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What is a root?

 

Definition
 

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.
Discussion
 

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
Generic
  A root is a kind of
 
See also
 
Sources
 

Crystal 1985 268

 

Hartmann and Stork 1972 199

 

Pei and Gaynor 1954 187–188

 

Mish 1990 1023

 

Matthews 1991 64


Context for this page:

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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