A. The Definition of Morphology


            Morphology is the study of forms of word. Morphology is a study that is concerned in words. It includes word structure, word forms, inflections, derivation, word class, and other forms of word. Morphology also study about word formation.

B. Word


            Word is the smallest free form of expression. Word contain of meaning that can explain or express something. For example by saying beautiful, someone wants to express what they feel beautiful. It is why word is the smallest free form of expression, because by using a word someone can express what their feeling is.

            One word can be consisted of one morpheme or more. A word that only has one morpheme is called by simple word. In other hand, a word that has more than one morpheme is called by complex word. Example:

Simple word:

Buy                              one morpheme

Book                            one morpheme 

Work                           one morpheme

Complex word:

Beautifully         = beauty + ful + ly                    more than one morpheme

Unpredictable   = un + predict + able                more than one morpheme

            Besides, word is also sub divided in to content word and function word. Content word is word that has own meaning. It carries information in a sentence. Then, function word is a word that has grammatical function in a sentence. It carries a function in a sentence. It make grammatical correct in the sentence. Example:

Content word Function word
Verb work, drive, buy, study Preposition of, at, in, without
Adjective smart, beautiful, good Pronoun he, they, she, I
Noun computer, car, book Determiners the, a, that, my
Adverb fast, quickly, well Conjunction and, that, when
    Modal verb can, must, will, should
    Auxiliary verb be (am, is, are), has, got
    Particle no, not, nor, as

Table b.1. content and function word


                                                    CW                  CW

He is a student of STAIN METRO.

                                           FW               FW


            At the example above, the content words give an information, and the function words only give a grammatical correct in sentence. It means that if the function words are erased from the sentence, the sentence will be still known the meaning.

C. Morpheme


            Morpheme is the smallest unit of meaning. In other word a morpheme is the part of meaningful expression. It means that a morpheme can have a meaning whether it stands alone as meaningful expression or unmeaning element. For example, buy, car, house, -er, est, -s, in-, un-, and others. The morpheme that can stand alone as a meaningful expression is called by Free Morpheme, example beauty, apple, run, and other. While, the morpheme that cannot stand alone as a meaningful expression is called by Bound Morpheme, it should attach to another word. Example, -er, in-, un-, -est, and other.

  1. Free Morpheme


            Free morpheme is morpheme that can stand alone as meaningful element in a sentence or stand alone as word. Morphemes are usually a noun, verb, adjective, and adverbs. It carries information about meaning and function Bellow is the table of morphemes example:

Example Word class Meaning
Beauty Noun A combination of qualities that delights the atheistic senses
Work Verb Do work, especially as a job or activities
Smart Adjective Having quick intelligence
Quickly Adverb Doing fast

Table: c.1. The List of Free Morpheme example

            All words in the table has a meaning each other and can stand alone in the sentence or stand alone as a word without adding by something or attaching to other word. It doesn’t need other element to have a meaning. The word of work for example, it can stand alone as a verb or predicate in a sentence, without adding something or attaches to other word.

They work very well.

                                                       S      P     C      C

                                                       N     V       Adv



Free Morpheme

            At the example above, the work of word stand alone as predicate without adding affixes or attaches to other word, but it stand alone as the base word. It has a meaning while stand in the sentence. Then, while it stand alone as a word it still has a meaning, that is Do work, especially as a job or activities. And it can stand alone as meaningful word.

            In addition, all content are free morpheme. Content word is word that has own meaning. For example, run (V), smart (Adj.), beauty (N), Fast (Adv). Those examples has it own meaning without attach to another word, but it stands alone as word.  

            Function word is a word that has grammatical function in a sentence. The function is to make grammatical correct in the sentence. It means that although it has no meaning if stand alone as word but it has a function in a sentence, therefore it can stand alone in a sentence without attach to other word. For example, article “a and the”, Preposition “at, in, etc.”, modal “would, could, etc.”, auxiliaries “have, has, etc” personal noun “he, she, I, you”. Those function words also called by function morpheme. It provides information about grammatical function by relating word or sentence. Example:

                                    FcM        BM    FcM FcM     FcM

                                     FW   inf. Affix   FW FW       FW

She stands alone in the front of house.

                                               CW    CW             CW        CW

                                                FM    FM              FM        FM

            From the example above, whether content or function word can stand alone in the sentence without attach to another word. It has own meaning and has function in the sentence. Content word gives information about the meaning of the sentence and function word or function morpheme make a grammatical correct in the sentence by relating the words in the sentence. It is why content and function words are function morpheme and it is a free morpheme.

  1. Bound Morpheme


            Bound morpheme is a morpheme that cannot stand alone as meaningful element in a sentence or stand alone as a word, but it should attach to other element in order to have a meaning. These morphemes usually are prefixes, suffixes, and infixes.

            Bound morpheme usually changes the meaning, number or word class after it attaches to other word. See the table bellow.

Word Free Morpheme Bound Morpheme Meaning
Beautiful Beauty -ful (suffix)  
Unable Able Un- (prefix) Negative
Higher High -er (suffix) More than/ comparison
Cats Cat -s (suffix) Plural
Missconduct Conduct Miss- (prefix) Wrong

Table c.2. some examples of bound morpheme

See the table above, while bound morpheme (-ful, un-, -er, -s, miss-, etc.) standalone (without attach to another word), it has no meaning. In other word can be said that bound morpheme is morpheme which attach to other free morpheme or root in order to have a meaning. But, while it attach to other word for example suffix “-s” attach to “cat” become “cats”, it has meaning that is there are many cats. This bound morpheme changes the number of noun, from singular in to plural.

            There are many examples of bound morpheme. All prefixes, suffixes, or infixes are bound morpheme. It cannot stand alone in the sentence or stand alone as word. Also it has no meaning if it stands alone. But it need other word, therefore it can attach to the word and make a new word, meaning, word class, or the number of word. In other word, bound morpheme will change the base word to new word, whether it is the meaning, function, word class or the number of word.

D. Allomorph


            Allomorph is variant form of a morpheme but it doesn’t change the meaning. Allomorph has different in pronunciation and spelling according to their condition. It means that allomorph will have different sound, pronunciation or spelling in different condition. The condition depends on the element that it attaches to. Example:

  Allomorph Root/ stem Meaning
A teacher

An egg





Countable noun

Countable noun



















Doing action

Doing action

Doing action

Doing action

Doing action

Doing action

















Table d.1. allomorph

            At the table of examples above, we can see that allomorph is a variant sound, of one morpheme. It has different pronunciation and spelling, but it still has same meaning.

Incapable                     in-

Illogical             il-        allomorphs/ variant sound of “in”

Impossible                    im-      it has different spelling and pronunciation but still Irregular                     ir-        has same meaning. The meaning is still “negative”.

E. Root and Stem


            Root is a gist of word that carries the principal meaning or component. It can be said that root is a base form of element without adding by affixes. It stands alone and cannot be analyzed in to smaller part. Root is a base form that is used by affixes to attach.

            Stem is a root which is combined with an affix. It means that if a root is combined with an affix it will be called by a stem. It can be analyzed in to smaller part, because it has an affix inside of it. See the table bellow

Root Stem
Work (V) Cannot be analyzed in to smaller part Unbelievable (Adj) Un + believe + able

prefix + verb + suffix

Job (N) Cannot be analyzed in to smaller part Beautifully


Beauty + ful + ly

N + prefix + prefix

Table e.1. root and stem




Affix is an addition to the base form of word that modifies it meaning or create new word. It means that a word which is attached by an affix will be a new word or has new meaning because it is modified by it. And of course it will change the class of the word or the meaning of it.

            In morphology, there are many kinds of affix. Bellows are the kinds of affix:

  1. Prefix
  2. Infix
  3. Suffix
  4. Simulfix
  5. Circumfix
  6. Suprafix
  7. Derivational affix
  8. Inflectional affix
  9. Separable affix


  1. Prefix


            Prefix is an addition to the base form or stem or root of word that modifies its meaning or creates a new word and it is placed before the base form or the stem of the word. It means that prefix always attach before the root or stem to make a new word or meaning.

Misconduct Mis- Conduct (N) Wrong/ (Adj.)
Inpatient In- Patient (Adj.) Inside/ (N)
Inattention In- Attention (N) The converse of/ (Adj.)
Inside In- Side (N) Position/ (Adv.)
Reorganize Re- Organize (V) Again/ (V)
Interact Inter- Act (V) Between/ (V)
Illegal Il- Legal (Adj.) Opposite/ (Adj.)
Unfortunate Un- Fortunate (Adj.) Opposite/ (Adj.)
Menulis Me- Tulis ( V ) Doing Something/ (V)
Pedagang Pe- Dagang (V) Worker/ (N)
Memasak Me- Masak (V) Doing Something/ (V)

Table f.1. prefixes

  1. Infix


            Infix is an addition to the base form or stem or root of word which modifies its meaning or creates a new word and it is placed within the base form or the stem of the word. And of course it can’t stand alone and it always modifies a word to be a new word or meaning when it is added within the word. And here are the example :

فاعل ا فعل
إخترج ت خرج
Gemuruh -mu- Guruh
Gelegar -le- Gegar
Gemerincing -me- Gerincing
Genderang -er- Gendang
Bumili (bought)

Tagalong Philippine

-um- Bili (buy)
Grumadwet (I graduated) -um- Gradwet (graduate)
sinambung -in- Sambung
seteru -te- Seru

Table f.2. infixes





  1. Suffix


            Suffix is an addition to the end of stem or root of word that modifies its meaning or creates a new word. Suffix is also a bound morpheme. It can’t stand alone as a word but it should be attached to another word, root, or stem. In other it can be said that suffix is a bound morpheme wich joins after a root, stem or other morphemes.

            Bellow is the list and example of suffixes in word :

Translation -ion Translate (V) Action /(N)
Teacher -er Teach (V) Person/ (N)
Enrichment -ment Enrich (V) Action/ (N)
Singer -er Sing (V) Person/ (N)
Friendship -ship Friend (N) State of being N/ (N)
Avoidable -able Avoid (V) (adj.)
Work -s Work (S/P) 3rd person singular
Organization -ion Organize (V) Group/ (N)
Brightness -ness Bright (Adj.) State or quality of being something/ (N)
Useless -less Use (V) Adjective

Table f.3. suffixes


  1. Simulfix


            Simulfix is change of a vowel or consonant in a stem or root which is changing the meaning of the word. Simulfix is kind of affixes. Usually it has a change or replacement in vowels. Simulfix is often happened in irregular.

Eat Ate Woman Women
Speak Spoke Criterion Criteria
Become Became Mouse Mice
Know Knew Phenomenon Phenomena
Bend Bent Child Children
Build Built    


  1. Circumfix


            Circumfix is an affix made up of two separate part, which surround or attach to the root or stem. It means that circumfix is an affix that is placed in the separate place, at the front or at the end of the root or stem.

            To make it clear, bellow is the list of example of circumfix:

Accounting A – ing Count
Pengajaran Pe – an Ajar
Memberikan Me – an Beri
Terabaikan Te – an Abai
Tagmart (mare)

(Northern Africa)

t – t Agmar (Horse)
Magdelet (Magnifier)


m – et Hagdel (to enlarge)

 (“You don’t bring them to her”). (Egyptian) 

ma… -š bitgibuhum-laha

 (You bring them to her) 

o-yomi ni naru (respectful)


o- -ni naru  Yomu


  1. Suprafix


            Suprafix is a kind of affix in which a suprasegmental is superimposed on one or more syllables of the root or stem, signalling a particular morphosyntactic operation. In English affixes, suprafix is a spoken language. Because it attaches to the word’s stressing. It means the stressing of the word can change the meaning and the class of the word.

Bellow is the list of the example of suprafix:

1 2
Produce /prɵˈdjuːs/ (V) /ˈprɒdjuːs/
Foot and food /fυt/ (N) = kaki /fu:d/ (N) = makanan
Real /ri:l/ (adj.) /reI΄α:l/ (N)
Injure /΄idjзə(r)/ (V) /΄idjзəri/ (N)
Guild/ guilt /gIld/ (N) = rekan kerja /gIlt/ (N) = rasa bersalah
Bad and bed /bæd/ (adj.) = buruk /bed/ (N) = ranjang
Quid and quit /kwId/ (N) = tembakau /kwIT/ (V) = keluar
Duck and duct /dΛk/ (N) = bebek /dΛkt/ (N) = saluran pipa


  1. Derivational Affix


            Derivational affix is a kind of affix that can change the syntactic category also the underlying meaning of the word. But usually it changes the class of the word. Derivational affix can joins before and after the root or stem. It means that derivational affixes can be prefixes or suffixes.

            Bellow is the examples of derivational affixes:

Malnutrition Mal- Nutrition (N) Bad/ (Adj.)
Megabyte Mega- Byte (N) Million/ (N)
Mini-theory Mini- Theory (N) Small/ (Adj.)
Monograph Mono- Graph (N) Once/ (N)
Polysyllable Poly- Syllable (N) Many/ (N)
Reorganize Re- Organize (V) Again/ (V)
Semicircle Semi- Circle (N) Half/ (Adj.)
Subset Sub- Set  (N) Below/ (N)
Unfortunate Un- Fortunate (Adj.) Opposite/ (Adj.)
Illegal Il- Legal (Adj.) Opposite/ (Adj.)
Abnormal Ab- Normal (Adj.) Off or away from/ (Adj.)
Disagree Dis- Agree (Adj.) Against/ (Adj.)
Pembantu Pe- Bantu (V) Worker/ (N)
Belajar Be- Ajar (V) Doing something/ (V)
Mencuci Me- Cuci Doing something/ (V)
Multicultural Multi- Cultural (Adj.) Many/ (Adj.)
Intrapersonal Intra- Personal (Adj.) Within (Adj.)
Antibiotic Anti- Biotic (N) Against/ (N)
Driver -er Drive (V) Person/ (N)
Punishment -ment Punish (V) Action/ (N)
Assistant -ant Assist (V) Person/ (N)
Breakage -age Break (Adj.) Action (N)
Refusal -al Refuse (V) Action/ result of V (N)
Attendance -ance Attend (V) Action/ (N)
Geographer -er Geography (N) Person/ (N)
Leadership -ship Leader (N) State of being N/ (N)


  1. Inflectional Affix


            Inflectional affix is kind of affixes that don’t change the meaning or class of word after it attach to the root, stem, or other morpheme. But it still has a function in grammatical.

            In English affixes, there are only eight inflectional affixes, no more. they are: plural-s, possessive ‘s, 3rd person singular non past –s, progressive –ing, past tense –ed, past participle –en/-ed, comparative –er, and superlative –est. Bellow is the list of inflectional affixes and so the example:

Walks -s Walk (P/S) Show that the subject is the 3rd person singular non past
Swimming -ing Swim (base) Progressive verb
Higher -er High (base adj.) Comparative degree
Highest -est High (base adj.) Superlative degree
Eaten -en Eat (base) Past participle
Books -s Book (S) Plural Form


            The examples above show that the inflectional affixes are not changing the underlying meaning or class of word. The meaning is not change the meaning or the class of word, but it just changes the function in grammatical structure. It is why it called by inflectional affixes, because it just changes the function in grammatical structure without change the meaning and class word.

  1. Separable Affix


            Separable affix is an affix that can be detached from its stem and can be located elsewhere as long as it is still in a right construction.  For example The affix an- is a separable affix. It is attached to its stem in the verb ankommen -‘to arrive’; but it can be detached from the stem, as in the sentence Ich komme an -‘I arrive’_ German).

G. Homophone


            Homophone is words that have same pronunciation with other words but it has different meaning. Homophone may be has same spelling or different spelling. Although homophone has same pronunciation and maybe same spelling, but the meaning or the origin is still different. Example:

Same Spelling/ Same Pronunciation Different Spelling/ Same Pronunciation
Homophone Meaning Homophone Meaning
Bear /beә(r)/

Bear /beә(r)/


To carry

Eye /aI/

I /aI/

Part of body

Personal pronoun

Dear /dIә(r)/

Dear /dIә(r)/



Maid /meId/

Made /meId/


Past and participle form of “make”


            At the example above, although homophone has same spelling and pronunciation, it still has different meaning each other.

H. Homograph


            Homograph is word that has same spelling with other words, but different in pronouncing and meaning. Although it has same spelling, it will have different meaning and pronouncing. Example:

Homograph Pronounce/ phonetic Meaning
Mental (Bahasa Indonesia)

Mental (Bahasa Indonesia)



Someone courage





Not dead


            At the example above, homograph has same spelling, but it has different meaning and pronunciation. In addition, homograph and homonym are only happened in same language.

I. Heterograph


            Heterograph is word that has different spelling, meanings and origins with other words but it has same pronunciations. It means that heterograph has various in spelling and meaning, but it has same pronunciation in spoken language. Example:

Heterograph Pronounce/ phonetic Meaning







Cardinal Number


Bank (Indonesia)

Bang (Indonesia)



Place to save money

Someone older (man)


            Heterograph at the example above has different spellings and meanings, but it has same pronunciations.

J. Heteronym


            Heteronym is word that has different pronunciation and meaning with other word, but it has same spelling. It means that heteronyms are same in word spelling, but it different in pronouncing and meaning. Example:

Heteronym Pronounce/ phonetic Meaning





Not dead

Lemper (Indonesia)

Lemper (Indonesia)



Indonesian’s Food

Kitchen tool


K. Lexical Category


            Lexical category is often called by word class. In traditional grammar, it is called by part of speech, i.e. noun, verb, adjective, adverb, pronoun, preposition, conjunction, and interjection. Therefore, lexical category or word class is a category of words that is defined by syntactic function.

      K.1. Adjective

            Adjective is word class that modifies a noun and gives it more specific meaning and information. In traditional grammar the definition is an adjective modifies a noun. It means that while the adjective stand with noun usually in the front of noun, it will give more specific meaning and information about the noun. Example, compare the sentences bellow:

Jack is boy.

Jack is smart boy.

Jack is smart tall boy.

            The underline words above are adjectives. And the italics words are nouns. At the first sentence the noun has no adjective “Jack is Boy”, it has no more information except Jack is boy. At the second sentence it has adjective “smart”, this sentence has more specific information, besides Jack is boy, Jack is also smart. From the example above, we can conclude that adjective has a function to modify a noun in the sentence, clause, or phrase. And it gives more specific information and meaning.

            Sometimes, adjective stands as phrase. It is called by adjective phrase. Adjective phrase is a phrase that has an adjective as the head of the phrase. Usually the adjective is modified by other element such adverb. Example:

She is beautiful.



She is very beautiful.

           Adjective phrase

The cave is really dark.

                      Adjective phrase

            At the example above, the adjective beautiful is modified by adverb “very”, dark modified by adverb “really”. Therefore it becomes a phrase “very beautiful and really dark”. Those phrases have an adjective as the head. Consequently those adjectives are called adjective phrase.

            Adjective is also divided in to attributive adjective and predicative adjective. Attributive adjective is an adjective which is stands as a part of noun phrase. It modifies a noun in noun phrase. Predicative phrase is an adjective which has a function as part of predicate in a sentence. It stands as part of predicate in a sentence. Example:

Attributive Adjective Predicative Adjective
A beautiful girl

Delicious food

Good idea

The car is expensive.

She is beautiful girl.

The house is big.

            Noun also becomes an adjective. It modifies other noun in a sentence or in noun phrase. This phenomenon is called by noun adjective. Noun adjective is an adjective that is formed from a noun. Example:

  • Taxi driver             My father is a taxi driver.
  • Language student              I am a language student.


            Most adjectives in English have comparative and superlative form. It is called by comparison of adjective. These comparisons either comparative or superlative are formed in some ways. The first way is formed by adding suffix “-er” for comparative or “-est” for superlative if it has one syllable, i.e. fatter and fattest, smarter and smartest.

            The second way, usually it formed by adding “more” for comparative or “most” for superlative in the front of an adjective, it often happened in adjectives that have two or three syllable,  i.e. more beautiful and most beautiful. But some adjective has irregular comparatives, i.e. bad, worse, worst; good, better, best. Bellow is some examples in sentences:

  • Joe is smart student. Jack is smarter than Joe. But Mike is the smartest student in my class.
  • Jane is more beautiful than Tina. But Grace is the most beautiful.
  • Going to the beach is better idea than going to movies in vacation. But going to mountain is the best idea.


      K.2. Adverb


            Adverb is word or phrase that modifies the meaning of an adjective, verb, or other adverb of a sentence. Some adverbs common formed by adding “-ly” at the end of adjectives, but not at all adjectives. Example quickly, beautifully, fast etc.

            Adverb is a member of part of speech. If it stands alone as word, it is called by adverb. But if it stands in the sentence as syntactic function, it is called by adverbial. Example:


Fast                  Adverb


I know that Jack can run fast



                        (adverb in adverbial function)

            Adverb in adverbial function usually can modify verb, adjective, or other adverb. It gives more specific information about verb, adjective or adverb. See the example bellow:

  • As adverb modifier. He is the student that can speak English well.
  • As Adjective modifier. The cave is really dark.
  • As other adverb modifier. He is the runner that can run very fast.


            Besides, adverb is also grouped in to adverb of time, place, manner, and degree. Each group has different function. Example:

  • Adverb of time: early, then, now, soon, etc. It gives more information about when something is done.
  • Adverb of place: here, there, etc. It gives more information about where something is done.
  • Adverb of manner: fast, well, slowly, etc. It gives more information about how something is done.
  • Adverb of degree: more, most, etc.

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