Morphology - Unit Two - Lesson No. 9

Portmanteau morpheme

A portmanteau morpheme is a morpheme which represents a togetherness of two or more morphemes. The word was, for example, represents a togetherness of {be}, {past} and {singular}. Similarly, the word is represents a togetherness of {be}, {third person}, {singular} and {present}. It was Hockett (1947) who used this technical term for the first time.

Another sense of the term "portmanteau" is blending, where we form a new word by joining parts of two other words and then combining their meanings. Examples include smog from “smoke” and “fog”; brunch from “breakfast” and “lunch”; motel from “motor” and “hotel”;informacial from “info + commercial”; and urianalysis from ”urine + analysis”. The information technology has also contributed to blends with such words as podcast which has recently joined English as a blend of “iPod” and “broadcast” (Fromkin 2009: 503).

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