Derivationa vs inflectional morpheme
A morpheme can be defined as the smallest, indivisible and
meaningful unit of a language. Morphology of English, on the other hand can be
defined as the study of how the morphemes are combined to form the higher unit,
called the "word" or part of a word. These morphemes are
systematically distributed rather than being randomly distributed. In the
morphological process, some morphemes are combined to form new words while some
are combined to express the grammatical properties of a word. For this reason,
this essay will attempt to explain with appropriate examples the difference
between inflectional and derivational morphology in English language.
According to Ayodele (2000), derivational morphemes are used to create new words that are often of a different grammatical category from the root to which the bound morpheme is joined. For example, when the morpheme, -ness is added to the adjective happy, the resultant word happiness is a noun. Other examples of derivational morphemes are:
1. Red + ness = redness
2. Good + ness = goodness
3. Mad + ness = madness
4. Achieve + ment = achievement
5. Move + ment = movement
6. Pay + ment = payment
7. Re + locate = relocate
8. Dis + mantle = dismantle
9. Un + orthodox = unorthodox
10. Ex + president = ex-presiden
Inflectional morphology on the other hand is involved when the inflectional bound morphemes are used to show the grammatical process or functions of a word. On inflectional morphology, Ayodele also adds that they are used to show if a word is plural or singular, present or past tense, etc. The plural –s and the past tense –d morphemes in English both have inflectional functions. Examples include:
(1) To show plural, e.g.
(a) Boy + -s = boys
(b) Girl + -s = girls
(c) Church + -es = churches
(2) To show past tenses, e.g.
(d) Walk + -ed = walked
(e) Watch + -ed = watched
(f) Play + -ed = played
show continuous tenses, e.g.
(g) Walk + -ing = walking
(h) Watch + -ing = watching
(i) Play + -ing = playing
(4) To show the comparative forms of adjectives, e.g.
(j) Tall + -er = taller
(k) Big + -er = bigger
(l) Small + -er = smaller
(5) To show the superlative forms of adjectives, e.g.
(m) Tall + -est = tallest
(n) Big + -est = biggest
(o) Small + est = smallest
In this short essay, we have been able to explain with appropriate examples the difference between inflectional and derivational morphology in English language. We have said that derivational morphology is the study of how the derivational morphemes are used to create new words that are often of a different grammatical category from the root to which the bound morpheme is joined while inflectional morphology is concerned with the process of combining the inflectional bound morphemes to show the grammatical process or functions of a word.
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