The Structure of English

The Structure of English

Universit di Cagliari Corso di Laurea in Economia e Gestione Aziendale Economia e Finanza Lingua e Comunicazione Luisanna Fodde a.a. 2014/2015 1

The main branches of grammar Two domains: MORPHOLOGY and SYNTAX Morphology deals with the structure of words (inflectional endings and the way words can be built from smaller units of language). Sintax, instead deals with the structure of sentences The word MORPHOLOGY comes from the Greek morphe () = form, structure+ logos ())= study, estimate, but also statement, phrase The word SYNTAX comes from Latin syntaxis and earlier from Greek syn+assein = together + arrange= arrange together!!!!

MORPHOLOGY Studies the structure and form of words or morphemes. A morpheme is the smallest word unit. It may have a meaning or a grammatical function The system of morphemes constitutes the lexicon of a language. MORPHOLOGY

Words can be easily broken down into meaningful parts: KIND-NESS; UN-LIKE-LI-HOOD; DIS-LIKE LIKE-S GO-ES Morphology Many words, such as boy, a, yes, person,

elephant, problem CANNOT BE BROKEN DOWN INTO GRAMMATICAL OR MEANINGFUL PARTS These words are made only of a BASE form (also called ROOT or STEM). In these cases, all we can do is describe the meaning of these words, and how they are pronounced or spelled (number of syllables, pattern of vowels and consonants)

5 Morphology Words can be constructed out of elements, or MORPHEMES, the smallest meaningful elements. The way morphemes operate in a language

provides the subject matter of MORPHOLOGY When there is a clear sequence of elements, it is easy to analyse words HORSE-S, SUCCESSFUL. In many languages (AGGLUTINATING L.), it is quite normal to have long sequences of morphemes: 6 Morphology English has not many words of that type.

ANTIDISESTABLISHMENTARIANISM Agglutinating and inflecting languages, like LATIN, TURKISH, ESKIMO, ALL AMERICAN INDIAN LANGUAGES, make widespread use of morphological 7 THE MORPHEME The smallest unit of a sentence with an

independent function. Morphemes are not the same as syllables: POSSESS, STUDY have only 1 morpheme (BASE FORM ROOTSTEM) but 2 syllables. The meaning or grammatical structure of these 2 words cannot be simplified any further. 8 POSSESS-ION;POSSESS-ED; RE-POSSESS-

Types of Morphemes FREE MORPHEMES can operate freely in the language, occurring as separate words: study ; go; yes BOUND MORPHEMES cannot occur on their own (anti-; -ation; -ment; -s; -ed). Bound morphemes can be INFLECTIONAL or DERIVATIONAL 9

TYPES OF MORPHEMS Bound morphemes are also called AFFIXES (meaningful, dependent elements added both before and after the base form): 1. PREFIXES precede the base form; 2. SUFFIXES follow the base form. 10

WORD FORMATION PREFIXES in English have mostly a purely LEXICAL role. They allow the construction of new words, changing the meaning of their base form (root-stem): un-; de-; anti-; superSUFFIXES in English are of 2 kinds: DERIVATIONAL (lexical) s. change the meaning of the base form (-ness; -ship; -able); INFLECTIONAL s. are purely grammatical (plural, past, possessive).

MULTIPLE AFFIXES: UN-LIKE-LI- HOOD 11 Types of morphemes Thus, words are usually formed by a base to which affixes are added. When the base cannot be reduced, as in the case of a work like kind in the word kindness, such morphemes are called ROOTS and they are FREE. Bound morphemes are mainly used to modify the form of

words or to create new words. The functions described above pertain to the major branches of morphology: INFLECTIONAL and DERIVATIONAL MORPHOLOGY12 The branches of Morphology Inflectional Morphology studies the way in which words vary (inflect) in order to express grammatical contrasts. Generally speaking, verbs inflect according to mood,

tense, person and number. Nouns and adjectives according to gender and number. The English language carries out its inflectional processes with the addition of a limited number of morphemes to indicate grammmatical changes. 13 Inflectional Morphology Morpheme s:

a. Plural of nouns: cat (free m.) + s (bound m.) = cats (inflected term); b. Possessive: girl + s= The girls shirt; c. Third p. sing.: run + s= runs. Morpheme ed: Simple past and past p. of regular verbs. Morpheme ing: present participle of verbs. Morpheme er & -est:

comparative and superlative of adjs and 1-syllable advs. 14 Inflections: nouns Most nouns VARIABLE NOUNS -have a singular and plural form. In the regular plural form, nouns simply add an s; INVARIABLE NOUNS do not show a contrast between singular and plural:

JEANS, ECONOMICS, SHEEP There are only a few hundred nouns with an irregular plural form: FEET; CHILDREN; WIVES; WOMEN 15 Inflections: nouns Cases Only 2 cases left in Modern English: A common case (no ending)

A genitive case (adding s to the sing. form) Choice of genitive use is based on gender and style Personal nouns and the higher animals (now also name of nations, companies, institutions) take the genitive form; 16 Inanimate nouns take the of-genitive Inflections: verbs

The form of REGULAR LEXICAL verbs are regulated, i.e. they are predictable; The forms of IRREGULAR VERBS are unpredictable. Only 300 irregular verbs in English (surviving from strong verb classes in Old English). Regular verbs appear in 4 forms: base (also called infinitive); -s; -ing; -ed Irregular verbs have 3 forms in common with reg.v.and may appear in 5 instead of 4 forms

17 Inflections: adjectives Adjective quality is expressed by inflections. Comparisons can be to the same degree, to a higher degree or to a lower degree: The base of the adjective is called the

ABSOLUTE FORM: big, happy Adding er produces the comparative form; 18 Inflections: adjectives There are no inflectional ways of expressing the same or lower degrees. These notions are expressed

syntactically (as in Italian) As big as; less interested than; the least interested of all There is also a syntactic or periphrastic way of expressing higher degree: MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN; 19 Derivational Morphology

Derivational morphology studies the way in which bound morphemes (prefixes and suffixes) are combined in order to form new words.; 20 Derivational Morphology Prefixes are bound morphemes added at the beginning of a word. When they are added to free morphemes,

prefixes express various kinds of meanings (Cfr Pinnavaia: 43-44; Nelson: 123-124). While prefixes change the meaning of words, they hardly ever change the grammatical value of a word: To style, to restyle (v.); democratic, antidemocratic (adj.) 21 Derivational Morphology The few prefixes that may change the grammatical value of a word are:

a- (from verb to adjective): TO STRIDE ASTRIDE; TO BOARD ABOARD be- or en- (from verb to noun): FRIEND BEFRIEND; FLAME-ENFLAME 22 Prefixes 23

Prefixes Prefixes 24 Prefixes 25

Derivational Morphology SUFFIXES are bound morphemes added at the end of a base/word to create a new word. They generally modify the grammatical class of the word they are attached to. Certain suffixes are associated with certain word classes. For instance, -able appears at the end of many adjectives: REASONABLE, REMARKABLE, BELIEVABLE 26

Derivational Morphology The suffix ist is used to create many nouns, including: ECONOMIST, PHYSICIST, SPECIALIST Suffixes can be classified according to their function: nominal, verbal, adjectival, and adverbial suffixes or: nominalizers, verbalizers, adjectivizers and adverbializers. 27

Suffixes 28 Suffixes 29 Suffixes

30 Morpheme and Morphe Morph is simply the phonetic/orthografic representation of a morpheme - how the morpheme is said. This distinction occurs because the morpheme can remain the same, but the pronunciation changes. An 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 /z/ 31 Morpheme and Morphe Another example of this is the morpheme aindicating the indefinite article, which is formed by two morphs, phonetic and orthographic: A: a dog; an: an apple.

In both examples the different phonetic realization, and at times the orthographical ones, depend from a single, well-known morpheme, which has a series of grammatical functions. 32 Morpheme and Morphe Allomorphs are the varieties of a morpheme, which is closely related to the morph. The morph is just how you

pronounce or write the morpheme, the allomorph is the variation in pronunciation. So, the morpheme '-s' (plural) has three allomorphs with the morph /s/, /z/, and /z/. They are all semantically identical, i.e. they cannot be used to differentiate the meaning of a word. 33 Morpheme and Morphe In English derivational morphology, the morpheme

with a nominal function is formed by a series of morphs starting from the bound morphem : er (RIDER; ACTOR). All suffixes with this function are ALLOMORPHS of the main morpheme. Sometimes the same MORPH can present different MORPHEMES: -ER (derivational function as above) -ER (inflectional functions, i.e)

34 LEXICON, LEXEME, WORD Formally, in linguistics, a lexicon is a language's inventory of lexemes. It indicates all the words pertaining to a language The word "lexicon" derives from the Greek (lexicon), neuter of (lexikos) meaning "of or for words".

A LEXEME IS THE ABSTRACT ENTITY BELONGING TO ANY LANGUAGE SYSTEM. A WORD IS THE CONCRETE LINGUISTIC REALIZATION. The former is distinguished by its root and/or derivational realization; The latter is determined by its phonological and orthographical realizations . 35 PLAYING-PLAYS-PLAYED = 3 WORDS

MORPHOLOGY Bibliographical references: The Cambridge Encyclopedia: Chapter 14 Pinnavaia L.: pp. 42-48 Nelson G.: 123-125. 36 37


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