Morphology - Unit One - Lesson No. 1

What is morphology?

Morphology is the field of linguistics which studies the word structures. Words typically have internal structures and they consist of morphemes. For instance, the word talking is composed of two morphemes: talk and -ing. Similarly, the noun textbook consists of two morphemes text and book. You notice that morphemes can take several shapes: some of them can stand alone and some of them have to be a part of another word.

Morphology is divided into two broad areas: inflectional morphology and derivational morphology. Inflectional morphology examines how words change in shape, but do not lose the class or grammatical category. Derivational morphology examines how the words change in shape and in grammatical categories.

There are other types of morphology. These types originates due to different views of the linguistic theories and of the lexicon in the brain. For instance, generative morphology is the most famous one of all types. It views the lexicon as composed of hierarchical structures which can be generated or reduced to rules and features. Another type of morphology is the distributive morphology. It holds the view that the morphological processing and representation is distributed over other structures of human brain, and it denies the existence of generative lexicon.

What matters most in this course is to get familiar with the basic concepts of morphology, word formation, types of morphemes and morphological changes that take place inside word during forming new words. Morphology is one of the basic levels of linguistics analysis. Once you analyze the sound system of a given language, you need to analyze the words. That is what morphology is all about. However, morphology is related to other disciplines of linguistics such as lexicography, semantics and syntax. You will learn more about such relation when you study further courses in LLT Academia.

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