101 10-5 - Morphology INDV 101 Section 57 Oct. 5, 2009...

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Morphology INDV 101 Section 57 Oct. 5, 2009
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Language links sound and meaning. Language is, to paraphrase Aristotle, sound with a meaning . It is a system for linking two different kinds of objects (strings of sounds, and hierarchical meanings).
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We usually think of meaning-sound pairs as words . I say ‘dog’ /dag/ and mean canis lupus familiaris . But it turns out that the link between sound and meaning exists below the word level. That is, the ‘units’ of the pairing are smaller than words.
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Morphology: study of the composition of words. Morpheme: minimal unit of word- building. Recall that there is a minimum size for words in English. (*meh, kih, etc.) Is there a minimal size for morphemes?
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How low can you go? Morphemes can be as small as a single syllable, e.g.: cat They can be even smaller: cats . Here, there are two morphemes, cat (the root ) and -s (plural suffix ). So, morphemes can consist of a single sound. Can they be even smaller?
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Consider the word ‘protest’. It can be a verb, ‘to proTEST’. It can also be a noun, ‘a PROtest’. Here, we’re adding a morpheme to the verb to make a different meaning (noun). But the morpheme isn’t even a single sound; it’s just a shift in the position of stress (from proTEST to PROtest).
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Even more interesting: There is also a verb ‘to PROtest’, meaning, “to take part in organized political protests”. It’s different from the verb ‘proTEST’, which means something like ‘to complain’. This verb is formed by adding something to
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This note was uploaded on 02/06/2012 for the course INDV 101 taught by Professor Walker during the Fall '07 term at University of Arizona- Tucson.

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101 10-5 - Morphology INDV 101 Section 57 Oct. 5, 2009...

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