Questions regarding morphemes (smallest semantically meaningful units in a language) such as words, affixes, parts of speech, intonation/stress, or implied context.

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2
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1answer
166 views

“Indexes” or “indices” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the plural of the word “index”? I have a vague thought that indices would be used when index refers to a position in a sequential collection of some ...
3
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1answer
2k views

What are the words that can't exist without their prefix or suffix? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What do you call words that look like a negation but are not? I found these poor orphaned words that only exist through the life-giving quality of their affix: ...
4
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1answer
757 views

Why does the verb “succeed” change to “successor” as a noun?

Can someone explain the why the verb succeed changes to successor as a noun and not succeeder? Why the double s?
13
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2answers
946 views

Is it true that a word ending in -y is more likely to be an adjective than a noun?

Claim: a word ending in -y is most likely not a noun but an adjective. Don't have my tagged corpus handy to check. Anyone have the stats on Parts-Of-Speech of words ending in y and assuming they ...
4
votes
3answers
436 views

Progressive form of “beware”

I am reading a book, called Minimalist Syntax: Exploring the Structure of English. At the beginning of chapter 2, when discussing the inflectional morphology of English verbs, the author says: The ...
4
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2answers
421 views

Is it possible to regard “vacant” and “vacancy” as allomorphs (variants) of the same root in Modern English?

Am I right to consider /΄veikənt/ and /΄veikəns/ in those words as variants of one and the same root morpheme in Modern English. But it makes me hesitate in my morphemic division if we take for ...
5
votes
1answer
359 views

Can we regard “lecture” as a monomorphemic word in Modern English?

Judging by the derivative chain lecture appears to be the root itself (comp. lecture, lectur-er, lecture-ship, un-lectur-ed etc.). But I'm not sure if it can be divided by analogy with failure (to ...
9
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2answers
3k views

Rules for nominalizing a verb

To nominalize a verb, you sometimes use the gerund. to happen --> a happening Sometimes it's a different word. to arrive --> an arrival so we don't write to arrive --> an *arriving ...
2
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1answer
736 views

Morphological or syntactic conversion? [closed]

When a noun is used as a verb, linguistically, this process is termed as morphological conversion: Fish (n): This is a fish. Fish (v): I'm fishing in the river. Why shouldn't we call it ...
-2
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1answer
712 views

Origin of pluralisation of verbs and nouns in English

From this question, I was just wondering why plural nouns use the ending -s, while the exact same ending is used for the third person singular form of verbs. How did we get into this weird situation? ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

What word has the greatest morpheme to syllable ratio?

I am curious how tightly packed morphemes can be in English words. Do any of you happen to know which English word has the most morphemes per syllable, or know how to find out? These are the best ...
11
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1answer
2k views

Is there a maximum number of suffixes that can be added to an English word?

You can add various derivational and inflectional suffixes on to most English words to create new longer words (or forms of words). But is there a definite or theoretical maximum that can be added in ...
5
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1answer
1k views

Number of morphemes in “saw” (As in, I saw the cat)

Does the word "saw" contain more than one morpheme? If so, how is this possible in such a short word? Are there any other words of this length that have multiple morphemes? I have just started ...
16
votes
3answers
3k views

Does a gerund always end with -ing? If so, why?

After asking what the difference is between a gerund and a participle, I began to wonder if all gerunds end with -ing, since I couldn't think of any that didn't. If they do, why?
3
votes
2answers
331 views

Is it possible to regard -id as a suffix forming adjectives in Modern English?

The morphemic status of -id can be proved by its regular occurrence in Modern English adjectives (mostly of Roman origin): horrid, stupid, rapid, acid, sordid, valid, solid, etc.
3
votes
2answers
269 views

Where is the root morpheme in Modern English evacuate and vacuum?

They both are cognates (it can be easily proved by many etymological sources). The question is : Is it possible to consider VAC as a common root for evacuate and vacuum (we may go further - vacation, ...
8
votes
2answers
605 views

Where is the root morpheme in Modern English ambassador, embassy?

If there were no such a word as embassy, I would consider ambassad as a root and -or as an agent derivational suffix here. But embassy makes me puzzled. If we accept that segmentation shold be done ...
3
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3answers
1k views

Where is the root morpheme in the Modern English word “absent”?

I can't say whether the root morpheme in "absent" is "ab-" or "abs-". (From an etymological point of view, ab- appears to be a negative prefix -- from M.Fr. absent (O.Fr. ausent), from L. absentem ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

Where is the root in these words: miniature, minimal, minimize?

Is it possible to identify one and the same root MIN in all these words: Miniature, minimal, minimize, minimum minor, minority, minus, minute ? From etymological point of view they all came from one ...
5
votes
2answers
599 views

Where is the root morpheme in Modern English abortion?

The question is not so easy as it seems. Let's analyze some derivatives: abortion, abortive, abortiveness, abortionist. The analysis of derivational suffixes (-ion, -ive, ive+ness etc.) helps to ...
5
votes
1answer
231 views

Where is the root morpheme in Middle English talon (talon, claw) and muscheron (mushroom)?

Is it possible to consider -on, -eron as suffixes (as they are in Middle French)?
1
vote
1answer
199 views

Where is the root morpheme in the Old English cristalla (crystal) and cymen (cumin)?

Where is the root morpheme in the Old English cristalla (crystal) and cymen (cumin)? It seems to be wrong to identify the morphemes in loanwords from etymological point of view.
21
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7answers
1k views

Has English adopted any common morphemes from languages that are not Greek, Latin, or French?

Has English adopted any common morphemes from any "exotic"-type languages? By that, I'm trying to exclude our most frequent borrowings; i.e. French, Latin, and Greek, from which nearly all our ...
4
votes
1answer
157 views

Why is the state of being resident “residence”, but the state of being president “presiden-cy”?

Resident : Residence seems like the normal pairing to me. Residency isn't exactly unknown (see here), but it's far less common. But with President the derivatives are reversed and then some. ...
12
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1answer
353 views

Ordering of English sound changes in verbal morphology

As we all know, the Early Modern English 3sg verbal ending -eth has become -s in Modern English. This presumably happened in two steps: Elision of the unstressed e in the final syllable Changing ...
16
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4answers
2k views

Isn't the word “uninstall” wrong?

I've never understood this. Why is the proper usage "uninstall"? You can't actually "unin" something at all and this isn't that case with most (all?) other use cases. Examples: You make someone ...
11
votes
2answers
860 views

How did 'anyway' become 'anyways,' anyway?

All of the time I see people use these two words synonymously. For example: Why did he move there anyway? Versus: Why did he move there anyways? I always assumed that there was once just ...
6
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3answers
357 views

Where does the -en come from in misshapen?

We can say both misshapen and misshaped. Where does the misshapen form come from? What other words use this form?
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vote
4answers
2k views

Is “incomplex” a legitimate word?

I want to create a poster titled "An Incomplex Introduction to Complexity-based Cryptography." As you see, it contrasts the words incomplex and complexity. (Words like simple or easy do not provide ...
49
votes
5answers
3k views

Why is it “geometric” but “theoretical”?

I just came across a course name: Geometric and Theoretical Optics. The mismatched endings bug me. Why do we have both -ical and -ic endings? Is there any difference in meaning between, say, ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

How can I form a word like “quadruple” for any number I want?

I'm not sure what these are called, but how can I form a word like "quadruple" for any number I want? Like 5× as much is quintuple, what is 31× as much or 147× as much? I want to know how they are ...
23
votes
3answers
14k views

What’s the rule for adding “-er” vs. “-or” when nouning a verb?

What’s the rule to decide whether you add -er or whether you add -or when creating a noun from a verb? Sometimes it’s -er: read > reader hate > hater hit > hitter But other times it’s -or: ...
2
votes
2answers
309 views

How to say “the quality of being accomplished”?

"to tire" is to become exhausted. "tired" means exhausted. "tiredness" is the state of being exhausted. Similarly, "to accomplish" means to complete a goal (let's say), "accomplished" means completed, ...
15
votes
5answers
2k views

Why do we use the object instead of the subject pronoun in constructions like “stupid me”?

I'm trying to find out how come we say lucky me and stupid us rather than lucky I and stupid we. My understanding is that this is not a recent invention, but a relic from the distant past where it was ...
15
votes
2answers
690 views

If I invent a word, what language is it?

I invented a word using medical terminology, Latin and maybe a bit of Greek. (I'm not honestly sure of the etymology of all the morphemes.) Considering that this word is primarily not of English ...
14
votes
3answers
5k views

Is there a rule for which suffix to use when creating adjectives from nouns?

There are many suffixes that are used to create adjectives from nouns (-al, -ic, -ive, -y). Are there any rules used to create adjectives from nouns? In example, why is the adjective excessive, and ...