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What is the difference between a word and a morpheme ?

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psyproffie eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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A word in linguistics is the smallest content that can convey meaning. A word can always stand on its own and maintain its meaning. For example the  word “historical” can stand alone and has the meaning of a past event.

In linguistics a morpheme is the smallest component of a word that has a semantic meaning. When looking at semantic meaning you are looking at the smallest linguistic sound within a word that has meaning. For example when looking at “prehistorical” the morpheme would be “pre” meaning...

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litteacher8 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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sid-sarfraz | Student

A morpheme is the smallest unit of any language that cannot be further divided into smaller units and when combined with two or more morphemes creates a word with different meaning.

Like for example;

word = unpredictable

where there are 3 morphemes;

  • un
  • predict
  • able

Basically there are two kinds of morphemes;

  1. Free (words that alone have a meaning like cat, green, predict, etc)
  2. Bound (morphemes that can not be used alone like 'un')

Therefore words are texts or any meaningful speech that are independent and have a proper meaning. Where as morphemes are the smallest units of words that have meaning and join together to create a word with a different meaning.

samiyeh2013 | Student

a morpheme is a part of word which can't be diveded to more meaningful parts