Morphology deals with grammar below the word


Carola Trips

Thus, the development in English is another example for a reanalysis of syntactic structures as morphological structures. The difference from German is that the linking element that existed in OE and ME times fell out of use, probably due to the loss of inflection, and therefore never had the potential to become part of productively generating compounds, as, for example, the German linking - s did. Although both phenomena can be analyzed as the crossing of the boundary from syntax to morphology, the outcome is clearly different.

In this section we will take a closer look at the interaction between morphology and semantics.

The examples given so far have made it clear that morphological phenomena are often tightly linked to phonology and syntax. Now what do we expect to find when it comes to morphology and semantics? Let us begin with an example:. The word shrimpburger is a primary example of reanalysis within the word. Reanalysis is a development that alters the structure of a form because this structure is or becomes ambiguous. In our case, the basis of the reanalysis was the word hamburger , which originally denotes a person from the city of Hamburg. But at the beginning of the 20th century in the United States a type of food called Hamburger steak became popular, which was often shortened to hamburger.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary OED , burger is a terminal element denoting a roll or a sandwich that contains the foodstuff specified in the first element. So evidently at some point in time or more precisely in the s in the United States as stated by the OED , speakers reanalyzed the structure of [ hamburger ] as the new structure [ ham ][ burger ], which then made way for many new formations, for example, krautburger, kosherburger, soyburger, veggieburger, beefburger , bacon- cheeseburger all found in the Corpus of Contemporary American English , COCA , and shrimpburger from the example above.

What the reanalysis of hamburger shows is that this change on the level of word structure was triggered by a new semantic analysis of innovative speakers, so morphology and semantics interacted and brought about the change. The suffix originated in the famous Watergate scandal in the early s. It refers to the political scandal in which members of U. From this time on, the word Watergate has been associated with this scandal, and when new scandals comparable to Watergate became public, the form - gate has been used: Irangate, Koreagate , and many others.

Not long ago, Fox commentator Glenn Beck announced that - gate is on its way of dying out:. And tonight, I want to mark the passing of someone you know very well, only 37 years old. Perhaps the most overused suffix in all of media history.


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But we have turned the corner, America. The paradigm has changed. The discussion of the examples of burger and - gate highlighted the development of new word-formation patterns on semantic grounds. In both cases reanalysis of morphological complexes occurred that led to the rise of new combination forms or even suffixes. However, it has been observed that there are more general processes whereby derivational suffixes develop from the second part of compounds that used to be heads of syntactic phrases. Here we take a brief look at the rise of some such suffixes building abstract nouns in the history of English.

In Trips the rise of the suffixes - hood , - dom , and - ship are investigated. Are there general developmental stages that can be found for all derivational items? What is the trigger for the development of derivational items? Marchand noted that suffixes come into existence via three stages:. The following examples give evidence for the independent character of - hood , - dom , and - ship in OE times:.

What is a word?

Trips assumes that it was exactly this property that was the prior condition for the nouns to develop into suffixes. In the course of time, the three elements developed a number of meanings through metonymic shifts on the basis of their salient meanings, leading to their polysemous character. All aspects of meaning of the three elements derive from their salient meanings and their semantic development, including similarities and differences between them. In more abstract terms, the suffix - hood can be associated with the feature [state], - dom with the feature [process], and - ship with the feature [achievement].

These features can be seen as a diachronic imprint since they represent the development of the suffixes and define the differences between the suffixes. Crucially, at the stage when their salient meanings had been extended to further meanings and they had generally acquired a more abstract meaning, they became suffixes. Under this approach, the semantic development of the suffixes led to their development from free morpheme to bound morpheme. The semantic differences between the three suffixes become most evident in derivations with a base like dog as in doghood, dogdom , and dogship.

Atkinson Emotionally Weird , , p. Fredston Snowstruck iii. The three case studies presented here have shown an interaction between morphology and semantics. More precisely, in all the cases discussed, the semantic development, involving structural reanalysis or not, has triggered the rise of new morphological forms. Actually, it is quite hard to see how semantics could not be involved since lexical entities are, after all, form-meaning relations.

It seems that due to this tight link morphology and semantics stand in a more direct relation than syntax and morphology and phonology and morphology do.

Morphological Change - Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Linguistics

If this assumption turns out to be correct, a multimodular approach would have to reflect this. So far we have only dealt with changes that involved interaction between morphology and phonology, syntax, and semantics. To complete the picture, we will examine changes that have been claimed to occur only internal to morphology, one such case being analogy. Further, it is generally assumed that analogy is mainly concerned with the link between form and meaning, which combine to express meaningful units.


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Analogical processes maintain this link by keeping sound structure, grammatical structure, and semantic structure in line, i. At least since Neogrammarian times scholars interested in the workings of language have dealt with analogy. Stating that only historical linguistics could be truly scientific, the Neogrammarians investigated sound changes and postulated the Regularity Hypothesis, which assumes that sound change is totally regular and inviolable. So the task of analogy is to clear up irregularities that were produced by sound change.

A good example of their way of thinking can be seen in how the Neogrammarians treated the irregular forms of nouns built by i-mutation discussed in Section 3. They did not treat forms like feet or men as synchronic irregularities but as diachronic regularities. By looking back at the pre—Old English forms they showed that plural marking with final - i or - j was regular and that in the course of time irregularity was created by sound changes.

Examples like these stressed the primacy of historical linguistics, on the one hand, but also the importance of analogy, on the other hand. Instead, the form books occurs due to analogy:. This is an example of four-part analogy which is based on a proportional model indicated in 5a. Proportions generally encode a relationship between four entities and generalize a morphological pattern of given forms stone : stones to other forms book : books that previously did not show this pattern.

Felicitous conditions for the success of analogical extension are that the forms that change are synchronically derived forms e. Forms that were not regularized are, for example, the irregular plural forms oxen or sheep , which is evidence for the fact that analogy works in a sporadic fashion. The second systematic type of analogy is analogical leveling.

Whereas analogical extension relates to patterns, analogical leveling relates to paradigms therefore also the term paradigmatic leveling. This process eliminates irregularities across paradigms as can be seen in Table 3. The vowel alternations of the past tense forms are eliminated, but the distinction of vowels between present tense and past tense forms is retained. Analogical leveling is most successful if the morphological representation of important distinctions like singular and plural is not affected.

A much less frequent type of analogy is folk etymology, one example of which was discussed in the introduction. Crucially, they believed that analogical processes should be seen as a response phenomenon to the effects of sound change. There are, however, examples that speak against this view, one being the regular plural formation campuses instead of the irregular Latin campi among many others. Clearly new, regular morphological forms are constantly built, especially in the context of borrowing, that cannot be seen as reactions to sound changes.

According to the first approach, analogical processes may block or condition sound change see, e.


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Hock notes that the long-term debate in the literature has shown that neither approach can account for all the relevant empirical facts. Therefore, he proposes a definition of analogy in a broader sense—as an extension of linguistic patterns. Moreover, he assumes a continuum of such changes along which sound change, morphophonemic extension, rule reordering and extension, all types of analogical changes, as well as some types of semantic change are found.

Analogical extension and leveling apply to large classes of entities paradigms and sets of lexical items and are therefore relatively systematic but less regular than sound changes. Changes like folk etymology apply only to individual words and are, as a consequence, quite sporadic. Semantic changes are most sporadic because they are generally restricted to small subsets of the lexicon.

A further important point is that this continuum correlates with the degree of morphological and semantic information these changes are sensitive to. Sound changes are not sensitive to morphology or to semantics, analogical extension and leveling are more sensitive to morphological form than to semantic information, sporadic types of analogy like folk etymology are highly sensitive to semantics, and semantic change is most sensitive to this type of information.

Another approach is taken by Anderson , p. Rather, phenomena like analogical extension, leveling, and the like can be explained by the mechanisms of inductive, deductive, and abductive change that apply to other domains of grammar as well and that play a crucial role in the process of grammar transmission from generation to generation. This article has surveyed the nature of morphological change and has taken a theoretical stance. It was shown that phenomena clearly attributed to phonology and syntax have the potential to develop into phenomena of morphology.

Morphology and the internal structure of words

Concerning the former type of phenomenon, we discussed i-mutation, an instance of a regressive assimilation, which produced irregular plural forms in the Germanic languages. This change then led to the reanalysis of phonologically conditioned forms as forms conditioned by morphological categories PLURAL.

Concerning the latter type of phenomenon, the rise of inflectional endings in Romance languages like French has shown how syntactic structure may develop into morphological structure. Further, semantic changes may trigger changes in the structure of words. Here, we have seen that sometimes elements part of a morphological complex burger and - gate are reanalyzed, and this also applied to the rise of derivational suffixes in English like - hood , - dom , and - ship. One of the changes not addressed so far is the change that affects the lexical meaning of an independent word in such a way that it develops into a bound grammatical word.

A textbook example is the development of the lexical verb have denoting possession I have a cat to have as an auxiliary I have had a cat. Under this view, the development of inflectional endings in the Romance languages and the linking element in German in Section 2. As is well known, Meillet was the first to point out that only this process and analogy produces new grammatical forms. Crucially, clines like these are subject to unidirectionality, i.

A number of authors critical of the idea that grammaticalization is a specific process that needs a specific theory see at least two problems: first, changes like semantic bleaching, phonological attrition, reanalysis, and analogy are general processes of change also found in developments where a grammatical word is not the result see, e.

Second, numerous counterexamples have been found for the unidirectionality of this process see, e. Rather, in the future we should be committed to developing theories for the different types of change attributed to the different modules of grammar phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics to understand their nature. Perhaps then we will come to the conclusion that grammaticalization, analogy, and morphological change should be seen as some of many changes in the linguistic system subject to general mechanisms of language change like abductive reanalysis or deductive change.

Andersen, H.

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