Rezqan Noor Farid
The central focus of those who study morphology is how language users understand complex
words and how they create new ones. It is the study of the patterning of morphemes within a
word and how morphemes combine to form new complex words. Most linguists agree that
morphology is the study of the meaningful parts of words, but there have broadly been two ways
of looking at the overall role played by these meaningful parts of words in language. One way
has been to play down the status of the word itself and to look at the role of its parts in the
overall syntax; the other has been to focus on the word as a central unit.
Typology is the classification of languages on the basis of shared formal characteristics. The
ultimate goals of typology are to ascertain the ways in which languages are similar in structure
and to determine just how different human languages can be. It is an approach that one can take
in investigating the composition of human languages, an approach that is driven by a method of
cross linguistic comparison and rests on the assumption that structural similarities between
languages disclose fundamental properties of human language more generally.
Morphological typology is the study of differences among the world‘s languages relating to the
ways in which words are formed from smaller meaningful units referred to as ‗morphemes‘.
‗Isolating‘ or ‗analytic‘ morphology refers to a system in which each word consists of only a
In contrast to isolating languages, we find ‗synthetic‘ languages, which permit more than one
morpheme to combine to form a word. In one type of synthetic language, namely ‗agglutinating‘
languages, the boundaries between the individual morphemes are clearcut. A second kind of
synthetic language is a ‗fusional‘ language, in which the various morphemes fuse together to
give a single, unsegmentable whole.
The next type is ‗polysynthetic‘. Characteristic of polysynthetic languages is that typically a
large number of morphemes are combined in a word, i.e. these languages are, as one might
suspect from their name, very synthetic.
2. TYPES OF MORPHOLOGICAL SYSTEMS
There are three types of morphological systems:
1. Isolating (or analytic) language
An isolating language is a language in which almost every word consists of a single
morpheme. An analytic language conveys grammatical relationships syntactically — that
is, via the use of unbound morphemes, which are separate words, rather than via bound
morphemes, which are inflectional prefixes, suffixes or infixes. If a language is isolating,
with only a single morpheme per word, then by necessity it must convey grammatical
khi tôi dên nhà ban tôi, chúng tôi bát dâu làm bài.
when I come house friend I, Plural I begin past do lesson
When I came to my friend's house, we began to do lessons.
ta bu hui yong dao chi fan
he no can use knife eat rice
He cannot eat rice with a knife
2. Inflectional (synthetic)
While isolating languages use only independent words for grammatical purposes,
synthetic languages often use affixes and internal modifications of roots for those
In agglutinative languages, each affix typically represents one unit of meaning (such as
"diminutive", "past tense", "plural", etc.), and bound morphemes are expressed by affixes
(and not by internal changes of the root of the word, or changes in stress or tone).
Additionally, and most importantly, in an agglutinative language affixes do not become
fused with others, and do not change form conditioned by others. Agglutinative
languages tend to have a high rate of affixes/morphemes per word, and to be very regular.
Their words tend to have lots of easily separable morphemes. In agglutinating languages,
morphemes are strung together to create complex words. Any number of morphemes can
be added in this way. All morphemes have a single meaning and are easily recognizable.
ev → house (nom. sg.)
ev-ler → houses (nom. pl.)
ev-i → his/her house (sg.+poss.)
ev-ler-i → his/her houses (pl.+poss.)
ev-den → in front of the house (sg.+abl.)
ev-ler-den → in front of the houses (pl.+abl.)
Fusional languages combine affixes by "squeezing" them together, often changing them
drastically in the process, and joining several meanings in one affix. A fusional affix can
carry a single meaning or several, such as person, gender and number.
Spanish word comí "I ate", the suffix -í carries the meanings of indicative mood,
active voice, past tense, first person singular subject and perfective aspect).
Latin word bonus "good". The ending -us denotes masculine gender, nominative
case, and singular number. Changing any one of these features requires replacing
the suffix -us with a different one.
Languages where the words tend to be extremely complex in morphological structure are
called polysynthetic languages. In many polysynthetic languages a word may contain
bound morphemes corresponding to both verb and noun in English. This means that
what are subject and predicate in an English sentence will often be expressed by a single
word in a polysynthetic language. Here is a Nootka example:
inikw-ihl'-minih-'is-it-a (verb) inikw-ihl'-minih-'isit-i (noun)
fire-in house-plural-small-past ongoing
several small fires were burning in the
fire-in house-plural-small-past ongoing-
the several small fires burning in the
Polysynthetic languages are characterized by incorporating stems and affixes that form
nouns into verbal roots. These long and complex words correspond to complete thoughts,
being equivalent to sentences in other languages.
3. MORPHOLOGICAL OPERATIONS
There are several ways in which morphological structure of a word can be modified. How a
word is modified is often called morphological operation or morphological process. A
morphological process is a means of changing a stem to adjust its meaning to fit its syntactic
and communicational context.
There are two types of morphological process:
1. concatenative morphology: putting morphemes together
2. non-concatenative: modifying internal structure of morphemes
The scheme below shows types of morphological process:
English shares with many languages the ability to create new words by combining old words.
For instance, blackbird is clearly formed from the adjective black and the noun bird.
However, a blackbird is a different thing from a black bird. First, blackbird denotes a
particular bird species, not just any old bird which happens to be black. Second, female
blackbirds are brown. However a black bird has to be black. The expression blackbird is a
type of word, just like thrush or crow, but it happens to consist of two words. It is therefore
called a compound word. A blackbird is a type of bird, a windmill is a mill, a coffee table is a
table and so on. We say that bird, mill, table are heads, and headed compounds are called
endocentric. The other part of the compound is a modifier. Thus, in house is the modifier;
while in boat is the modifier.
There is no logical (i.e. linguistic) limit to the lengths of such compounds. This possibility of
allowing a process to feed itself ad infinitum is called recursion and we say that
compounding in English is recursive. This is an important property which makes
compounding resemble some sort of syntactic process.
We can combine adjectives with nouns, or nouns with nouns (coffee table). We can also
combine nouns with adjectives (canary yellow, iron hard), though in that case the stress
usually falls on the last, not the first element. We can also form adjective + adjective
compounds (dark blue). However, in English it is rare for a verb to participate in
compounding. Examples such as swearword (verb + noun) and babysit (noun + verb) are
Not all compounds are headed. Although the word white-collar clearly consists of white and
collar, neither word is the head of the compound. An unheaded compound of this sort is
called exocentric. Compounds of this type resemble phrases that have been fossilized as
words, and this particular type is sometimes called a bahuvrihi compound (from a Sanskrit
compound meaning ‗having rice‘ - the Sanskrit grammarians were the first to describe such
Another type of exocentric compound is represented by examples such as Austria-Hungary,
parent-teacher (association), mother-daughter (relationship). Here the compound is just two
nouns combined with equal status and they are given the name dvandva (from the Sanskrit
meaning ‗two and two‘).
Process whereby many words are compounded to a certain base word is incorporation -
which literally means a word bringing other words into its body. As retrieved from
http://www2.hawaii.edu/~bender/process.html, incorporation is a phenomenon by which a
word, usually a verb, forms a kind of compound with, for instance, its direct object (object
incorporation) or adverbial modifier, while retaining its original syntactic function.
Incorporation is central to many polysynthetic languages such as those found in North
America, Siberia and northern Australia, but polysynthesis does not necessarily imply
incorporation. Neither does the presence of incorporation in a language imply that that
language is polysynthetic.
The examples of incorporation in English can be found in the words meat-eat (eat meat) and
dish-clean (clean the dishes).
Prefixes and Suffixes
It is not often recognized that two quite different gestures may be involved in affixation--
especially in suffixation, and quite possibly also in prefixation in some languages--depending
on whether the affix is added to the base, or whether it replaces an affix that is already "built
into" the base. This is Bloomfield's (1933:224-226) distinction between word-inflection and
stem-inflection. In the former, "a paradigm consists of an underlying word (itself a member
of the paradigm) and some secondary derivatives containing this underlying word . . ." The
unaffixed word is itself a member of the paradigm. In the latter, "none of the forms in a
paradigm can conveniently be viewed as underlying the others," and none is unaffixed. A
bound stem is seen as occurring throughout the paradigm. An English speaker adds a suffix
in inflecting the 3rd person singular, whereas a German speaker replaces:
I laugh ich lach-e
you laugh du lach-st
she laugh-s sie lach-t
Even the citation form (the infinitive lach-en) must bear an affix in a stem-inflected language
such as German. In this type of language, to affix is always to replace--which is actually a
subtype of Modification. As such, it constitutes a different gesture from true affixation.
I will have little more to say here on these two most common processes, other than to suggest
that the difference in the gestures required for each may be greater than often assumed:
anticipation vs. perseveration, preposing vs. postposing, etc. Also, their metrical
consequences seem quite contrastive, just as do the factors that lead to their origin (and that
may account for a language's favoring one over the other or using the two for quite different
Since it often disturbs the integrity of words at their very roots, interrupting them as it were,
infixation seems at first glance a process totally other from the more common types of
affixation in the performance and perceptual skills it requires, although obviously still well
within the range of human capability.
Yet as manifest in Austronesian languages it occurs early in the root and alternates under
certain dissimilatory conditions with prefixation. Thus in Tagalog, the verb linisin 'to clean
something' is inflected for the Perfective Aspect alternatively with an -in- infix or a ni-
prefix: lininis or nilinis. (The in suffix on the basic form of the verb disappears from these
Confixes or Circumfixes
In the field of linguistics, the term ―confix‖ refers to a specific type of affix. Confixes are
composed of at least one prefix and one suffix, which are placed on either side of a root
word. When a confix is added to a root, a new meaning separate from the meaning of the root
word by itself is created. The term ―circumfix‖ is often used interchangeably with ―confix.‖
Confixes are used extensively in Indonesian and Malay, and they appear to varying degrees
in many other languages, such as Arabic, German and Japanese, to name a few.
―Confix‖ derives from Latin roots; con means ―with‖ and fix means ―attach‖ in this context.
Unlike a prefix, which is attached to the front of a root, or a suffix, which is attached to the
end, a confix is divided and attached to both ends. The fact that the separate parts of confixes
appear on different sides of the root makes confixes discontinuous morphemes. Morphemes
are the smallest units of a word that carry meaning. Though confixes are discontinuous, both
of their halves must be present for the meaning to be formed.
Students of German often learn to use confixes without realizing that they are doing so. The
perfect and passive participles of regular German verbs are formed by using the confix ge-
____-t. For example, to form the passive participle of the verb fragen, which means ―to ask,‖
one would attach ge-____-t to the root, frag, to yield gefragt. Dutch employs confixes in a
similar way to German.
Older forms of the English language also used to employ confixes in forming present
participles, but this use is no longer the norm. An archaic English confix was ―a-____-ing.‖
Examples include sentences such as: ―They went a-hunting‖ or the song lyric ―The times
they are a-changin'," a phrase that was made famous by singer-songwriter Bob Dylan during
Indonesian often employs confixes to form verbs from nouns. For example, one meaning of
the word hantu is "ghost." When the confix meng-____-i is added, the new word menghantui
can be a verb that means ―to frighten or haunt.‖ In a similar way, confixes can be used to
form adjectives from verbs, as with lihat and kelihatan, which can mean ―see‖ and ―visible,‖
As might be apparent from these examples, confixes are extremely versatile. Examples can
be found of them being used to form nouns from verbs in Hebrew. Czech and Hungarian
employ confixes in certain situations to achieve superlative forms. Japanese employs some
honorific confixes, and Berber often uses them to mark the feminine. Confixes also are used
in negation in many dialects of Arabic and other languages, such as Guaraní.
This process can be classified according to the amount of a form that is duplicated, whether
complete or partial, and if the latter, according to exactly which part. Several such types may
function side by side in a given language. So, for example, in Marshallese, one finds at least
three types of partial reduplication:
Initial C: liw Lliw
scold someone be angry
Initial CVC: yetal Yetyetal
Final CVC: takin Takinkin
socks wear socks
Combination: kijdik Kkijdikdik
rat be infested with rats
It is not uncommon to find that more variation is tolerated in the output of reduplication than
of other morphological processes, such as affixation. For example, the plurals of certain
stative verbs in Marshallese have the initial C of the verb stem reduplicated, but there are
variants in which the next consonant, or both, are reduplicated (ye- is the 3S subject marker,
it is thin they are thin
it is short they are short
Examples such as these give rise to the analogy with "playing a tune" used in the discussion
of gesture above. Reduplication especially, with output such as these in contrast with the
usual precision of affixation, can be seen as a special kind of gesture that one plays upon a
form. It matters little whether the force and timing of the gesture are such as to affect a given
segment or its neighbor, or both.
Another example of the tolerance of reduplication for variation in output can be seen in
Tagalog verbs that include either the pag- or ka- prefix in their formation. The initial CV of
either the prefix or the verb root may be reduplicated in inflecting for the Contemplated
Aspect. The same variation occurs in the Imperfective Aspect where -in- infixation occurs as
Pagaralan papagaralan pinapagaralan
study X will study X is/are studying X
Ipaglinis ipapaglinis ipinapaglinis
clean for will clean for is/are cleaning for
2. INTERNAL MODIFICATION
Although technically every process constitutes a modification, the term is usually reserved
for changes in the phonetic substance that leave one form with no more and no less than the
otherfor changes in which the number of segments remains constant.
a. Vowel Modification
A morphological process may consist of the substitution of one vowel quantity for another, or
a particular vowel quality for one or more others. In the latter instance, especially when
several qualities are substituted for, the substitute vowel can be seen as the "target" of the
gesture. Latin perfect verb-stem formation, for example, involved several processes, singly or
in combination. Included among them, in addition to suffixation (of -s or -u/v) and initial CV
reduplication, were both the lengthening of vowels of every quality, and the substitution of
long e: for either a or i. To examine these processes is to develop a feel for the complex of
gestures whereby one made a verb perfect in its aspect.
b. Ablaut and Umlaut
These two terms are of German origin. Ablaut was first used by German linguists to refer to
vowel alternations (also called gradations) of the sing-sang-sung variety inherited from Indo-
European, which from their origins have been grammatical signaling devices and thus
constitute pure examples of vowel modification as a morphological process. Umlaut, on the
other hand, although today largely indistinguishable from ablaut, had its origins in Germanic
languages as a phonological process, whereby root vowels assimilated to a high-front suffix
vowel. When the suffix vowel was later lost, the root vowels became the sole remaining
marks of the morphological property originally signaled by the suffix. Thus the mouse-mice
alternation, an example of umlaut, can be explained schematically as follows:
Germanic [mu:s] [mu:s-i]
Assimilation -- [my:s-i]
loss of suffix -- [my:s]
Old English -- [my:s]
Middle English [mu:s] [mi:s]
Great Vowel Shift [maws] [mays]
Modern English mouse mice
The alternations of man-men, tooth-teeth, and foot-feet have similar histories, which although
they can be reconstructed, are today lost to the everyday language user. Thus the results of
umlaut are largely indistinguishable from those of ablaut. It may be that a contrast is still felt
in English between the largely front-back or high-low alternations of ablaut and those of
umlaut, which are back-front, but this would be the only legacy of the separate origins.
c. Vowel Reversal
Whereas ablaut and umlaut associate a given vowel quality with a given grammatical feature,
the Romance languages in their formation of the Subjunctive in contrast with the Indicative
exhibit a type of vowel modification in which either of two qualities (front (i or e) or low
back (a)) may be associated with either the Subjunctive or the Indicative. What is important
is that they be reversed one from the other. Which quality is associated with which
grammatical category depends on the verb class, and is opposite for the two classes. Here is
an example from Spanish:
'buy' Indicative Subjunctive
1S compro Compre
2S compras Compres
3S compra Compre
1P compramos Compremos
2P compra'is compre'is
3P compran Compren
Here it is impossible to identify a conventional subjunctive morpheme. In answer to the
question as to which vowel quality correlates with the subjunctive, the answer must be
neither or both, or better yet, that the wrong question is being asked. Comparison with a
toggle switch, or with the jump-ball arrow of college basketball, may be in order. The initial
state is arbitrary: either quality may occur in the indicative, depending on the verb class;
there are occasions when a switch to the other state is called for: the subjunctive is formed by
going to the other quality.
d. Consonant Modification
In English, voicing of final fricatives is used to convert certain nouns to verbs (sometimes
with accompanying vowel modification):
e. Tonal Modification
A number of African languages use tonal modification for verb inflection, according to
Matthews. He cites the following example from Lumasaaba (a Bantu language from East
Africa), in which "a morphological distinction may regularly be carried by tone alone":
'he saw' 'Near Past' 'Perfect'
_ ^ ^ [a:Bo:ne] ^ _ [a:Bo:ne]
(where ^ = high tone, _ = low tone, = falling tone, and B is an implosive bilabial stop)
f. Stress Modification
Here again English furnishes an example in disyllabic noun-verb pairs, sometimes with
accompanying vowel modification:
Suppletion is also called total modification that shows irregular relation between the words.
go – went
good – better
Although we often form new lexemes by affixation or compounding, in English it is also
possible to form new lexemes merely by shifting the category or part of speech of an already
existing lexeme without adding an affix. This means of word formation is often referred to as
conversion or functional shift.
Look at these examples:
English table to table
bread to bread
fish to fish
English is, of course, not the only language with conversion. Noun to verb conversion occurs
frequently in German and Dutch as well, as the examples in show, and verb to noun
conversion is said to occur in French, as the examples in show:
German antwort (answer) antwort-en (to answer)
holz (wood) holz-en (to fell, cut wood)
Dutch fiets (bicycle) fiets-en (to bicycle)
hamer (hammer) hamer-en (to hammer)
French gard-er (to guard) garde (guard)
visit-er (to visit) visite (visit)
Morphologists argue that conversion is different from affixation, and treat it simply as
change of category with no accompanying change of form. With this analysis, converted
verbs like to fish would not have any internal structure, but would simply be regarded as
having been relisted or recategorized in our mental lexicons.
4. BACK DERIVIATION/BACK-FORMATION
Back-formation is the word formation process in which an actual or supposed derivational
affix detaches from the base form of a word to create a new word. For example, the
following list provides examples of some common back-formations in English:
Original – Back-formation
a. babysitter – babysit
b. donation – donate
c. gambler – gamble
d. hazy – haze
e. moonlighter – moonlight
f. obsessive – obsess
g. procession – process
h. resurrection – resurrect
i. sassy – sass
j. television – televise
Back-formation is often the result of an overgeneralization of derivation suffixes. For
example, the noun back-formation entered the English lexicon first, but the assumption that
the -(at)ion on the end of the word is the -ion derivational suffix results in the creation of the
verb back-form. Back-formation, therefore, is the opposite of derivation.
4. WORD MEANING
Dari referensi buku – buku linguistic, word meaning mengacu pada arti atau makna untuk
yang bias ditemukan pada kamus umum, kamus antar bahasa misalnya bahasa Inggris ke
bahasa Indonesia, ataupun ensiklopedia.
Kata itu sendiri berdiri sendiri yang merupakan unsur bahasa yg diucapkan atau dituliskan
yang perwujudan kesatuan perasaan dan pikiran yg dapat digunakan dl berbahasa; atau suatu
ujaran bunyi terkecil, atau juga dalam linguistic a morfem atau kombinasi morfem dianggap
sebagai satuan terkecil yg dapat diujarkan sebagai bentuk yang bebas; satuan bahasa yg dapat
berdiri sendiri, terjadi dari morfem tunggal (misal batu, rumah, datang) atau gabungan
morfem (misal pejuang, pancasila, mahakuasa).
Kata leksikal merupakan bentuk ajektif yang diturunkan dari nomina leksikon. Leksikon
merupakan bentuk jamak. Adapun satuannya adalah leksem. Leksikon dapat disamakan
dengan kosakata atau perbendaharaan kata. Adapun leksem dapat disamakan dengan kata.
Perhatikan contoh berikut ini: a. rumah b. berumah
Kata bentuk - suara fonologi atau ortografi atau penampilan dari sebuah kata yang dapat
digunakan untuk menggambarkan atau mengidentifikasi sesuatu.
Kata - akar kata - (linguistik) bentuk kata setelah semua afiks yang dihilangkan.
linguistik - studi ilmiah bahasa
deskriptor, bentuk, penanda, bentuk kata - suara fonologi atau ortografi atau penampilan dari
sebuah kata yang dapat digunakan untuk menggambarkan atau mengidentifikasi sesuatu.
Makna leksikal dapat diartikan sebagai makna dasar yang terdapat pada setiap kata atau
leksikon. Maksudnya, makna leksikal adalah makna yang sesuai dengan acuan atau
referennya atau kamus. Soedjito (1986) menjelaskan bahwa makna leksikal ialah makna kata
secara lepas, tanpa kaitan dengan kata yang lain dalam sebuah konstruksi.
Contoh yang pertama (a) merupakan kata dasar yang belum mengalami perubahan.
Berdasarkan kamus KBBI makna kata ―rumah‖ adalah bangunan untuk tempat tinggal.
Sedangkan contoh kedua (b) merupakan kata turunan. Contoh yang kedua (b) mempunyai
arti yang berbeda dengan makna yang pertama (a) meskipun kata dasarnya sama, yaitu
rumah. Penambahan prefiks atau awalan pada kata ―rumah‖ membuat makna ―rumah‖
berubah tidak sekedar bangunan untuk tempat tinggal tetapi menjadi memiliki bangunan
untuk tempat tinggal. Contoh yang kedua inilah yang dinamakan dengan makna gramatika
Persepsi lain mengenai arti juga terdapat pada beberapa istilah seperti:
Arti harfiah, makna harfiah atau arti/makna literal adalah arti kata secara leksikal atau arti
yang paling mendasar. Bukan arti turunan (derivatif)
kata makna - makna yang diterima dari arti word word - arti diterima kata
Kata akal, akseptasi atau keterbeterimaan, menandakan, akal - arti sebuah kata atau
ungkapan, cara di mana sebuah kata atau ungkapan atau situasi dapat diartikan, "kamus
memberikan beberapa arti untuk kata", "penanda ini terkait dengan signified ".
Sebuah teori linguistik yang meneliti makna kata. Teori ini memahami bahwa arti kata
sepenuhnya tercermin konteksnya. Di sini, makna kata didasari oleh hubungan
kontekstualnya.  Oleh karena itu, perbedaan antara tingkat partisipasi serta mode
partisipasi dibuat.  Dalam rangka untuk mencapai perbedaan ini setiap bagian dari
kalimat yang beruang arti dan menggabungkan dengan makna konstituen lainnya diberi label
sebagai konstituen semantik. Konstituen semantik yang tidak dapat dipecah menjadi
konstituen dasar lebih dicap sebagai konstituen semantik minimal
Kamus adalah bagian utama dari deskripsi bahasa apapun. Sebuah kamus rumah tangga yang
baik biasa biasanya memberikan (setidaknya) tiga jenis informasi tentang kata-kata,
informasi fonologis tentang bagaimana kata tersebut diucapkan, tata bahasa (sintaksis dan
morfologi) informasi tentang perusahaan pidato bagian od seperti kata benda, kata kerja, dan
infleksi nomor contoh plural atau tegang dan semantik informasi masa lalu tentang makna
Kamus, yaitu keterkaitan, penggunaan istilah teknis atau teoritis tertentu dan perangkat dan
presisi, menunjukkan titik-titik kesamaan dan perbedaan antara pendekatan dari biasa kamus-
penulis dan ahli ilmu semantik linguistik teoritis. Approah semantik lingustic ini ditandai
dengan desakan ketat menjelaskan hanya properti-properti dari sebuah kata yang
berhubungan dengan arti
Arti adalah denotasi. Sedangkan makna adalah konotasi. Kadang-kadang "makna" itu selaras
dengan "arti" dan kadang tidak selaras. Apabila makna sesuatu itu sama dengan arti sesuatu
itu, maka makna tersebut disebut Makna Laras (Explicit Meaning). Apabila maknanya tidak
selaras dengan "arti", maka sesuatu itu disebut memiliki Makna Kandungan (Implicit
Meaning) atau Makna Lazim (Necessary Meaning).