Morphology is the study of the structure of words. The name comes from the Greek word ‘morphos’ and ‘ology’ which translates to ‘shape or formal’ and ‘the study of’ respectively.

The most basic units of meaning are simple words (e.g. dog, yes, swim) or the elements of complex words (e.g. un-happi-ness in unhappiness). These basic elements are called morphemes, and the study of how they are combined in words is known as morphology.

In morphology, there are bound and free morphemes. Examples include:

Brotherǀhood (free morphemes)

Hopeǀful (bound morphemes)

Disǀgraceǀful (bound morphemes)

Unǀlikeliǀhood (complex, bound + free)

They study of how words are organised into phrases, clauses and sentences is usually referred to as syntax. A longer stretch of language is known as discourse; the study of its structure as discourse


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