Free «Linguistics» Essay Sample

Phoneme is the smallest language unit. Phonetics and phonology deal with the structure and systematic patterning of sound in human language (Akmajian, 2001). Morphemes are the smallest language units possessing associated meaning, thus, they can be called carriers of lexical structure information. Morphology studies the inner word structure and relationships among words. The combination of both sciences creates the third one – morphophonology, dealing with the phonological component of grammar. The theory implying close connection between morphology and phonology was developed by Chomsky and Halle (Nesset, 2008). Ability to perform phonemic and morphemic analysis is crucial for understanding the structure of a language and components of lexical meaning by both native speakers and those who study it as a second language.

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Morphemes, apart from distinction to root and affix ones (there is a further subdivision into prefixes, linking elements and suffixes), are generally divided into free and bound. The basis for such stratification is grammatical dependence of the unit: free morphemes constitute an utterance by themselves, and morphemes which cannot stand alone are called bound (Carstairs-McCarthy, 2002). It means that all affixes are bound. English is characterized by dominance of free morphemes in its vocabulary, which can be explained by the peculiarities of the modern variant of language.

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Some gentle/men dine/d at an econom/ic/al restaurant. Some is a free morpheme, as well as gentle, dine, at, an, econom and restaurant. The last morpheme seems long enough, still it is considered to be a single entity due to etymology properties. There is a dualistic approach as for the morpheme men, but most linguists consider it to be a semi-affix. The rest of the morphemes – -d, -ic and -al – are bound.

They found the service to be un/accept/able and wish/ed to ex/press their un/happi/ness to the manage/ment. Free morphemes of the sentence are the following: they, found, the, service, to, be, accept, and, wish, to, press, their, happi, to, the and manage. The bound ones are un-, -able, -ed, ex-, un-, -ness, -ment.

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The manage/r was un/avail/able, so they brought the left/over/s home to their dog who reside/d in a dog/house in the back/yard.  The, manage, was, avail, so, they, brought, the, left, over, home, to, their, dog, who, reside, in, a, dog, house, in, the, back, yard – these are free morphemes. There are compound nouns in this sentence, comprised of two free morphemes and an inflection (left/over/s).To the bound morphemes belong -r, un-, -able, -s and -d.

The International Phonetic Alphabet is based on the widely familiar Roman alphabet, although symbols and letters from other systems are also used. The necessity of such additions is explained by the variety of sounds absent in the Roman alphabet (International Phonetic Association, 1999). The uniqueness and universality of IPA application makes it indispensable for transcribing words from practically any language. It should also be mentioned that there exist two possible systems of transcription based on the depth of phonetic analysis: IPA broad and narrow variants.

There was an old woman who swallowed a fly – [ð%u025B%u0259 w%u0254z %u0259n o%u028Ald 'wum%u0259n hu: 'swol%u0259ud %u0259 fla%u026A]. I don't know why she swallowed a fly – [a%u026A dount nou wa%u026A %u0283i: 'swol%u0259ud %u0259 fla%u026A]. Perhaps she'll die – [p%u0259r'hæps %u0283i:l da%u026A]. Different types of consonants and vowels (among them monophthongs and diphthongs) can be found in phonemic structure of lexemes of the given sentences. Broad transcription was applied for these sentences. Of course, while transcribing using IPA peculiarities of the language and especially its national variants are taken into consideration, and they all can be reflected with the help of letters and special symbols. The fact that English is a multinational language also presents difficulties for transcription. American dialect was used in this very case.

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