Chapter 3 Word Formation I


  Morphemes are the smallest meaningful units of a language.


  Some morphemes are realized by more than one morph. Such alternative morphs of a morpheme are called allomorphs.

3.Types of Morphemes

1) Free Morphemes
  Free morphemes are those which usually have complete meanings in themselves and can be used freely or independently as words.

2) Bound Morphemes

  Bound morphemes have to be bound with other morphemes to form words and can not be used independently as words.

3) Free Roots

  Free roots are free morphemes. They are identical with root words.

4)Bound Roots

  A bound root, like a free root, is that part of the word that carries the fundamental meaning of a word, but unlike a free root, it is a bound form and has to be bound with other morphemes to form words.

  Affixes are forms that are attached to stems to modify meaning or function. Almost all the affixes are bound.

6)Inflectional Affixes

  An   inflectional affix is one attached to the end of a word to convey grammatical meaning or grammatical relation, such as tense, case, number, comparative or superlative degree, etc.

7)Derivational Affixes

  A derivational affix is one that is added to the beginning or the end of a word in order to create a new word. Derivational affixes can be divided into prefixes and suffixes.


  Prefixes are the morphemes that occur at the beginning of a word. They modify the meaning of a stem, but usually do not change the part of speech of the original word.


  Suffixes occur at the end of stems. Though they can modify the meanings of the original words, their chief function is to change the parts of speech of words.

4.Root and Stem

1) Root

    A root is the basic form of a word which can not be further analysed without total loss of identity. It carries the main component of the meaning of a word. It can also be defined as that part of a word which remains after all the inflectional and derivational affixes have been removed.

2) Stem

  A stem can be defined as a any form to which an affix can be added.