What is a morpheme?
jonathan at texcel.no
Wed Feb 3 09:29:34 EST 1999
At 07:15 AM 2/2/99 -0600, Carl W. Conrad wrote:
>George: Before you allow that untrammeled imagination to leap into the deep
>with your readiness to equate all the instances of morphologically
>functioning -S-, you had better consider a few more:
> --with -W- in the adverbial suffix -WS
> --nominative sg. ending (1 decl. masc., 2 decl. O-stems, 3 decl.
> consonant stems, -I- stems, -U- stems; active ptc. stems in
> --with -E- in the nominative pl. ending -ES (3 decl.)
> --with -AI- in the dative pl. ending -AIS (1 decl.), -OI- in the dative
> pl. ending -OIS (2 dec.), with -I- in the dative pl. ending -SI
> (3 decl.)
> --with -N- in the accusative pl. ending (historical 1 decl. -AS; 2
> decl. -OUS; 3 decl. -AS)
> --in 2 sg. pronouns (SU, SOU, SOI, SE, even if these derive from an
> earlier TU, TyOU, TOI, TE)
> --in 2 sg. verb morphology (primary & secondary active -S; primary MP
> -SAI; secondary MP -SO)
I was talking to a computational linguist during a wonderful Thai dinner,
and I mentioned some morphological tables I have been preparing for Little
Greek. I asked him whether there is any objective test for a morpheme, and
he claimed that there is no test that really works, that it is basically a
matter of making tables and subjectively assigning meaning.
Is this an extreme view? What tests do y'all use for morphemes?
Jonathan Robie jwrobie at mindspring.com
Little Greek Home Page: http://metalab.unc.edu/koine
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