Dr. Johanna Rubba
English Department
Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo
© 2000 Johanna Rubba
Last updated 1/24/08

Morphology Exericises


Do a full morphological analysis of each of the following words. Steps:

1. Say how many morphemes are in the underlined word in each phrase, and rewrite the word with hyphens between the morphemes. If the root spelling changes when affixes are added, you can spell it either way.
2. Identify each morpheme in the word as bound or free; root, prefix or suffix; and, if an affix, inflectional or derivational. For inflectional morphemes, identify the category the affix marks (tense, number, etc.), and whether or not the suffix appears in a regular or irregular form.
3. For bound morphemes, give at least two other words in which the same morpheme appears (same meaning; same or nearly same form). Refer to the handout An Overview of the English Morphological System for help as you need it; but try to develop independence from the handout. An example is done for you.


Example: Several Americanisms 4: America-an-ism-s
America: free root
-an: bound derivational suffix; e.g., 'Dominican', 'Republican', 'Asian'
-ism: bound derivational suffix; e.g., 'Communism', 'defeatism'
-s: bound inflectional suffix, regular plural; e.g., 'walls', 'things'


1. An unfortunate error
3: un-fortun-ate
fortune : root; free morpheme
un-: bound derivational prefix; e.g., 'unfair', 'unpredictable'

-ate: bound derivational suffix; e.g., 'passionate', 'literate'

2. exchanging pleasantries
4: pleas-ant-ry-s
please: root, free
-ant: bound derivational suffix; e.g., 'repentant', 'important'
-ry: bound derivational suffix; e.g., 'dentistry', 'peasantry', 'ribaldry'
-s: bound inflectional suffix, regular plural; e.g., 'walls', 'things'

3. we have misidentified the victim
4: mis-ident-ifi-ed
mis: -s: bound derivational prefix; e.g., 'miscalculate', 'misunderstand'
ident-: bound root; cf. 'identity', 'identical'
-ify:
bound derivational suffix; e.g., 'solidify', 'personify'
-ed: bound inflectional suffix; past tense; regular; e.g., 'tried', 'stated'


4. children's clothing
2: child-ren
child: free root
-ren: bound inflectional suffix; irregular plural; used only in this word
-'s: bound inflectional suffix; possessive; regular; e.g., women's, people's

5. They're previewing the slides.
3: pre-view-ing
pre-: bound derivational prefix; e.g., 'prefix', 'predetermine', 'prejudge'
view: free root
-ing: bound inflectional suffix; present participle of verb; regular; e.g., 'thinking', 'discussing'

6. her two ex-husbands
3: ex-husband-s
ex-: bound derivational prefix; e.g., 'ex-wife', 'ex-president'
husband: free root
-s: bound inflectional suffix, regular plural; e.g., 'walls', 'things'
 
7. Which scenario is unlikelier?
3: un-likely-er
un-: bound derivational prefix; e.g., 'unkind', 'unhappy'
likely: free root meaning 'probable'**
-er: bound inflectional suffix; regular comparative of adjective; e.g., 'simpler', 'tastier'

8. He unmasks me every time!
4: un-mask-s
bound derivational prefix; e.g., 'untie', 'unlock', 'undo'
mask: free root
-s: bound inflectional suffix; regular present tense of verb; cf. 'eats', 'thinks'

9. the safest location
2: safe-est
safe: free root
-est: bound inflectional suffix; superlative of adjective; regular; cf. 'likeliest', 'easiest'


10. the inspector's parking place
4: in-spect-or-'s
in-: bound derivational prefix; e.g., 'incise', 'incline', 'influence'
spect-: bound root, cf. 'spectator', 'circumspect'
-or: bound derivational suffix; e.g., 'advisor', 'counsellor', 'actor'
-'s: bound inflectional suffix; possessive of noun, cf. 'doctor's', 'person's'


11. They are all reactionaries.
5: re-act-ion-ary-s
re-: bound derivational prefix; e.g., 'rebound', 'respond', 'retort'
act: free root
-ion: bound derivational suffix; e.g., 'division', 'inflation', 'coercion'
-s: -s: bound inflectional suffix, regular plural; e.g., 'walls', 'things'
12. The play delighted us.
2: delight-ed
delight: free root
-ed: -s: bound inflectional suffix, regular past tense suffix; e.g., 'puzzled', 'treated'

(Note: Neither 'de-' nor 'light' carries in this word the meanings they have elsewhere; 'delight' doesn't mean 'take light away from'.)



** You may have divided 'likely' into 'like' + '-ly'. To my mind, the 'like' part of 'likely' no longer has the same meaning as the verb 'to like something/someone', the preposition sense as in 'he is like me', or the conjunction sense as in 'do it like I do it'. Therefore I didn't analyze it into parts.

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