Friday, August 19, 2011

Phoneme Morpheme and Syntax

Phoneme, Morpheme, and Syntax

A phoneme is the smallest contrastive unit in the sound system of a language.
In a language or dialect, a phoneme (from the Greek: phonema, "a sound uttered") is the smallest segmental unit of sound employed to form meaningful contrasts between utterances.

Here are examples of the phonemes /r/ and /l/ occurring in a minimal pair:

    * lip
    * rip

The phones [r] and [l] contrast in identical environments and are considered to be separate phonemes. The phonemes /r/ and /l/ serve to distinguish the word rip from the word lip.

A morpheme is the smallest meaningful unit in the grammar of a language. In linguistics, a morpheme is the smallest conceptual meaningful component of a word. A morpheme is physically represented by morph(s) in sentences. i.e. in the word "unforgivable", the negative morpheme "not" is represented by the morph "un" whereas in another instance "intolerable", the negative morpheme "not "is represented by the morph "in".

The concept of word and morpheme are different: a morpheme may or may not stand alone. One or several morphemes compose a word. A morpheme is free if it can stand alone (ex: "lie", "cake"), or bound if it is used exclusively alongside a free morpheme (ex: "im" in impossible).

Examples (English): Unladylike
The word unladylike consists of three morphemes.
Morpheme breaks:

    * un- 'not'
    * lady '(well behaved) female adult human'
    * -like 'having the characteristics of'

None of these morphemes can be broken up any more without losing all sense of meaning.

In linguistics, Syntax is the study of the rules that govern the ways in which words combine to form phrases, clauses, and sentences.
Syntax is the study of the principles and rules for constructing phrases and sentences in natural languages. So, in other words, Syntax is the arrangement of words in a sentence.


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