Chapter 4 Words and Sentences

Morphology
Analysis of words and how they are structured.

Morpheme
smallest unit of meaning in a language

respect+ful; dis+respect+ful
room+mate; stir+fry
fire+fight+er
Manhattan

Morphological Analysis
identifying (and describing) morphemes and analyzing the way morphemes are arranged in words.

Bases
form the foundation of words and Establish basic meanings

English: fish; talk
Shinzwani: -lo- (fish); -lagu- (talk)
Czech: piv- (beer)

Affixes
attach to bases.

Root
A morpheme (or word) that serves as the underlying foundation for other words.

Can’t be broken down any further
English: fish
Shinzwani: -lo- (fish)

stem
word (or collection of morphemes) that is derived from a root and to which additional affixes can be attached.

By means of affixes (see ‘affix’ slides)
English: fish+ing = fishing; talk+er = talker
Shinzwani: lo+a = -loa (fishing)

Can have additional affixes attached
English: talker+s = talkers
Shinzwani: ni+ku+loa = nikuloa (I am fishing).

Free morphemes
morphemes that can stand alone

bound morphemes
morphemes that must be attached to other morphemes

Prefixes
bound morphemes that attach at the beginnings of base forms

suffixes
bound morphemes that attach at the end of base forms

infixes
bound morphemes that are inserted into the middle of base forms

circumfixes
bound morphemes that attach simultaneously to both the beginning and the end of base forms

reduplication
process that creates an affix from part of an existing base form and then attaches the affix to the base form.

interweaving
process in which morphemes are interspersed within base forms

portmanteau
process in which morphemes blend into one another

hierarchy
every language has a specific order in which affixes can be attached

derivation
process of creating new words

inflection
process of modifying existing words

allmorph
variant form of morphene

Syntax
area of linguistic anthropology that examines and describes the way that words are arranged into phrases and sentences.

Substitution Frames
grammatical frames into which you can place related words

Grammatical Genders
categories into which words (usually nouns) are classified in a language

obligatory categories
grammatical categories that must be expressed in speaking

Prescriptive Grammars
designed to serve as models of proper speech

Descriptive Grammars
describe the structure and patterning of languages on their own terms

Generative Grammars
designed to provide rules that could “generate” (or create) all of possible sentences of a language (Chomsky 1957).

Deep Structure
in a generative grammar, refers to the underlying that allows people to produce sentences

Surface Structure
refers to the actual sentences that are produced in a language.

phrase structure rules
rules that generate the deep structure of a sentence

transformational rules
could be utilized to change simple, declarative sentences into interrogative or negative or other kinds of sentences. For example, “the dog chases the cat” might be transformed into “does the dog chase the cat? or the dog does not chase the cat”

phonological rules
assign specific sounds and produce a pronounceable surface-level sentence.

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What is the difference between a morpheme and a syllable?
A morpheme means something, whereas syllables need not mean anything. A morpheme can be a single syllable, but it could also be several.

Examples of single (free!) morphemes are: carpet, pug, rude. Free morphemes are complete words. And these are SINGLE morphemes because the unit doesn’t make sense if you break it up any further (carpet is not a combination of car + pet – it has nothing to do with your car or your pet). So, definition: a morpheme is a word or word-part that has a specific meaning.

Now, to make these into 2-morpheme words, we add another morpheme – this time a “bound morpheme”. Bound morphemes mean something, too (like, “this is now and adverb!” or “pluralize this”), but you don’t ever see them by themselves. They need another morpheme to latch onto. Examples of 2-morpheme words include: Carpet+ed, Rude+ly, or Pug+s.

So, -s, -ed and -ly are morphemes – they’re word parts that mean something. Not every syllable means something, though. If you pull out part of a word, and the parts no longer mean what they used to, you have gone too far. Moreover, as a native speaker you have some say over whether certain things should be treated as morphemes. Obviously plurals count, as does any prefix or suffix you’re sure you know the meaning of. But there are some things that can be analyzed in more than one way.

You would probably break up “pitifully” like so:
Piti-ful-ly
Pity-full-adverb – in a way that is full of pity (or that fills one with pity).

inflectional morphemes
modify the grammatical class of words by signaling a change in number, person, gender, tense, and so on, but they do not shift the base form into another word class. When ‘house’ becomes ‘houses,’ it is still a noun even though you have added the plural morpheme ‘s.’ . . .

Derivational morphemes
modify a word according to its lexical and grammatical class. They result in more profound changes on base words. The word ‘style’ is a noun, but if I make it ‘stylish,’ then it is an adjective. In English, derivational morphemes include suffixes (e.g., ‘ish,’ ‘ous,’ ‘er,’ ‘y,’ ‘ate,’ and ‘able’) and prefixes (e.g., ‘un,’ ‘im,’ ‘re,’ and ‘ex’).”

Once they were introduced and perfected in the 1950s, generative grammars ceased to evolve
False
They continued to evolve.

In a generative grammar, which of the following kinds of rules are thought to change a deep structure sentence into a different kind of sentence? For example, a declarative such as “The cat eats.” might change to a question such as “Does the cat eat?
b. transformational rules

All languages employ the same obligatory categories, or grammatical categories that must be expressed in speaking.
False

An affix that is inserted into the middle of a word is called:
d. an infix.

Syntax is the branch of linguistics that investigates:
e. how sentences are structured.

The technical term for the smallest unit of meaning in a language is
e. morpheme

There are two parts to morphological analysis. What are they?
a. identifying morphemes and analyzing the way they are arranged in words

Knowing something about substitution frames in a language helps you to learn about the kinds of grammatical categories that exist in that language
True

The difference between a free morpheme and a bound morpheme is that a bound morpheme can stand alone while a free morpheme must be attached to other morphemes.
False

Grammars that describe the structure and patterning of languages on their own terms are called
c. descriptive grammars.

Grammars designed to provide rules that could create all of the possible sentences of a language are called:
a. generative grammars.

The area of linguistic anthropology that examines and describes the ways that words are arranged into phrases and sentences is called
c. syntax.

Like all languages, English is an SOV language.
FALSE
(It is an SVO language)

The term used to refer to the fact that every language has a specific order in which affixes are attached is
c. hierarchy.

In the English word farmers the -er is called
c. an affix.

The analysis of words and how they are structured is called
b. morphology.

Morphemes are generally described in terms of
b. whether they function as bases or affixes.

For the anthropologist, who needs to learn and use a language in the field, the most useful approach to language learning is
Descriptive Grammar

Grammatical gender in a language is the same thing as social gender
False

One of the most productive ways to learn the syntax of a language that is new to you is to identify the kinds of “substitution frames” used by that language
True

Which of the following English words is analyzable into three English morphemes?
c. firefighter

How many English morphemes are there in the English word lawnmower?
c. 3

The term used to refer to the fact that every language has a specific order in which affixes are attached is
c. hierarchy.

Deep structure, in a generative grammar, refers to the underlying grammar that allows people to produce sentences, while surface structure refers to the actual sentences that are produced in a language.
True

The process of creating new words from existing words (e.g., creating verbs from nouns) by affixation is called:
d. derivation.

All SOV languages make exclusive use of prepositions to mark location
False

Using linguistic anthropology to learn a new language means learning how to discover and analyze words (morphology) as well as phrases and sentences (syntax).
Analyzing how words are structured in a language is very useful in learning that language.

An important first step in learning a language is to identify and analyze the morphemes in the language through morphological analysis.
Analyzing the morphology of a language can be accomplished by finding the minimal units of meaning particular to that language.

Morphemes are generally described in terms of their function: they may be free or bound, and they may be bases or affixes.
Bases can be further categorized into roots and stems.

Affixes can attach to bases in a number of different ways.
It is important to note the order (or hierarchy) affixes attach to bases.

Affixes function to help drive new words or to inflect (or modify) existing ones.
Variations of morphemes are called allomorphs.

In many cases it is possible to predict the patterning among such variants.
Syntax is the study of how phrase and sentences are organized.

Substitution frames are one way of identifying the significant grammatical categories of a language.
In learning a new language, it is important to identify the substitution frames and the categories that each one signals and to learn which kinds of words can be used in which kinds of substitution frames.

While all languages appear to have substitution frames for subjects, objects, and verbs, not all languages arrange these categories in the same order.
Different languages may have very different substitution frames, and these may be arranged in ways that new learners don’t expect.

Obligatory categories in languages are grammatical categories that must be expressed in speaking, and one must learn the substitution frames associated with them.
Ambiguous sentences represent situations in which alternative substitution frames can be used to produce the same set of words.

Prescriptive grammars describe models and set standards for “proper” speech.
Descriptive grammars describe the structure and patterning of language as it is spoken

Generative grammars attempt to provide rules that generate all the sentences that are possible in a language.,
Descriptive grammars make extensive use of the concept of substitution frames.

Generative grammars shift the focus of analysis to underlying rules and the tree structures that they generate.
In a generative grammar, the underlying structure of a language is called its deep structure and the actual sentences produced are called its surface structure.

One goal of generative grammar is to identify universally applicable grammatical rules
Producing a generative grammar for a language appears to require fluent knowledge of that language.

Producing a descriptive grammar for a language has proven to be an effective way for anthropologists (and others) to learn new languages in a field.

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