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    8 Inflectional Morphemes in English: Full List & Examples

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    Morphology is the rules that govern the organization and structure of words. A morpheme is the smallest unit that contains meaning. There are two different types of morphemes: bound and free. Bound morphemes cannot stand alone and must be connected to a free morpheme. Free morphemes are words, such as nouns, that carry meaning on their own.

    Bound morphemes can be divided into groups called derivational and inflectional. Derivational morphemes include suffix and prefixes that modify the meaning and/ or the part of speech. For example, the bound derivational morpheme “er” can be added to the word “teach” to create a new word with a new meaning, “teacher”.

    Inflectional morphemes alter a noun’s number and/ or tense. This addition does not change the meaning of the word. For example, adding the bound inflectional morpheme “s” to the free morpheme “bracelets”, the number of the noun is changed while the meaning of the word is maintained.

    According to Brown’s morphological development, at stage 2 with an MLU range from 2.0- 2.5, is when inflectional morphemes first appear. However, many morphological morphemes aren’t mastered until the age of four and five.

    A study conducted by Rescola and Roberts reported that 98% of three year old use the inflectional morpheme of -ing- correctly. a study was conducted by Leonard et al, pertaining to normal acquisition of bound morphemes in three year olds. By the age of three, 96% of children have mastered the usage of inflectional plural morpheme “s” and “ing”. However, the study concluded that only 62% of children use the correct usage of articles.

    Miri displays normal development with her use of morphemes. She uses the plural inflectional morpheme of “s” correctly in the word “blocks”, when she says “ the blocks, the blocks, the blocks. I just put it outside”. Miri falls under the 96 % of children who properly use inflectional morphemes.

    The usage of articles is a less common occurrence at the age of three; Miri demonstrates the correct usage of articles, in the utterance, “Oh, look at the plate”. Furthermore, Miri demonstrates the usage of “ing” correctly in the utterance, “ yeah, I’m mixing the peppers”.

    Thus, there are only 8 inflectional morphemes that indicate at the form and the tense of a word.

    Total list of inflectional morphemes includes:

    • s – is an indicator of a plural form of nouns
    • s’ – marks the possessive form of nouns
    • s – is attached to verbs in the third person singular
    • ed – is an indicator of the past tense of verbs
    • ing – indicates the present participle
    • en – marks past participle
    • er – is attached to adjectives to show a comparative form
    • est – is an indicator of the superlative form of adjectives

    Here are some examples of inflectional morphemes using in English. The verb “to mark” has many forms: mark (basic form), marking (present continuous), marked (past simple), etc. We add the inflectional morphemes (the endings) like -ed and -ing to the basic form of the verb to indicate its tense.

    For instance, the choice of allomorph in English morphology may depend on phonetic or grammatical conditions (Brinton & Brinton 91). Allomorphs that are phonetically determined indicate plural forms and present tense form [s], [z], [iz], and signs of the past tense form [t] and [d] in inflectional morphemes.

    Examples of it can be found when a word ends in a voiceless consonant or a fricative (cat, map). In these cases, the speaker should choose allomorph [s]. Whereas for words ending in voiced consonants or vowels, it is necessary to use allomorph [z], in case a word ends in affricate allomorph [iz] should be used.

    Inflectional morphemes show if a word has the plural, comparative, or possessive form, and whether it is in a past or present tense. Unlike derivational morphemes, they do not create new words. This essay tells how many inflectional morphemes are there in English, provides the full list of them, and gives some examples of inflectional morphemes using.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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