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Morphology is the identification, analysis, and description of the structure of a given language's morphemes and other linguistic units, such as root words, affixes, parts of speech, intonations and stresses, or implied context. In contrast, morphological typology is the classification of languages according to their use of morphemes, while lexicology is the study of those words forming a language's word stock. A morpheme is the smallest grammatical unit in a language. In other words, it is the smallest meaningful unit of a language. The study of the internal structure of complex words and the processes by which words are formed is called morphology. In most languages, it is possible to construct complex words that are built of several morphemes. For instance, the English word "unexpected" can be analyzed as being composed of the three morphemes "un-", "expect" and "-ed". Morphology as a sub-discipline of linguistics was named for the first time in 1859 by the German linguist August Schleicher who used the term for the study of the form of words. Today morphology forms a core part of linguistics.
Morphemes can be classified according to whether they are independent morphemes, so-called roots, or whether they can only co-occur attached to other morphemes. These bound morphemes or affixes can be classified according to their position in relation to the root: prefixes precede the root, suffixes follow the root, and infixes are inserted in the middle of a root. Affixes serve to modify or elaborate the meaning of the root. Some languages change the meaning of words by changing the phonological structure of a word, for example, the English word "run", which in the past tense is "ran". This process is called ablaut. Furthermore, morphology distinguishes between the process of inflection, which modifies or elaborates on a word, and the process of derivation, which creates a new word from an existing one. In English, the verb "sing" has the inflectional forms "singing" and "sung", which are both verbs, and the derivational form "singer", which is a noun derived from the verb with the agentive suffix "-er". Languages differ widely in how much they rely on morphological processes of word formation. In some languages, for example, Chinese, there are no morphological processes, and all grammatical information is encoded syntactically by forming strings of single words. This type of morpho-syntax is often called isolating, or analytic, because there is almost a full correspondence between a single word and a single aspect of meaning. Most languages have words consisting of several morphemes, but they vary in the degree to which morphemes are discrete units. The internal structure of words and the segmentation into different kinds of morphemes is essential to the two basic purposes of morphology: the creation of new words and the modification of existing words. Linguists show the analysis of word structure by drawing morphological trees. They are a useful tool to illustrate processes of derivation and inflection. There are many rules to consider when drawing these trees but they are extremely useful as they can demonstrate the forms of simple words such a cat as well as complex words like antidisestablishmentarianism - the longest word in the English Dictionary.
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Associations of Morphology
• Linguistic Society of America
• Linguistics Association of Great Britain
• International Linguistic Association
• International Quantitative Linguistics Association
• Australian Linguistic Society
• International Systemic-Functional Linguistics Association
• Center for Applied Linguistics
• Association of Applied Linguistics
• European Network of Amerindian Linguistics
• Greek Applied Linguistics Association
• International Association of Applied Linguistics
Conferences on Morphology
• 4th Conference in the Series: «Typology of Morphosyntactic Parameters» 2014 from 15-Oct-2014 - 17-Oct-2014 at Moscow, Russia.
• Morphological Complexity: Empirical and Cross-linguistic Approaches from 02-Sep-2015 - 05-Sep-2015 at Leiden, Netherlands.
• 17th International Morphology Meeting from 18-Feb-2016 - 21-Feb-2016 at Vienna, Austria.
• Word Knowledge and Word Usage: Representations and Processes in the Mental Lexicon from 30-Mar-2015 - 01-Apr-2015 at Pisa, Italy.
• Word-Formation Theories II / Universals and Typology in Word-Formation III from 26-Jun-2015 - 28-Jun-2015 at Kosice, Slovakia.
• Workshop on Structure and Constituency in the Languages of the Americas from 23-Jan-2015 - 25-Jan-2015 at Tucson, AZ, USA.
• The Division of Labor: A View from Syntax, Semantics, Information Structure and Processing from 22-Jan-2015 - 23-Jan-201 at Tübingen, Germany.
• Conceptual Structure, Discourse, and Language from 04-Nov-2014 - 06-Nov-2014 at Santa Barbara, CA, USA.
• 11th AISV Congress: Emergence, Change and Pathology of the Sound Structure of Language from 28-Jan-2015 - 30-Jan-2015 at Bologna, Italy.
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This page was last updated on 10th Oct, 2014
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