Affix: A morph which is adjoined to a base. Affixes are always bound morphs.

Allomorph: A morph that is identified as a member of a morpheme, that is its function and all its properties have been determined.

Base: A single morph or a construct of morphs to which a derivational affix is adjoined, forming a new base. The word "finger" is simultaneously a root, a base, a stem, and a word. The form "stup" found in stupid is a root and it is a base when an affix is joined to it. It is not a stem, since it has no lexical meaning.

Bound morph: A morph which cannot occur alone as a word; it is always bound to a head or a base.

Complex morph: A morph that contains a lexical morph and at least one grammatical morph. (New term.)

Convergence: In orthography, the spelling out of a word with no spaces leaving no markers of morpheme boundaries.

Derivation: The word forming process that creates a new base from an underlying base. A derivational affiix ultimately affects the lexical meaning of a derived stem. A derivational affix is adjoined to a base; if the base has lexical meaning, it is then a stem.

Derivational affix: An affix which is composed of lexical features.

Empty morph: A morph that has no meaning. (a relatively useless term. See formative morph.)

Formative morph: A morph that has no meaning but has a function. Several formalive morphs may have thus same function and thus be formative allomorphs forming a fomrative morpheme; e.g. stem-extenders.

Formative morpheme: A morpheme that contains one or more formative allomorphs with the same function.


Grammatical morpheme: A morpheme that contains only grammatical features.

Grammatical Word: A word that is differentiated from other homophonous words by means of a grammatical feature.

Head: A head is a morpheme or base to which an affix is adjoined. A synonym for root.

Inflectional affix: An affix which is composed of grammatical features. All gramatical affixes are grammatical morphs, but not all grammatical morphs are affixes.

Lexeme: the basic lexical morpheme representing the various lexical allomorphs of the morpheme and containing the lexical meaning of the morpheme. By convention, lexemes are written in CAPS, representing the abstractness of the form: HOUSE, RAT, MAN, SEE, RED, RADI (base for radi+us, radi+i, radi+al), RADI+AL ( lexeme with a base and a derivational suffix), RE+MAKE, OVER+COOK, RE+VIS+ION.

Morph: the small group of phonemes (or possible phonological features) that has a function. Meaning is assumed under function here: child, -s, un-.

Morpheme: a class of morphs with absolutely the same function: child, child+r+en. The underscored parts belong to the morpheme (lexeme) CHILD. 's', 'en' and the Latinate endings are each morphs belong to the plural morpheme, preferably written as [+Plural] (as opposed to lexemes).

Portmanteau morph: A single morph that simultaneously represents a bundle of more than one grammatical feature.

Root morph: The basic morph of a stem (lexeme) or base upon which the lexeme is constructed. With the exception of compound words, only affixes may be adjoined to a root. (Note that the lexical stem {RADI} may be composed of the root {RAD} and the stem extender {I}, though this is not certain; otherwise {RADI} is both a stem and a root. If a base contains two bound morphs, one of them must be a root. If one of the bound morphs consistantly patterns as a morph which is adjoined to other free roots, then the bound morph is an affix (which are always bound), and the remaining affix is a root.

Stem: A base that has lexical meaning. Inflectional affixes are added to stems. If a stem is a complesx morpheme, it may be a word.

Suffix: A morph which follows (occurs to the right of) a stem or base.

Suppletion: The case when two allomorphs of the same morpheme are phonologically unrelated.

Syncretism: When two identical morphemes refer to different grammatical categories.

Word-form: A sequence of phonemes that forms a word. All homophonous forms of a word are the same word-form.

Zero morph: A morph that has no phonological form. (This concept is challenged in the course.)

This page last updated 14 NO 2000