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What is a root?



A root is the portion of a word that

  • is common to a set of derived or inflected forms, if any, when all affixes are removed
  • is not further analyzable into meaningful elements, being morphologically simple, and
  • carries the principle portion of meaning of the words in which it functions.

If a root does not occur by itself in a meaningful way in a language, it is referred to as a bound morpheme.

Examples (English)
  • Disestablish
  • Establishment
  • Establishments
  A root is a kind of
See also

Crystal 1985 268


Hartmann and Stork 1972 199


Pei and Gaynor 1954 187–188


Mish 1990 1023


Matthews 1991 64

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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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