Morphology, Part 2
January 26, 2012
Mr. Burns Quick Write
• Is it realistic to portray Mr. Burns as having a dictionary
inside his head?
Interesting Thoughts
The Last Word(s)
In Our Last Episode
• Words and morphemes (meaningful “word parts”)
• Word-formation rules
• Free and bound morphemes
• Simple and complex words
• Affixes and roots
Tree Structures
• In this class, we’ll primarily stick with tree diagrams to
represent word structure.
• (because they look better and are easier to read)
re
construct
ion
un
desire
• Tree terminology: branches
• nodes: where two branches meet
• nodes represent constituents of the word
able
Building the Perfect Beasts
• To accurately capture all of the facts of word formation…
• tree structures should represent the lexical categories
of all constituents at each node in the tree.
Noun
Adj
Verb
Adj
Aff
Verb
Aff
Aff
Verb
Aff
[re-]
[construct]
[-ion]
[un-] [desire] [-able]
Test Case
• What should the tree diagram for “reassignment” look like?
3. reassignment
Noun
2. reassign
Verb
Aff
Verb
Aff
[re-]
[assign]
[-ment]
1. assign
Another Test Case
• How about the tree diagram for “miscategorization”?
4. miscategorization
Noun
3. miscategorize
Verb
2. categorize
Verb
*miscategory
Aff
Noun
[mis-] [category]
Aff
Aff
[-ize]
[-ation] 1. category
Ambiguity
• Some complex words can have more than one
interpretation
• Different derivations can result in different interpretations
• Example: “unlockable”
Note: [un-] can
attach to both
adjectives and verbs
[-able] attaches to
verbs and creatives
adjectives
Unlockable, part 1
Adj
Adj
Aff
Verb
Aff
[un-]
[lock]
[-able]
• = not able to be locked
Unlockable, part 2
Adj
Verb
Aff
Verb
Aff
[un-]
[lock]
[-able]
• = able to be unlocked
Inflections vs. Derivations
•
1.
Linguists draw another distinction among affixes:
Inflectional affixes:
• mark grammatical properties
• (person, number, gender, tense, aspect)
• don’t change other aspects of meaning
• are required by rules of sentence structure
• create a new “word form”
2. Derivational affixes:
• change meaning
• create a new word
• (typically) have clear semantic content
• may change the lexical category of the word
Inflectional Affixes
•
There are precisely eight inflectional affixes in English:
1. -s
3rd person
wait --> waits
2. -ing
progressive
wait --> waiting
3. -ed
past tense
wait --> waited
4. -en
past participle
eat --> eaten
5. -s
plural
card --> cards
6. -’s
possessive
dad --> dad’s
7. -er
comparative
tall --> taller
8. -est
superlative
weak --> weakest
•
All of these are suffixes.
Inflectional Affixes
• Other languages can have a lot more inflectional affixes.
• Examples from French: parler “to speak”
• 1st person, plural: parlons
“We speak”
• 2nd person, plural: parlez
“You guys speak”
• Past tense:
• 1st person, singular: parlais
“I spoke”
• 1st person, plural: parlions
“We spoke”
• 2nd person, plural: parliez
“You guys spoke”
• Plus many, many more.
• Note: Volapük. (http://www.visi.com/~dean/volverb.html)
Derivational Affixes
• In contrast to inflectional affixes, derivational affixes:
• Create new words when they’re attached to roots
• Examples:
• re-
cycle --> recycle
• de-
code --> decode
• -y
fish --> fishy
• -ize
vandal --> vandalize
• Also: English has far more derivational affixes than
inflectional affixes.
• For fairness’ sake: http://www.visi.com/~dean/volword.html
Picky, Picky (last time)
• Inflectional affixes are always going to attach to a root
with a particular part of speech.
• Plural noun = singular noun + “s”
• birds = bird + s
dogs = dog + s
• Past tense verb = present tense verb + “ed”
• waited = wait + ed
talked = talk + ed
• Comparative adjective = adjective + “er”
• taller = tall + er
shorter = short + er
• Q: if both a derivational and an inflectional affix attach to
a root, which will attach first?
The Relationship
• A: Derivational affixes will always attach before
inflectional affixes do.
• Remember: derivational affixes create new words;
• Inflectional affixes just create new word forms.
• Examples: blackened, governments, *neighborshood
Verb
Noun
Verb
Adj
DAff.
black -en
Noun
IAff.
Verb
DAff.
-ed
govern -ment
IAff.
-s
A Note on Word Forms
• Morphologists use the term lexeme to refer to a group of
related word forms.
• wait, waits, waited, waiting, etc.
• The canonical form of the lexeme is called the lemma.
• = the “headword” in a dictionary.
lemma
word
forms
different
lexeme
• Inflectional affixes relate a lexeme to its various forms.
• Derivational affixes relate one lexeme to another
lexeme.
The Class System
•
In English, there are two types of derivational affixes:
1. Class 1
•
(or Level 1)
•
Often cause phonological (sound) changes in the
root
•
Also cause more profound semantic (meaning)
changes to the root
•
Can combine with bound roots, too.
•
Ex: -ity, -y, -ion
For instance:
•
Electric  electricity; stupid  stupidity
•
democrat  democracy; nation
The Class System
• Class 2 (or Level 2)
• Don’t cause phonological (sound) changes in root.
• Less of a semantic (meaning) effect, too.
• Ex: -ness, -less, -er, -ish
• Normally, Class 1 affixes attach to the root before Class
2 affixes.
• relational
-ion (1), -al (1)
• divisiveness
-ive (1), -ness (2)
• *fearlessity
-less (2), -ity (1)
• fearlessness
-less (2), -ness (2)
Productivity
• Productivity = the extent to which a word-formation rule
can be applied to new morphemes, to form new words
• Class 2 affixes tend to be more productive than Class 1
affixes.
• -ness vs. -ity
• both attach to: adjectives
• both form: nouns
• both mean: the quality of the adjective
blindness
stupidity
happiness
validity
goodness
complexity
Productiveness
• -ness is very productive, so it can expand its reach to
other words:
• stupidness, validness, complexness
• The same is not true of -ity:
• *blindity, *happity, *goodity
• -ness is so productive, it can also be affixed to new
words:
truthy + -ness

truthiness
chair + -ness

chairness
productive + -ness

productiveness
Finiteness
• Note that “finitude” is the (awkward?) alternative.
• Another (formerly?) productive affix: -age
• wordage, sleepage, etc.
Unproductivity
• -able is another very productive morpheme:
• make-fun-of-able
• Other morphemes are not so lucky:
• -th: warm + -th
=
warmth
wide + -th
=
width
deep + -th
=
depth
cool + -th
=
*coolth
=
moisten
red + -en
=
redden
cute + -en
=
?cuten
• -en: moist + -en
abstract + -en =
*abstracten
An Intermediate Case
• -ify attached to adjectives to form verbs
• just + -ify
pure + -ify
=
justify
=
purify
• quick + -ify =
?quickify
smart + -ify =
?smartify
• An anecdotal case
busy + -ify =
busify
ugly + -ify
uglify
=
• -ify has limited productivity
Blocking
• Productivity can sometimes be limited by the existence of
other words
• intelligent + -ness =
*intelligentness
• “intelligence” gets in the way
• it blocks intelligentness from existence
• true + -ness =
*trueness
(truth)
• inhabit + -er=
*inhabiter
(inhabitant)
• guide + -er =
*guider
(guide)
• In other cases, a new word gets created anyway:
• pride + -ful =
prideful
(proud)
Content and Function Words
• One last distinction: there are both content and
function words.
• Content words =
• have some semantic content (meaning)
• nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs
• ex: politics, baseball, socks, green, create
• Function words =
• specify grammatical relations
• have little or no semantic content
• prepositions, pronouns, conjunctions
Content and Function Words
• Content words are an “open class”--
• we can add new members anytime we want.
• Function words are a “closed class”-• it’s not easy (or possible?) to add new members.
• When was the last time you heard a new pronoun? Or
new preposition?
• (thoughts on the quick write?)
• Our minds also process function words differently from
content words.
• For instance, how many ‘F’s are in the following
passage?…
Check This Out
FINISHED FILES ARE THE
RESULT OF YEARS OF SCIENTIFIC
STUDY COMBINED WITH THE
EXPERIENCE OF YEARS.
You might want to read through it again.
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General Morphology Thoughts