Week 3: Morphology Flashcards Preview

Linguistics > Week 3: Morphology > Flashcards

Flashcards in Week 3: Morphology Deck (20)
Loading flashcards...

What is morphology?

The study of words, how they are formed, and their relationship to other words in the same language. It analyses the structure of words and parts of words, such as stems, root words, prefixes, and suffixes. Morphology also looks at parts of speech, intonation and stress, and the ways context can change a word's pronunciation and meaning.


What is a synthetic language?

A language that (synthesize) multiple concepts into each word. A synthetic language is a language with a high morpheme-per-word ratio, as opposed to a low morpheme-per-word ratio in what is described as an analytic language


What is an analytic language?

analytic languages break up (analyze) concepts into separate words. primarily conveys relationships between words in sentences by way of helper words (particles, prepositions, etc.)


What is a morpheme?

the smallest grammatical unit in a language. A morpheme is not identical to a word, and the principal difference between the two is that a morpheme may or may not stand alone, whereas a word, by definition, is freestanding.

affixes (suffixes and prefixes) are morphemes.
The base excluding the affixes are also morphemes


What is an isolating language?

An isolating language is a type of language with a very low morpheme per word ratio and no inflectional morphology whatsoever. In the extreme case, each word contains a single morpheme. Contrasting with synthetic languages.


What is the most widely spoken purely isolating language?



What is an agglutinative language?

A type of synthetic language where the morphology used is agglutination. This means morphemes are strung together without base words being changed


Give examples of agglutinative languages

Igbo, Korean, Japanese, Turkish, Tamil


What are fusional languages?

A type of synthetic languages, distinguished from agglutinative languages by their tendency to use a single inflectional morpheme to denote multiple grammatical, syntactic, or semantic features.

The base word itself may change. For example "to eat"" in Spanish has many variations.


Examples of fusional languages

Sanskrit, Pashto, Spanish, Irish, German, Italian, French.


What are polysynthetic languages?

synthetic languages that have large morpheme to word ratios, these languages tend to have very long words.


Example of a polysynthetic language

Mohawk, Nahuatl, Greenlandic and many other native american languages.


What are the two most common word orders in the world and what percentages do they make up?

SOV and SVO, they make up 45% and 42% respectively.


SVO on the following and give examples of SVO languages:

"She", "Eats", "Cake"

She eats cake:
Cantonese, English, French, Hausa, Italian, Malay, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish


SOV the following and give examples of SOV languages:

"She", "Eats", "Cake"

She cake eats:
Proto-Indo-European, Sanskrit, Hindi, Ancient Greek, Latin, Japanese, Korean


What percentage of languages are VSO, VOS and OVS? Why is this the case?

9%, 3% and 1% respectively. VOS and OVS are rare because the object comes before the subject in these languages.


Example of VSO languages:

Biblical Hebrew, Arabic, Irish, Filipino, Tuareg-Berber, Welsh


Example of VOS languages:

Malagasy, Baure, Proto-Austronesian


Example of OSV languages:



Example of OVS languages:

Apalaí, Hixkaryana, tlhIngan Hol