Is morpheme what? Morpheme - examples

Surely every schoolboy faced such a definition as morpheme. This concept is quite closely related to the composition of the word, and its knowledge helps to perform the morphemic analysis. Let's talk about what it is. We will also understand what a morphemic analysis is.

What is morpheme?

Morpheme is the smallest significant part of a word. The term was first introduced by the famous scientist Baduen de Courtenay in the middle of the 19th century and is still used in linguistics.

All words consist of morphemes. They are the bricks from which words are composed. Each component has its own meaning and role. The following types of morphemes are distinguished: mandatory and optional. The obligatory is always present in the word and is called the root. Optional can both be part of the token, and not enter it. These morphemes are called affixes. Let's look at each species separately.

Mandatory morphemes

As already mentioned, the obligatory morpheme in Russian is only one, and it is called the root. There is no such word that would exist without a given morpheme. Words without root (except for some official parts of speech) are missing in the Russian language.

It is the main one, since it carries the basic lexical meaning. For example, a lexeme forest, forest, a forester unites one root - the forest . All these words have a similar meaning, related to the forest. The only thing is their difference in shades. So, the forest is a space covered with trees; Forest - related to the forest; The forester is the man who guards him.

In complex words there are several roots, for example, in the word light-faced two roots - light and face . Do not forget about it when parsing a word. Basically, compound words have two roots, in some cases words with a large set can occur.

Optional morphemes

Optional morphemes of the Russian language are affixes. Among them are the following:

  • Prefixes, or prefixes;
  • Postfixes, or suffixes;
  • Inflexion, or endings;
  • Interfixes.

They may be present in the word or not. In this case, each new optional morpheme gives it a new meaning.

The first two kinds of morphemes transmit a lexical and grammatical meaning. Flexions express only the grammatical meaning of a word. Even zero, that is, not having an audio expression, the ending shows what grammatical meaning the lexeme has.

Prefixes and Postfixes

Let us first analyze those morphemes, which give new lexical and grammatical nuances.

Prefixes are always located at the beginning of a word and change its meaning. In Russian there are about 70 prefixes. Most of them are formed from prepositions. At school they are often called prefixes. Each prefix has its own meaning and changes the tone of the word. For example, to go - to move somewhere; To approach - to approach anything.

This changes the lexical meaning of the word, but the part of the speech to which it belongs remains unchanged.

Postfixes are always located between the root and inflexion (if it exists in the word). They serve not only for the formation of a new meaning, but also for forming a new part of speech. Thus, with the help of the suffix -n- from the noun, the forest was delighted with the adjective forest .

Some suffixes form a new shade of meaning. So, there are diminutive and affectionate suffixes, such as: -shush- , -char- , -ochk- and others. With the help of these, lexemes with a new shade of meaning are formed. For example: ear - eye , finger - finger, basket - basket .

In a word there can be several prefixes and suffixes. Everything depends on the structure of the token, its meaning. Therefore, when analyzing the morphemes of a word, one should pay special attention to this.


These morphemes serve to connect several roots in complex words. For example, the word lobotryas consists of two words - the forehead and the shaking . They are interconnected by the inter- ference -o- . Interfaxes are not always studied at school, they are often spoken of only in high school, and then briefly.

The basis of the word

Having learned that morpheme is a significant part of the token, one should also remember one more important part - the basis. This is an unchangeable part of the word, that is, its part without ending. The basis contains the basic lexical meaning and can consist of only one root or root and affix (affixes). In verbs, the stem can be interrupted by the ending, if there is postfix -sa or -s . For example, in the word the base was bought, the base will be interrupted by the ending and look like a buy-a-c .


These morphemes are used to express grammatical meaning. In the school curriculum they are termed endings. With their help, the grammatical meaning is determined. For nouns this genus, number, case. Flexions are present in all parts of speech, except for immutable ones, such as an adverb, an alliance, a preposition. In these parts of speech they do not stand out. In all other parts of speech in the absence of an end, it is taken as zero.

For example, in the word forest the ending will be zero , in the word forest the ending will be -a . In this case, the end of this word will express that the given noun refers to the plural and is in the nominative case.

Morphemic analysis of the word

So, we found out that the morpheme is the least significant part of the lexeme. Now let's talk about morphemic analysis. In order to correctly do morphemic analysis, you must follow the following rules.

1. First, the analyzed lexeme is written from the sentence or text in the form in which it is present.

2. Determine the part of speech and then, whether it is variable. If yes, go to step 3, if not - to step 4.

3. Find the ending. For this we bow down by birth or by case, by numbers. The variable part will be the end.

4. We allocate a basis. The basis is the whole word without end.

5. We find the root. To do this, we select the root words from different parts of the word.

6. Select the prefix that stands in front of the root.

7. Select the suffixes. To do this, we select words with similar suffixes, but different roots. Remember that some words can have several prefixes and suffixes. For example, the word unpleasant has two prefixes: pre-not-pleasant . And in the word the dreamer has three suffixes: a dream-a-tel-nitsa .

That's the whole analysis of the composition.

An example of morphemic analysis

Let's analyze one word so that you see the principle of morphemic analysis and remember the sequence of actions. Take for example: "I have not seen an old man for a long time."

1. Have written out the word "old man" .

2. They declined: the old man, the old man - a noun, mutable.

3. They declined again: the old man, the old man, the old men , the ending of the old man's words-a.

4. Drop the ending. The basis is the old man .

5. We select the same root lexemes: old age, old - the root is old.

6. We have nothing before the root, so there is no prefix in the word.

7. We select words with the suffix -ik-, if they exist. A man, a nose - a suffix - ik.

As you can see, there is nothing complicated in the analysis of the word. The main thing is to strictly follow the algorithm, so as not to get off and correctly define everything, and also understand what a morpheme is. Examples with different morphemes should also learn how to choose correctly.

If you doubt the accuracy of the analysis, you can always find a morphemic dictionary of the Russian language and see in it, from which morphemes this or that word is composed, exactly how it is formed. You can use the dictionaries edited by Potikhi ZA or Tikhonov A.N.

So, we learned that the morpheme is the smallest part of the word, determined what kind of morphemes are, talked about each of them. Also found out how to do the morphemic analysis of the word and considered an example of this analysis. Remembered about the dictionaries, which will help you check the correctness of the parsing of the word. We hope that the article was useful to you.

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