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Comparison and contrast of wordform, word, morpheme, and syllable

 

Compare and contrast: Wordform, word, morpheme, and syllable
 

Here is a table that compares and contrasts a morpheme with other minimal units in language:

 

A …

Is the smallest unit of …

That …

Wordform

Speech or writing

  • Has distinctive meaning.
  • Can occur by itself. (In most orthographies it is separated from other wordforms by a space.)

Word

Syntax

  • Has distinctive meaning.
  • Can occur by itself.

Morpheme

Syntax

  • Has a distinctive meaning.
  • Cannot occur by itself unless it is in a monomorphemic word.

Syllable

Pronunciation

  • Has no inherent distinctive meaning.
  • Cannot occur by itself unless it is in a monosyllabic word.

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Go to SIL home page This page is an extract from the LinguaLinks Library, Version 5.0 published on CD-ROM by SIL International, 2003. [Ordering information.]

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