Morphological Root

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A Morphological Root is a Morpheme that can produce a Derived Words by means of Derivational Process.








  • (Wikipedia, 2009) ⇒
    • The root is the primary lexical unit of a word, which carries the most significant aspects of semantic content and cannot be reduced into smaller constituents. Content words in nearly all languages contain, and may consist only of, root morphemes. However, sometimes the term "root" is also used to describe the word minus its inflectional endings, but with its lexical endings in place. For example, chatters has the inflectional root or lemma chatter, but the lexical root chat. Inflectional roots are often called stems, and a root in the stricter sense may be thought of as a monomorphemic stem.
    • The traditional definition allows roots to be either free morphemes or bound morphemes. Root morphemes are essential for affixation and compounds. However, in polysynthetic languages with very high levels of inflectional morphology, the term "root" is generally synonymous with "free morpheme". Many such languages have a very restricted number of morphemes that can stand alone as a word: Yup'ik, for instance, has no more than two thousand.
    • The root of a word is a unit of meaning (morpheme) and, as such, it is an abstraction, though it can usually be represented in writing as a word would be. For example, it can be said that the root of the English verb form running is run, or the root of the Spanish superlative adjective amplísimo is ampl-, since those words are clearly derived from the root forms by simple suffixes that do not alter the roots in any way. In particular, English has very little inflection, and hence a tendency to have words that are identical to their roots. But more complicated inflection, as well as other processes, can obscure the root; for example, the root of mice is mouse (still a valid word), and the root of interrupt is, arguably, rupt, which is not a word in English and only appears in derivational forms (such as disrupt, corrupt, rupture, etc.). The root rupt is written as if it were a word, but it's not.
    • This distinction between the word as a unit of speech and the root as a unit of meaning is even more important in the case of languages where roots have many different forms when used in actual words, as is the case in Semitic languages. In these, roots are formed by consonants alone, and different words (belonging to different parts of speech) are derived from the same root by inserting vowels. For example, in Hebrew, the root gdl represents the idea of largeness, and from it we have gadol and gdola (masculine and feminine forms of the adjective "big"), gadal "he grew", higdil "he magnified" and magdelet "magnifier", along with many other words such as godel "size" and migdal "tower".


  • (Hausser, 2001) ⇒ Roland Hausser. (2001). “Foundations of Computational Linguistics: Human-Computer Communication in Natural Language, 2nd edition. Springer.
    • QUOTE: morpheme =_def {associated analyzed allomorphs}.

      The number and variation of allomorphs of a given morpheme determine the degree of regularity of the morpheme and - in the case of a free morpheme - the associated word. An example of a regular word is the verb to learn, the morpheme of which is defined as a set contains only one allomorph.

      A comparatively irregular word, on the other hand, is the verb to swim, the morpheme of which has four allomorphs, namely swim, swimm, swam, and swum, the change of the stem vovel may be found also in other verbs, e.g. sing, sang, sung, and is called ablaut. … Thus we say that swam is an allomorph of the morpheme swim.

      While the regular degree in, for example, fast, fast/er, fast/est uses only one allomorph for the stem, the irregular degree in, for examples, good, bett/er, b/est uses several (for practical purposes, one may analyze good, better, best as basic allomorphs without concatenation). Even in a suppletive form like bett, the associated morpheme is readily available as the third element of the ordered triple analysis.

      In structuralism, morphemes of the open and closed classes are called free morephemes, in contradiction to bound morphemes. A morpheme is free if it can occur as an independent word form. e.g., book. Bound morphemes, on the other hand, are affixes such as the prefixes un-, pre-, dis-, etc. and the suffixes -s, -ed, -ing, etc., which can occur only in combination with free morphemes.


  • (Carter, 1998) ⇒ Ronald Carter. (1998). “Vocabulary: Applied Linguistic Perspectives; 2nd edition." Routledge.
    • QUOTE: Two observations can me made immediately. First, morphemes convey semantico-syntactic information. Secondly, there are two classes of morphemes: morphemes which occur independently as words and are co-terminous with specific word-forms, and morphemes which occur only as part of a word and which could not stand on their own. The first class, which are called free morphemes, would include cat, distinguish, laugh. The second class, which are called bound morphemes, would include un, s, ed, able, anti, and ism. We should note, however, that some morphemes can have the same form but still be different morphemes, for example, the 's' in cats, cats and laughs or the 'er' in smaller, winner, eraser. These variants are usually termed allomorphs. We should also recognize that like the term lexeme, morpheme is an abstraction. To be strict, morphemes do not actually occur in words. Morphemes are realized by forms which are called morphs.
    • … bound affixes [math]\displaystyle{ s }[/math], ible, and in ; but, by comparison, it is arguable whether the grammatical words the operates with an entirely 'freer' lexicality than each of the bound affixes.