. When we search studied, for instance, in the dictionary, we will automatically search the word STUDY. Studying, studied, studies have a same origin word, that is STUDY.STUDY and another abstract words are listed in the dictionary. Lexemes are marked by the capital letter. The realization of lexemes is called word-form and the function is called grammatical words.


GO                       going, went, gone, goes                      usually I go  to campus everyday

=                                   =                                                                            =

Lexeme                  word form                                                         grammatical word

(go: verb, present, non 3rd person)

Root, Affixes, Stems, and Bases

A root is the irreducible core of a word, with absolutely nothing else attached to it.


Rented                                     Rent (root)


Affix is a morpheme which only occurs when attached to some other morpheme or morphemes such as a root or stem or base.


Bound       Derivational (-un, -in)Inflectional (-s, -ed, -ing)

Stem is that part of a word that is in existence before any inflectional affixes.

Root + Inflectional affixes


example:          Walks                          : cat     root = stem

Reading                       : read     root = stem

Workers (worker +s)   : worker = stem

work = root

Base is any unit whatsoever to which affixes of any kind can be added.

Root + Inflectional affixes


Root + Inflectional affixes


Root + derivational affixes


Example in identifying the inflectional affixes, derivational affixes, roots, bases, and stem in the following words: faiths, faithfully, unfaithful, faithfulness, frogmarched, bookshops, window-cleaners, and hardships:

Inflectional    Derivational              Roots               Stems                        Bases

Affixes             Affixes

-ed                   un-                               faith                 faith                          faith

-es                   -ful                              frog                 frog march              faithful

-ly                                 march              bookshop             frog march

-er                                clean             window cleaner    bookshop

-ness                            hard                 hardship             window-clean

-ship                            window                                         window-cleaner

Book                                   hardship


  •  The statement of Victoria Fromkin and Robert Rodman

Lexical content or root morphemes constitute the major word classes-nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. These are open class items because their classes are easily added to.

Morphemes may be derivational or inflectional. Derivational morphological rules are rules of word formation. Derivational morphemes, when added to root or stem, may change the syntactic word class and/or the meaning of the world. Inflectional morphemes are determined by the rules of syntax. They are added to complete words to complete word, whether simple monomorphemic words or complex polymorphomic words. Inflectional morphemes never change the syntactic category of the word.

Some grammatical morpheme or function words, together with bound inflectional morphemes, constitute a closed class; they are inserted into sentences according to the syntactic structure. The past tense morpheme, often written as ed, is added as a suffix for a verb, and the future tense morpheme will, is inserted in a sentence according to the syntactic rules of English.


  1. Affix

Root Derivational:

–          Prefix (Pre- , Un-,  Con-)

–          Suffix (-ly, -ist, -ment)


            – Suffix ( ing, -er, -s, -s, -est, -‘s, -en, -ed)

b. Root : -ceive, -mit, -fer


  1. Open Class (Content or Lexical) Words nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs

b. Closed Class (Function or Grammatical) Words conjunctions, prepositions, articles, pronouns, auxilary


  1. Yule, George. 1987. The study of language: An Introduction. Cambridge University Press: New York.
  2.  Sari, Nirmala. 1998. An Introduction to Linguistics. Depdikbud RI: Jakarta.
  3. Katamba, Francis. 1993. Morphology. Macmillan Press Ltd: London.
  4. Fromkin, Victoria and Robert Rodman. 1998. An Introduction to Language. Harcourt brace College Publishers: Florida.



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