Friday, August 28, 2009

Some Notes on Morphology and Syntax

Some Notes on Morphology and Syntax
Melvina. M.Ed

Week 1
4 level of linguistic analysis:
• Sound level
• Morphological level
• Syntactic level
• Semantic level

The morphological level of analysis is concerned with meaningful units. These units are called morphemes. It is defined as the smallest meaningful units of grammatical description, since they cannot by analyzed any further at this level. Morphology studies the internal structure of words, that is the ways in which morphemes function as constituents of word structure. For example, the word unconditionally may be said to consist of four morphemes: un – condition – al – ly. Condition is a free morpheme, since it can occur on its own. The other three morphemes are bound, since they must always co-occur with free morphemes. English words consist of one or more free morphemes (book, bookcase, bookshop, bookworm) or of combination of free and bound morphemes (kindness, unkind, kindly, unkindly).

Having established the structure of words at the morphological level, we can go on to examine how words can be put together to form larger grammatical units. Words combine to form larger units called phrases, which, in turn to combine to form sentences. This is the business of syntax to establish the set of rules that specify which combinations of words constitute grammatical strings and which do not.

In short, morpheme is the minimal unit of grammatical description in the sense that it cannot be segmented any further at the grammatical level of analysis. While Syntax is a part of linguistic, this studies rearrangement and interrelationship of word, phrases, clauses, and sentences. In other words, it is the study of how combine words become a larger unit.

Words : The smallest units or the smallest free form.
A group of phoneme/letter that has meaning, e.g. car, book, pen
Phoneme : The smallest meaningful unit, e.g. book /bUk/ 3 phoneme
Phrase : Group of words that doesn’t has S and P but has meaning.
A group of word that has meaning
Clause : Consist of S and V but can not stand alone because it is part of sentence
and has meaning, e.g. what she knows
Sentence : The largest grammatical unit consisting phrase, clause, sentence that used
to express a statement, question and comment.
Consist of S and V, can stand alone and has meaning and sometimes
consist more than one clause, e.g. I wrote a letter yesterday

There are five signals of syntactic structure:

1. word-order—the linear of time sequence in which word appear in an utterance, or the positions of words relative to each other in time.
2. prosody—musical pattern of stress, pitch and juncture in which the words an utterance are spoken, or combination or patterns of pitch, stress and juncture.
3. function word—words with little or no lexical meaning which are used in combining other words into larger structures.
Words largely divide of lexical meaning that used to indicate various functional relationship among the lexical words of an utterance (doesn’t have meaning in grammatical but in lexical), e.g. Does she go there?

There are nine types of function word:
• noun determiner; all, twice, one, third, a, an, this, that, these, those, etc.
• auxiliaries; verb, is, am, are, has, have, do, does, did, will
• qualifiers/ compare; fairly, merely, very, pretty, quite, etc.
• preposition; in, on, at, of, over, etc
• conjunction/ coordinator; and, but, nor…or, not only…but also, etc
• interrogator; who, which, what, etc
• includes; when, like, that, whatever, etc
• sentence linkers; consequently, accordingly, however, even though, as a result
• miscellaneous/ interjection

There are two kinds of meaning:
a) lexical meaning : the meaning of morphemes and words considered in isolation (dictionary meaning).
b) Grammatical/structural meaning: the meaning of the way words are combined in larger structures (sentence)
* the word “am” does not has meaning if stand alone, but has meaning if we combine with other words or we put in a sentence.
e.g. I am being interviewed

4. inflection—suffixes, always final, which adapt words to fit varying of structural positions without changing their lexical meaning or part of speech.
Morphemic changes without changing the lexical meaning, e.g. – ed, plural (s/es)
• work --- worked (change in the form of word to show a past tense)
• book --- books ( to show a plural)

5. derivational contrast—derivational prefixes and suffixes which change words from one part of speech to another. In short, addition of the prefixes or suffixes that change the world class.
e.g. manage—management—manager

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