Grammatical structure of the L. Grammatical meaning and grammatical form. Grammatical category.


Basic notions of morphology: the morpheme, the allomorph, the word-form, the word. Differences between form-building and word-building affixes.

Morphology is a branch of linguistics that studies morphemes. American linguist Bloomsfield defined the morpheme as a minimal meaningful unit. But this definition is considered to be defective as it doesn't specify what meaning it meant, we don't know if the word or form building morphemes are meant. According to Gleason a morpheme is a minimal unit in the plane of context which relates to some units in the plane of expression.

Morphemeis a minimal unit of grammar. But morphemes in English are mostly word-building morphemes, so a grammatical morpheme is not defied here either. A for-building morpheme may be defined as an element of the word which signals the kind of grammatical meaning attached to the word by the presence of the morpheme. The morpheme itself has a purely relational grammatical meaning which is revealed only by contrast with some other morpheme or word-form. A morpheme is an exponent of a grammatical category. In speech morphemes are represented by allomorphs: phonological and morphological.

E.g. morpheme of plurality Cats [s], Dogs [z], Houses [iz]

E.g. morphologically -ren - children, -en - oxen, - sheep, deer

All kinds of environment in which a morpheme can occur are called -distribution.


Morphemes Roots  affixes

Functionally are divided

Word-building Form-building

By the place are divided

Prefixes   suffixes

The root- the morpheme that conveys lexical meaning of a word, the basic part of the word.

The word-form and the word

The WFmay be equivalent to the word but it presents an isolated unit. A WF is never part of a word. A WF is always a carrier of grammatical information. When we describe a WF we never think of its lexical meaning instead we concentrate on its grammatical meaning.

E.g. When we mention the WF speakswe know it shows 3 person Sg, Present Tense. We can identify the WF in such a way due to the existence of such opposed forms as is speaking, speak, spoke. Obviously the latter group carries some other grammatical information and represents other grammatical meanings. => Gr. Meanings have relational property.


Affixes can be used to create new words - derivational or word-building affixes.

E.g. govern + ment

They create lexical subclasses of words, cover a narrow range of words

Form-building affixes (=inflectional) are used to build up forms of words. They are

wider in employment.

E.g. -ed covers the whole class of regular verbs.

Prefixes in English are NEVER used to build up forms of words.

Basic notions of morphology: the morpheme, the allomorph, the word-form, the word. Differences between form-building and word-building affixes.

Ps S = parts of speech; Ms = morphemes; W Fs = word forms; Mg = meaning; S = sentence; L = language;

Lgs = linguistics

 Morphology is a part of grammar which deals with the forms of words.

Morphological units.     

Morphemes are smallest indivisible meaningful gr units. In speech morphemes are often represented in one of the possible variants (called allomorphs). Allomorphs can be:

1.phonological ( morphemes of plurality – s: s/z/iz )

2.morphological (mouse – mice)

Their material form in speech depends on the phonetic environment.

 Ms are divided into roots (lexical meaning of w) and affixes : prefixes and suffixes. They can be derivational (word-building) and inflectional (form-building).

 The scale of application of derivational affixes is limited. The sphere of application of inflectional affixes is broad.

Morpheme (form-building) may be defined as an element of a W which signals the kind of grammatical Mg which is attached to the W by the presence of this element. The M itself has a purely relational gr-l Mg which is revealed only by contrast with some other M. or W F which exposes a contrastive gram-l Mg.

“ a boy” - noun in singular which ends with a zero M is opposed to the noun “ boys” where the presence of the suffixes- signals the opposite gr-l Mg of plurality.

 M – is a marker of some gr-l category.

 The W F may be equal to a W, but at any rate it makes an isolated unit. It is never part of a W. A W F is a carrier of gr info. Speaks – indicates the 3d person Sg. We can establish this fact only because there exist othe r Ws of the same verb which are devoid of this gr-l Mg. We can oppose speaks to spoke.

The W. When we discuss the W in morphology we are interested in the following. The first question concerns the possible paradigms that W can have in keeping with the gr-l categories it possesses. Secondly, discussing the W in morphology we are to place it as a certain part of speech.

Grammatical structure of the L. Grammatical meaning and grammatical form. Grammatical category.


In speech words are arranged into sentences, which further become utterances. There are special means to build up sentences. In English there are 4 means that form the grammatical structure of any sentence:


see - saw - seen; read - reads


The dog bit the man. - The man bit the dog.

3. Function words:auxiliary verbs, articles, prepositions

They live in/outside London

I bought/have bought a book.

4. Intonation

They are idiots?

=>the system of these 4 means, which signal relations between words in a sentence, forms the grammatical structure of the language.


In every sentence every word has a certain lexical meaning. We can also

say that every word has some more general meaning.

For example:

set1 set 2
kiss – kisses boyfriend - boyfriends partner - partners kisses – kissed  touches - touched holds - held

The words in both groups have different lexical meaning. But in set1 the meaning of oneness is opposed to the meaning of plurality.

In set2 the meaning of the 3d person Sq in the present tense is opposed to the meaning of the past tense possibly in the same person.

=> Such general abstract meanings are called grammatical. The forms that express them are grammatical forms (they are

exponents of grammatical meaning).


There is no uniform opinion as to how this notion should be universally described, because it is hard to say what units of L represent exponents of grammatical categories.

Characteristics of GC:

1.The notion of GC applies to the plane of content (план содержания) of morphological paradigmatic units. (= понятие ГК узко морфологическое, характеризует набор грамматических форм одного слова)

2.The general notion for any GC is grammatical meaning.

3.GCs do not nominate things but express relations.

For example: the category of number is studied in terms of singular

forms as opposed to plural forms:

Sg = oneness vs PI = more than oneness

4.GCs of a L represent universal categories of human thinking.

5.GCs are not uniform. They differ in accordance with the part of speech and the possible meanings.

6.Any GC is a unity of form and meaning.

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