Morpheme


The morpheme within the field of grammar is the minimum unit that has a grammatical meaning, among which can be named: no, yes, the, etc. So the morpheme must be understood as a dependent moneme which in turn can express a meaning. The morpheme must be linked to a lexeme so that it can be modified and the word has a meaning.

It could be said that the morpheme is the variable part of a word, which is composed, from the grammatical point of view, by morphemes and lexemes. The morpheme provides the grammatical value and is always associated with the lexeme, which has a semantic value. Both morpheme and lexeme can be divided into phonemes, the smallest units of phonology that have no meaning (either grammatically or semantically).

It is common to talk about what grammatical morphemes are. These can be established and can be divided into two large groups. So, in particular, we find the following:

    • gender morphemes. They are those that, as their name suggests, help us to know if the word in question before us is masculine or feminine.
  • number morphemes. In their case, what they do is help us to know if a word is singular or plural.

The use of suffixes and prefixes is what allows us to know the internal structure of the words or the morphology. The discipline that studies morphology is linguistics. Consequently, knowledge of morphemes must be located within morphology. Morphology literally means “form of words.” This implies that the object of study of morphology is the word, that is, its internal structure and the variations that affect it.

For example, in the word children, the lexeme is “niñ”, while “o” tells us that it is masculine and “s” indicates that it is plural “;” Or “and” s “are morphemes. verbal endings, serve to determine its person, mood, tense and number.

Among the morphemes, several types can be distinguished according to the way they are attached to the word:

    • Independent morphemes or clitic morphemes are those that accept a certain phonological independence with respect to the lexeme (such as prepositions, conjunctions and determiners).
    • Dependent morphemes or linked morphemes, on the other hand, are always linked to another moneme to complete their meaning. There are two subtypes of dependent morphemes: derivatives (which add nuance to the meaning and act in different semantic fields) and inflectional ones (indicate accidents and grammatical relationships).
    • Derivative-dependent morphemes, on the other hand, can be classified as prefixes (they are prefixed to the lexeme), infixes (they have no semantic content), or suffixes (they are postponed to the lexeme).
  • Free morphemes, finally, are those that can appear as independent words. For example: light, sea, peace, flower, sun.