Re: What is a morpheme?

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Tue Feb 02 1999 - 09:36:15 EST

At 9:29 AM -0500 2/3/99, Jonathan Robie wrote:
>I was talking to a computational linguist during a wonderful Thai dinner,
>and I mentioned some morphological tables I have been preparing for Little
>Greek. I asked him whether there is any objective test for a morpheme, and
>he claimed that there is no test that really works, that it is basically a
>matter of making tables and subjectively assigning meaning.
>Is this an extreme view? What tests do y'all use for morphemes?

I avoid using the word--it's one of those terms like "aspect" that
instantaneously communicate to people, more often than not, something other
than what you really mean. ;-) Therefore I tend to use the long-winded
periphrastic expression to communicate what I mean; that usually doesn't
work so well either!

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR

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