The Importance of Morphemic Analysis in English Learning

1887 Words Jul 13th, 2011 8 Pages
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In linguistics, a morpheme is the smallest component of a word, or other linguistic unit, that has semantic meaning. The term is used as part of the branch of linguistics known as morphology (linguistics). A morpheme is composed by phoneme(s) (the smallest linguistically distinctive units of sound) in spoken language, and by grapheme(s) (the smallest units of written language) in written language.
The concept of word and morpheme are different: a morpheme may or may not stand alone. One or several morphemes compose a word. A morpheme is free if it can stand alone (ex: "lie", "cake"), or bound if it is used exclusively alongside a free morpheme (ex: "im" in
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Changing definitions of Morpheme
In gennerative grammar the definition of a morpheme depends heavily on whether syntactic trees have morphemes as leafs or features as leafs. • Direct surface to syntax mapping LFG – leafs are words • Direct syntax to semantics mapping o Leafs in syntactic trees spell out morphemes: Distributed morphology – leafs are morphemes o Branches in syntactic trees spell out morphemes:Radical Minimalism and Nanosyntax -leafs are "nano" morpho-syntactic features
Given the definition of morpheme as "the smallest meaningful unit" Nanosyntax aims to account for idioms where it is often an entire syntactic tree which contributes "the smallest meaningful unit." An example idiom is "Don't let the cat out of the bag" where the idiom is composed of "let the cat out of the bag" and that might be considered a semantic morpheme, which is composed of many syntactic morphemes. Other cases where the "smallest meaningfull unit" is larger than a word include some collocations such as "in view of" and "business intelligence" where the words together have a specific meaning.
The definition of morphemes also play a significant role in the interfaces of generative grammar in the following theoretical constructs; • Event semantics The idea that each productive morpheme must have a compositional semantic meaning (a denotation), and if the meaning is there, there must be
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