Morphology Intro (Aaron Szabo and Brian Morris, 12/11/13)

Brian and Aaron introduced us to morphology, in preparation for Pamela Toman’s talk on the morphology of American Sign Language next week. Their presentation included a NACLO-style problem.

Presentation is here; most of the content, including the problem, came from this and the morphology section of this.

NOTES (thanks to Brian, as may be guessable:)

The presentation started with a pair of wonderful jokes delivered by Brian Morris, that you simply had to be there to fully appreciate. After that, we started the presentation on morphology in earnest.
Morphology is the study of the structure of the meaning of language.

The basic unit of meaning in a language is a morpheme, of which there are two types: free and bound. There are two types of bound morphemes: inflectional (those that don’t change the inherent meaning of a word) and derivational (those that do). The null morpheme is a specific type of derivational morpheme that is not pronounced or written, but changes the lexical class of a word.

A root is a free morpheme that serves as the heart of a word, and affixes are morphemes attached to a root. There are multiple types of affixes; see the slides for more information.

Languages can be categorized based on how they handle morphology. See the slides for more information.

The presentation ended with a demonstration of a method for solving certain types of morphology problems. See the slides for more information.

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