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date: 23 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the internal structure of words. In concatenative morphology, complex words are created by the combination of words and affixes. Non-concatenative morphology makes use of vowel and consonant alternations and of tonal patterns. Further processes include paradigmatic morphology, involving the replacement of one affix in a complex word by another, and univerbation, where word combinations become words. Normally, the meaning of a complex word is a function of the meaning of its constituents and the meaning of the morphological construction as a whole, in accordance with the principle of compositionality. In some complex words, however, there is a mismatch between the formal structure and the semantics. Concerning their pronunciation, the phonetic shape of morphemes is sometimes determined by their position in morphological structure. Complex words, once formed, may lose (some of) their motivation; their morphological structure may become opaque which may also lead to changes in their pronunciation.

Keywords: internal structure of words, concatenative morphology, non-concatenative morphology, paradigmatic morphology, univerbation, compositionality, pronunciation, motivation, loss of motivation

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