A. Definition of “word”:
• Words are genuine linguistics units.
•In written texts, words are recognized by the white spaces between them.
•In linguistic analysis, we are interested in spoken words.
•“A word’ is a free morpheme or a combination of morphemes that together form a basic segment of speech” . Norman C. Stageberg
“A word is…any segment of a sentence bounded by successive point at which pausing is possible” Charles F. Hockett.
B. Simple and Complex Words:
•English words may be classified on the basis of the kinds and combinations of morphemes of which they are composed.
1. Simple words consist of a single free morpheme.
EXAMPLES: flea, long, spirit
2. Complex words contain, as their immediate constituents (ICs), either two bound forms or a bound and a free form.
EXAMPLES: televise , telephone.
- Complex Words contain two Bound Forms:
tele | vise
- Complex Words contain Bound and free Forms:
tele | phone
eras | er
C. Compound Words:
• Compound words have free forms, usually two as their ICs:
_ green | house
_ out | side
• A small number of compound words have three or four free forms as coordinate ICs.
spic| and| span
Compounds words resemble grammatical structures in that they imply, though they do not state, a grammatical relationship.
Compound words can be distinguished from grammatical structures in three ways:
1. Compound words cannot be divided by the insertion of intervening materials between the two parts, but grammatical structures can be so divided.
_She is a sweetheart.
_She has a sweet heart.
2. A member of a compound word cannot participate in a grammatical structure. COMPARE:
hard ball to baseball.
· hard ball = modifier + noun
· baseball = compound word base | ball.
‘very’ can be added:
_ It was a very hard ball.
_ * It was a very baseball.
3. Some compound nouns have different stress patterns than grammatical structures.
Blúebìrd & blûe bírd
Blúebìrd = Compound Word
blûe bird = Grammatical Structure
Compound words may take three forms:
a. an open compound: such as sweet potato.
b. a hyphenated compound: such as mother- in-law.
c. a closed compound: such as airtight.
Stageberg, Norman C. and Dallin D. Oaks (2000). An Introductory English Grammar , Heinle, Boston:USA.