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saddouda

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what is the difference between free and bound morphemes and plase can you give me exaples
 

mara_ce

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Boys is a word made up of two morphemes: boy (the stem, a free morpheme, one that can stand on its own) and -s (a bound morpheme, one that cannot stand on its own).

Bedroom is a word made up of two free morphemes that can stand on their own ( bed and room).
 

Linguist__

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Free morphemes are morphemes that can stand alone and still have semantic/functional meaning. They can be split into two categories:


  • Lexical - nouns, verbs, adjectives (words that carry meaning and are the content of a message)
  • Functional - conjunctions, prepositions, determiners, pronouns (words which have no semantic meaning as such, but perform a grammatical role)

Bound morphemes do not exist on their own and are attached to free morphemes (the are bound to them). They too can be split into two categories:


  • Derivational - these give rise to new words, often changing the word class, for example: suffixes: -ish, -ness, -ly, -ment; prefixes: re-, pre-, ex-, dis-, co-, un-.
  • Inflectional - these indicate aspects of grammatical function, for example: -ed, -s, -ing, -er, -est, -'s.

The bound morphemes are added to the free morpheme (also known as the 'stem') by two processes; affixation and modification. Affixation is the easiest to notice - it is simply the free morpheme with the affix attached. In English, all inflectional morphemes are suffixes - cars, walking, talked. Derivational morphemes can either be prefixes - disappear; suffixes - shyness; or indeed both - untimely.

Modification is more complex and applies to irregular forms. In most cases part of the stem (most commonly the vowel) changes its sound structure when the morpheme is added. This is called partial modification - man - men, catch - caught, go - gone. In English, there is only one example of total modification, that is there are no features left of the original stem when the bound morpheme is added - go - went.

There are also some cases of a combination of affixation and modification - child - children (note the difference in vowel sound -the modification, although this is not represented in the spelling).

So, remember that words that have been modified by a bound morpheme contain two morphemes - the free morpheme + the bound morpheme. When we talk about morphemes, we name them according to their grammatical function. This is because, for example, the 'past morpheme' doesn't modify the stem the same way in each irregular past tense verb - caught, went, did all contain the past morpheme.

men = man + plural morpheme
caught = catch + past morpheme
children = child + plural morpheme (and remember the plural morpheme here is both affixed (-ren) and partially modified (the vowel sound)
went = go + past tense morpheme

I hope this clarifies your question.
 
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saddouda

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thank you for your clearification , it was helpful alot , but still that created aother question inside me , you said that bound morphemes are split into two ,how about the word tenant , it is said that the root "ten" is a bound moprheme because the meaning of the root is taken from latine which means to hold , so i think that creates the third categorie no ?
 

Linguist__

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I would say what comes from Latin, Greek, German, French etc in English doesn't matter when it comes to morphemes. The morphemes need to have meaning in English. 'Ten' in English has no meaning of 'holding'. There are words whose etymology comes from this meaning - tenant, tenancy, tenure - but these are words on their own. Tenancy might be 'tenant + '-y' morpheme', I'm not sure.

This doesn't mean that 'tenant' is two free morphemes joined together; 'ten' is a morpheme; 'ant' is a morpheme. The word's meaning has to be derived from at least something in the morphemes that create it. Thus, tenant is one free morpheme.
 
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