FACTOID # 14: North Carolina has a larger Native American population than North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana combined.
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Encyclopedia > Root (linguistics)

The root is the primary lexical unit of a word, which carries the most significant aspects of semantic content and cannot be reduced into smaller constituents. Content words in nearly all languages contain, and may consist only of, root morphemes. However, sometimes the term "root" is also used to describe the word minus its inflectional endings, but with its lexical endings in place. For example, chatters has the inflectional root or lemma chatter, but the lexical root chat. Inflectional roots are often called stems, and a root in the stricter sense may be thought of as a monomorphemic stem. Not to be mistaken with lexicography. ... A word is a unit of language that carries meaning and consists of one or more morphemes which are linked more or less tightly together, and has a phonetical value. ... Semantics (Greek semantikos, giving signs, significant, symptomatic, from sema, sign) refers to the aspects of meaning that are expressed in a language, code, or other form of representation. ... Function words are words that have little lexical meaning or have ambiguous meaning, but instead serve to express grammatical relationships with other words within a sentence, or specify the attitude or mood of the speaker. ... In morpheme-based morphology, a morpheme is the smallest lingual unit that carries a semantic interpretation. ... Inflection of the Spanish lexeme for cat, with blue representing the masculine gender, pink representing the feminine gender, grey representing the form used for mixed-gender, and green representing the plural number. ... In linguistics, and particularly in morphology, a lemma or citation form is the canonical form of a lexeme. ... This article is in need of attention. ...

Roots can be either free morphemes or bound morphemes. Root morphemes are essential for affixation and compounds. In linguistics, free morphemes are morphemes that can stand alone, unlike bound morphemes, which only occur as parts of words. ... Bound morphemes can only occur when attached to root morphemes. ... Affixation occurs when a bound morpheme is attached to a root morpheme. ... In linguistics, a compound is a lexeme (a word) that consists of more than one other lexeme. ...

The root of a word is a unit of meaning (morpheme) and, as such, it is an abstraction, though it can usually be represented in writing as a word would be. For example, it can be said that the root of the English verb form running is run, or the root of the Spanish superlative adjective amplĂ­simo is ampli-, since those words are clearly derived from the root forms by simple suffixes that do not alter the roots in any way. In particular, English has very little inflection, and hence a tendency to have words that are identical to their roots. But more complicated inflection, as well as other processes, can obscure the root; for example, the root of mice is mouse (still a valid word), and the root of interrupt is, arguably, rupt, which is not a word in English and only appears in derivational forms (such as disrupt, corrupt, rupture, etc.). The root rupt is written as if it were a word, but it's not.

This distinction between the word as a unit of speech and the root as a unit of meaning is even more important in the case of languages where roots have many different forms when used in actual words, as is the case in Semitic languages. In these, roots are formed by consonants alone, and different words (belonging to different parts of speech) are derived from the same root by inserting vowels. For example, in Hebrew, the root gdl represents the idea of largeness, and from it we have gadol and gdola (masculine and feminine forms of the adjective "big"), gadal "he grew", higdil "he magnified" and magdelet "magnifier", along with many other words such as godel "size" and migdal'. The Semitic languages are the northeastern subfamily of the Afro-Asiatic languages, and the only family of this group spoken in Asia. ... In the terminology used to discuss the grammar of the Semitic languages, a triliteral is a root containing a sequence of three consonants. ... “Hebrew” redirects here. ...

Reconstructed roots

The root of a word, in etymology, has a somewhat different meaning: it may represent an older form. When several languages are believed to be children of one older language, linguists will compare each language to the rest, trying to find matching words and ultimately reconstruct the ancient root. This has been done with several major language families, such as the Indo-European languages and the Semitic family. Not to be confused with Entomology, the study of insects. ... The Indo-European languages comprise a family of several hundred related languages and dialects [1], including most of the major languages of Europe, as well as many spoken in the Indian subcontinent (South Asia), the Iranian plateau (Southwest Asia), and Central Asia. ...

See also

For other uses, see Morphology. ... Morphological typology was developed by brothers Friedrich and August von Schlegel. ... This article is in need of attention. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Proto-Semitic. ... The following is a list of Proto-Indo-European roots, given with their basic meaning and notable cognates in Indo-European languages. ... In language learning, the principal parts of a verb are the series of key forms which the student has to learn by heart in order to be able to conjugate the verb through all its forms. ... In linguistics, and particularly in morphology, a lemma or citation form is the canonical form of a lexeme. ...

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Linguistics, English Grammar, Dictionaries, Educational Software (748 words)
A formal description of English identifies commonly-occurring grammatical structures to facilitate understanding the position of linguistic elements.
One important feature of DICTGET is that it will give you the root form of a word regardless of which word you put in, for example, the word "was" retrieves the verb "be".
Each form of the word is displayed with its grammatical attributes.
  More results at FactBites »



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