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  1. #1
    Open-minded's Avatar
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    Default Morpheme and Morph

    Could any one please tell me what is the difference between morpheme , morph and allomorph?


    It's kind of you to provide some examples

  2. #2
    Linguist__ is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Morpheme and Morph

    I understand that you already posted this elsewhere, and I answered it there. But just in case you didn't see, I'll paste the same answer here.

    (Not a teacher)

    A morpheme is defined as 'the smallest linguistic unit that has semantic meaning'. If you cannot 'split' the word any further into smaller parts, then this is the morpheme, e.g. 'the' is a morpheme as there is no smaller unit of meaning within it. 'Unthinkable' has three morphemes - 'un-' 'think' and '-able'. Often, a word with more than one morpheme uses affixes like 'un-' and '-able' here.

    A morph is simply the phonetic representation of a morpheme - how the morpheme is said. This distinction occurs because the morpheme can remain the same, but the pronunciation changes.

    The best example of this is the plural morpheme in English '-s'. '-s' is the morpheme, but the morph changes in different words:

    Cats - '-s' morpheme is pronounced /s/
    Dogs - '-s' morpheme is pronounced /z/
    Houses - '-s' morpheme is pronounced /ɪz/

    These various pronunciations are the morphs of the morpheme '-s'.

    This leads onto what an allomorph is. Allomorphs are the varieties of a morpheme, which is closely related to the morph. The morph is just how you pronounce the morpheme, the allomorph is the variation in pronunciation.

    So, the morpheme '-s' (plural) has three allomorphs with the morph /s/, /z/, and /ɪz/.

    I hope that's clear.

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    Default Re: Morpheme and Morph

    That's wow.

    Thank you so much for the great answer

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    Default Re: Morpheme and Morph

    Hi,
    Thank you "Linguist" for useful explanation.
    Can I add more things?

    As far as I know, morphe is the actual forms realizing morpheme like phones as the actual phonetic realization of phonemes.
    The form of cats consists of two morphs (cat-s), realizing a lexical morpheme (cat) and an infelectional morpheme (plural).

    Now If you are supposed to recognize morphs and allomorphs of a word like sheep or men, you should refer to this formula;
    Man+plural, Sheep+plural. The allomorph of plural is a zero-morph, so;
    plural form of sheep is actually;
    "sheep+0".

    Please look at this;
    "man+plural" or "go+past" at the morpheme level are lealized as men and went at the morph level.

    In my opinion, morphems and phenemes are abstract and morphs and phones are concrete.

    One thing we indicate phone like this [a] and phoneme like this /a/.

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    Default Re: Morpheme and Morph

    I'm really confused by this 'morpheme' subject.

    What is the difference between a morpheme and a syallable?

  6. #6
    Linguist__ is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Morpheme and Morph

    Quote Originally Posted by indonesia View Post
    I'm really confused by this 'morpheme' subject.

    What is the difference between a morpheme and a syallable?
    Well, generally, languages like to have a consonant beginning a syllable, would you agree?

    So, If we take the word 'cooking', taking consonants as 'C' and vowels as 'V' this would be written CVCVC. The preferences of languages in syllabfication, this would be split as CV.CVC, that is, the first syllable is 'coo-' the second syllable is '-king'. 'coo' is a morpheme (the kind of quiet talking, or noise pigeons make), and so is 'king', but they have to relation to 'cooking'. Rather, cooking is made up of the morphemes 'cook' and '-ing' - the progressive form/gerund.

    Another example. Let's take the word 'example'. It is made up of three syllables - 'e-' '-xam-' '-ple'. None of these have any meaning on their own. So example doesn't have any morphemes, it is a morpheme - it is the smallest unit of meaning you can obtain from the word.

    Hopefully then you can see that a morpheme and a syllable have no relation. Morphemes are the smallest units of meaning. Syllables have no intrinsic meaning.

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    Default Re: Morpheme and Morph

    So, do the seperate morpemes have to have a relationship with the main word?
    Like in your example: cooking - 'cook' and 'ing'.

    How about this word: unsteadily

    would I break it down like this 'un' - 'steady' - 'ly' ?

    Thanks for your help

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Morpheme and Morph

    But what about the "-y" if "steady"? It seems to me that there are four morphemes. One negates it, one is a noun, one converts the noun into an adjective, and one converts the adjective into an adverb.

    I am out of my realm, here, but I am wondering.

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