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    morph and morpheme

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

    It's kind of you to provide some examples

    • Join Date: Dec 2009
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    Re: morph and morpheme

    (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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