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Morphology (linguistics)

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Morphology is a way of studying language (linguistics). It is about the way words are put together, their internal structure.[1]

Words are accepted as being the smallest units of a sentence (syntax). It is clear that in most languages, words can be related to other words by rules. For example, English speakers know that the words dog, dogs, and dog-catcher are closely related. English speakers simply know these relations from their personal experience (tacit knowledge) of the rules of word formation in English. They simply know that dog is to dogs as cat is to cats. They know that dog is to dog-catcher as dish is to dishwasher. These rules come from specific patterns in the way words are formed from smaller units and how those smaller units work together in speech. Morphology is the part of linguistics that studies patterns of word formation within and across languages. Morphology tries to formulate rules that show the knowledge of the speakers of those languages.


  1. Words as units in the lexicon are the subject matter of lexicology.


(Abbreviations: CUP = Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; UP = University Press)
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  • Aronoff, Mark (1993). Morphology by Itself. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Beard, Robert (1995). Lexeme-Morpheme Base Morphology. Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press. ISBN 0-7914-2471-5.
  • Bauer, Laurie. (2003). Introducing linguistic morphology (2nd ed.). Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press. ISBN 0-87840-343-4.
  • Bauer, Laurie. (2004). A glossary of morphology. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown UP.
  • Bubenik, Vit. (1999). An introduction to the study of morphology. LINCON coursebooks in linguistics, 07. Muenchen: LINCOM Europa. ISBN 3-89586-570-2.
  • Foley, William A. (1998) "Symmetrical Voice Systems and Precategoriality in Philippine Languages". Workshop: Voice and Grammatical Functions in Austronesian. University of Sydney.
  • Haspelmath, Martin. (2002). Understanding morphology. London: Arnold (co-published by Oxford University Press). ISBN 0-340-76025-7 (hb); ISBN 0-340-76026-5 (pbk).
  • Katamba, Francis. (1993). Morphology. Modern linguistics series. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-10101-5 (hb). ISBN 0-312-10356-5 (pbk).
  • Matthews, Peter. (1991). Morphology (2nd ed.). CUP. ISBN 0-521-41043-6 (hb). ISBN 0-521-42256-6 (pbk).
  • Mel'čuk, Igor A. (1993-2000). Cours de morphologie générale, vol. 1-5. Montreal: Presses de l'Université de Montréal.
  • Mel'čuk, Igor A. (2006). Aspects of the theory of morphology. Berlin: Mouton.
  • Scalise, Sergio (1983). Generative Morphology, Dordrecht, Foris.
  • Singh, Rajendra and Stanley Starosta (eds). (2003). Explorations in Seamless Morphology. SAGE Publications. ISBN 0-7619-9594-3 (hb).
  • Spencer, Andrew. (1991). Morphological theory: an introduction to word structure in generative grammar. No. 2 in Blackwell textbooks in linguistics. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-16143-0 (hb); ISBN 0-631-16144-9 (pb)
  • Spencer, Andrew, & Zwicky, Arnold M. (Eds.) (1998). The handbook of morphology. Blackwell handbooks in linguistics. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-18544-5.
  • Stump, Gregory T. (2001). Inflectional morphology: a theory of paradigm structure. No. 93 in Cambridge studies in linguistics. CUP. ISBN 0-521-78047-0 (hb).
  • van Valin, Robert D., and LaPolla, Randy. 1997. Syntax : Structure, Meaning And Function. CUP