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Morphology

17 May

WHAT IS MORPHOLOGY?

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  • In linguistics, morphology is the study of word structure. While words are generally accepted as being the smallest units of syntax, it is clear that in most (if not all) languages, words can be related to other words by rules.
  • For example, English speakers recognize that the words dogdogs and dog-catcher are closely related. English speakers recognize these relations by virtue of the unconscious linguistic knowledge they have of the rules of word-formation processes in English. Therefore, these speakers intuit that dog is to dogs just as cat is to cats, or encyclopedia is to encyclopedias; similarly, dog is to dog-catcher as dish is to dishwasher.
  • The rules comprehended by the speaker in each case reflect specific patterns (or regularities) in the way words are formed from smaller units and how those smaller units interact in speech. In this way, morphology is the branch of linguistics that studies such patterns of word-formation across and within languages, and attempts to explicate formal rules reflective of the knowledge of the speakers of those languages.
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Source: Citizendium