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What is Morphology‏‎?

MorphologySimply put, Morphology is the study of the words in a language.

It does go deeper, but generally speaking it studies and looks at language in terms of:

  • spelling
  • pronunciation
  • definition
  • part of speech
  • etymology (and obsolete usages)
  • non-standard or slang/taboo usage

Importantly morphology looks at the way in which words are formed and their parts: morphemes, affixes and so on.

Questions which Morphology Asks

Morphology overlaps with other linguistic disciplines, but if ever you were to stumble upon a group of morphologists in earnest discussion they could well be asking and answering questions like these:

  • Is there a rule for which country adjectives end in -ish (Swedish, English) or -ese (Burmese, Chinese)?
  • What is a word? If I use a made-up word like morriconisation then because I’ve used it at least once, does that mean it’s a word now?
  • Why doesn’t sheep have a plural?
  • If faster means more fast; then why doesn’t better mean more bet? Isn’t bet the same as good?
  • Why don’t we get paid more?

Useful Links

What is a Morpheme‏‎? – a look at morphemes, the building blocks of words

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