Lec 4-5 - Fundamental questions What are morphemes and what...

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Fundamental questions What are morphemes and what motivates the hypothesis that they exist? What patterns do words exhibit in `different uses and constructions? What sorts of theories have been developed to account for these patterns? To what degree do theories reFect typological and methodological biases? What do speakers know about the structure of words? Are there morphological universals? If so, how might they arise? If not, what explains tendencies for languages to display similarities?
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Morphology as a system of signs Ferdinand de Saussure (1916) A simple sign is a relation between form and meaning Signs and their relationship are basically arbitrary A key insight behind morphology is that complex signs aren’t completely arbitrary Human language is a system of relations between signs Words with similar forms tend to have similar meanings
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Morphemes as signs Many words are simple , but sometimes they are complex, and composed of identiFable smaller pieces. farmer is a complex word farm + er , because farmer is part of the systematic set: a system of signs work work er eat eat er drive driv er farm farm er where - er is a morpheme, i.e. a sign, that means “one who Vs” Words like dormer (a structure that projects out of a house with sloping roof) and sliver aren’t complex, because they aren’t parts of a set of related words. How about lovelier, sprinkler, and messenger?
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Morphemes as signs work is an arbitrary sign (Armenian yerk-el does just as good a job) and -er is an arbitrary sign (Armenian i č in yerki č does just as good a job). But, words like work-er are motivated , since there is a productive operation which makes every V-er combination predictable in meaning.
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The allure of morphemic reductionism Entities at higher levels of analysis are simply and exhaustively decomposed into entities at lower levels, until we reach the features associated with phonological entities.
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Word as composites of morphemes
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Calculating words in terms of morphemes
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Morphemic analysis
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Morphemes: A Summary Morphemes are signs (form-meaning mappings)
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This note was uploaded on 03/29/2010 for the course LIGN 120 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '08 term at UCSD.

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Lec 4-5 - Fundamental questions What are morphemes and what...

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