A Note on Morphemes
Write a note on morphemes.
A morpheme is the smallest meaningful unit of language. It is a fundamental concept in linguistics. It plays a significant role in understanding the structure and meaning of words. Morphemes are used to form words. On the basis of their meaning and function they are analysed and categorised.
There are two main types of morphemes: Free Morphemes and Bound Morphemes.
(A) Free Morphemes: Free Morphemes are independent units. They can stand alone as words. They can carry independent meaning. For example, in the word 'bookshelf,' both 'book' and 'shelf' are Free Morphemes. They can function independently. Both of them have their own meaning.
(B) Bound Morphemes: Bound Morphemes cannot stand alone as words. They must be attached to other morphemes. Bound Morphemes can be divided into two subcategories: prefixes and suffixes. A prefix is a morpheme that is added at the beginning of a word while a suffix is added at the end. For example, in the word ‘unhappiness,’ ‘un-‘ is a prefix and ‘-ness’ is a suffix. They modify the meaning of the root word to which they are attached.
Morphemes can also be categorized based on their meaning. For example, Derivational Morphemes modify the meaning or part of speech of a word. They can create new words by adding prefixes or suffixes. ‘er’ in ‘teacher’ is an example of Derivational Morphemes. In contrast, Inflectional Morphemes do not change the meaning or part of speech. They only indicate grammatical relationships such as tense, number, or case. Examples of Inflectional Morphemes include ‘-s’ to indicate plural (e.g., cats) or ‘-ed’ to indicate past tense (e.g., walked).
It is very important to understand morphemes in linguistic analysis. It is because it helps in studying word formation, word meaning, and the relationships between different words. In short, morphemes are the building blocks of words. Its study enables the understanding of how language is constructed and how meaning is conveyed through words.