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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    About Morphology

    How many morphemes are there in the sentence, “Our teacher’s wildness shocked the girls’ parents immediately?”

    This question is from my quiz last time. I thought the there are sixteen morphemes in that sentence, but it was wrong. I hope somebody can help me get the correct answer. By the way, what does morpheme mean?
    Last edited by yun4395; 24-Oct-2018 at 17:07.

  2. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: About Morphology

    I'm afraid we don't help with homework.

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: About Morphology

    Quote Originally Posted by yun4395 View Post
    By the way, what does morpheme mean?
    You can count 16 morphemes in that sentence, but you don't know what morpheme means?

  4. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #4

    Re: About Morphology

    How did you come to the total of sixteen?

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    #5

    Re: About Morphology

    Our teach er ’s wild ness shock ed the girl s ’s parent s immediate ly

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    #6

    Re: About Morphology

    Quote Originally Posted by yun4395 View Post
    the girl s ’s parent s
    You appear to have turned one morpheme into two.

  7. Raymott's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: About Morphology

    I see girls' as {girl} + {s = plural} + {' = possessive}, where {} is a morpheme. That's three.

    "Nothing at all is missing in the possessive apostrophe of words ending in /s/ like <the Smiths' car>. There has never been a sound after the /s/. However, there is a zero morpheme: <Smith+s+0> 'Smith + plural + possessive'."
    https://linguistlist.org/issues/13/13-1566.html

  8. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #8

    Re: About Morphology

    Some would argue that immediate has more than one morpheme.

  9. Raymott's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: About Morphology

    Yes, I would agree.
    "from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + mediatus "in the middle" (see mediate)."
    https://www.etymonline.com/word/immediate

  10. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: About Morphology

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    I see girls' as {girl} + {s = plural} + {' = possessive}, where {} is a morpheme. That's three.
    Hmm. I don't think I would 'count' a zero morpheme as a morpheme in a task such as this. For me, morphemes and zero/null morphemes are categorically distinct, so I'd say that there are only two morphemes in girls' [girl + s], and one zero morpheme.

    From Wikipedia, 'Null morpheme':

    The existence of a null morpheme in a word can also be theorized by contrast with other forms of the same word showing alternative morphemes. For example, the singular number of English nouns is shown by a null morpheme that contrasts with the plural morpheme -s.

    • cat = cat + -∅ = ROOT ("cat") + SINGULAR
    • cats = cat + -s = ROOT ("cat") + PLURAL


    If we are to count the possessive marker apostrophe as a morpheme then we should also count cat as having two morphemes, as shown above.

    Anyway, yun4395, did your teacher ask you to consider zero morphemes too?

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