Morphological Analysis Exercises

Morphological Analysis Exercises

morphological analysis exercises about data from Zulu, Swedish, Cebuano, Dutch, Swahili, Samoan, Italian, Turkish, Chickasaw and Little-End Egglish languages.

Exercise 1                     Answers

A. Consider the following nouns in Zulu and proceed to look for the recurring forms:

umfazi “married woman” 
umfani “boy”
umzali “parent”
umfundisi “teacher”
umbazi “carver”
umlimi “farmer”
umdlali “player”
umfundi “reader ”
abafazi “married women”
abafani “boys”
abazali “parents”
abafundisi “teachers”
ababazi “carvers”
abalimi “farmers”
abadlali “players”
abafundi “readers”

a. What is the morpheme meaning “singular” in Zulu?
b. What is the morpheme meaning “plural” in Zulu?
c. List the Zulu stems to which the singular and plural morphemes are attached, and give their meanings.

B. The following Zulu verbs are derived from noun stems by adding a verbal suffix:

fundisa “to teach”
lima “to cultivate”
funda “to read”
baza “to carve”

d. Compare these words to the words in section A that are related in meaning, for example, umfundisi “teacher,” abafundisi “teachers,” fundisa “to teach.” What is the derivational suffix that specifies the category verb?
e. What is the nominal suffix (i.e., the suffix that forms nouns)?
f. State the morphological noun formation rule in Zulu.
g. What is the stem morpheme meaning “read”?
h. What is the stem morpheme meaning “carve”?

Exercise 2                     Answers

Sweden has given the world the rock group ABBA, the automobile Volvo, and the great film director Ingmar Bergman. The Swedish language offers us a noun morphology that you can analyze with the knowledge gained in your class. Consider these Swedish noun forms:

en lampa “a lamp”
en stol “a chair”
en tidning “a newspaper”
lampor “lamps”
stolar “chairs”
tidningar “newspapers” 
lampan “the lamp” 
stolen “the chair” 
tidningaren “the newspaper” 
lamporna “the lamps” 
stolarna “the chairs” 
tidningarna “the newspapers” 
en bil “a car”
en soffa “a sofa”
en katt “a cat”
bilar “cars”
soffor “sofas”
kattar “cats”
bilen “the car”
soffan “the sofa”
katten “the cat”
bilarna “the cars”
sofforna “the sofas”
kattarna “the cats”

a. What is the Swedish word for the indefinite article a (or an)?
b. What are the two forms of the plural morpheme in these data? How can you tell which plural form applies?
c. What are the two forms of the morpheme that make a singular word definite, that is, correspond to the English article the? How can you tell which form applies?
d. What is the morpheme that makes a plural word definite?
e. In what order do the various suffixes occur when there is more than one?
f. If en flicka is “a girl,” what are the forms for “girls,” “the girl,” and “the girls”?
g. If bussarna is “the buses,” what are the forms for “buses” and “the bus”?

Exercise 3                     Answers

Here are some nouns from the Philippine language Cebuano.

sibwano “a Cebuano” 
ilokano “an Ilocano” 
tagalog “a Tagalog person” 
inglis “an Englishman” 
bisaja “a Visayan” 
binisaja “the Visayan language”
ininglis “the English language”
tinagalog “the Tagalog language”
inilokano “the Ilocano language”
sinibwano “the Cebuano language”

a. What is the exact rule for deriving language names from ethnic group names?
b. What type of affixation is represented here?
c. If suwid meant “a Swede” and italo meant “an Italian,” what would be the words for the Swedish language and the Italian language?
d. If finuranso meant “the French language” and inunagari meant “the Hungarian language,” what would be the words for a Frenchman and a Hungarian?

Exercise 4                     Answers

The following infinitive and past participle verb forms are found in Dutch.

Past Participle
gewandeld  “walk”
geduwd  “push”
gestofzuigd  “vacuum-clean”

a. State the morphological rule for forming an infinitive in Dutch.
b. State the morphological rule for forming the Dutch past participle form.

Exercise 5                     Answers

Below are some sentences in Swahili:

mtoto amefika
mtoto anafika
mtoto atafika
watoto wamefika
watoto wanafika
watoto watafika
mtu amelala
mtu analala
mtu atalala
watu wamelala
watu wanalala
watu watalala
kisu kimeanguka
kisu kinaanguka
kisu kitaanguka
visu vimeanguka
visu vinaanguka
visu vitaanguka
kikapu kimeanguka
kikapu kinaanguka
kikapu kitaanguka
vikapu vimeanguka
vikapu vinaanguka
vikapu vitaanguka 
“The child has arrived.”
“The child is arriving.”
“The child will arrive.”
“The children have arrived.”
“The children are arriving.”
“The children will arrive.”
“The person has slept.”
“The person is sleeping.”
“The person will sleep.”
“The persons have slept.”
“The persons are sleeping.”
“The persons will sleep.”
“The knife has fallen.”
“The knife is falling.”
“The knife will fall.”
“The knives have fallen.”
“The knives are falling.”
“The knives will fall.”
“The basket has fallen.”
“The basket is falling.”
“The basket will fall.”
“The baskets have fallen.”
“The baskets are falling.”
“The baskets will fall.”

One of the characteristic features of Swahili (and Bantu languages in general) is the existence of noun classes. Specific singular and plural prefixes occur with the nouns in each class. These prefixes are also used for purposes of agreement between the subject noun and the verb. In the sentences given, two of these classes are included (there are many more in the language).

a. Identify all the morphemes you can detect, and give their meanings.
-toto “child”
m- noun prefix attached to singular nouns of Class I
a- prefix attached to verbs when the subject is a singular noun of Class I

Be sure to look for the other noun and verb markers, including tense markers.

b. How is the verb constructed? That is, what kinds of morphemes are strung together and in what order?
c. How would you say in Swahili:
(1) “The child is falling.”
(2) “The baskets have arrived.”
(3) “The person will fall.”

Exercise 6                     Answers

We mentioned the morphological process of reduplication—the formation of new words through the repetition of part or all of a word—which occurs in many languages. The following examples from Samoan illustrate this kind of morphological rule.

manao “he wishes” 
matua “he is old” 
malosi “he is strong” 
punou “he bends” 
atamaki “he is wise” 
savali “he travels” 
laga “he weaves”
mananao “they wish”
matutua “they are old”
malolosi “they are strong”
punonou “they bend”
atamamaki “they are wise”
pepese “they sing”

a. What is the Samoan for:
(1) “they weave”
(2) “they travel”
(3) “he sings”

b. Formulate a general statement (a morphological rule) that states how to form the plural verb form from the singular verb form.

Exercise 7                     Answers

One of the characteristics of Italian is that articles and adjectives have inflectional endings that mark agreement in gender (and number) with the noun they modify. Based on this information, answer the questions that follow the list of Italian phrases.

un uomo 
un uomo robusto 
un uomo robustissimo 
una donna robusta 
un vino rosso 
una faccia 
un vento secco 
“a man”
“a robust man”
“a very robust man”
“a robust woman”
“a red wine”
“a face”
“a dry wind”

a. What is the root morpheme meaning “robust”?
b. What is the morpheme meaning “very”?
c. What is the Italian for:
(1) “a robust wine”
(2) “a very red face”
(3) “a very dry wine”

Exercise 8                     Answers

Following is a list of words from Turkish. In Turkish, articles and morphemes indicating location are affixed to the noun.
deniz “an ocean” 
denize “to an ocean” 
denizin “of an ocean” 
eve “to a house” 
 evden “from a house”
evimden “from my house”
denizimde “in my ocean”
elde “in a hand”

a. What is the Turkish morpheme meaning “to”?
b. What kind of affixes in Turkish corresponds to English Prepositions (e.g., prefixes, suffixes, infixes, free morphemes)?
c. What would the Turkish word for “from an ocean” be?
d. How many morphemes are there in the Turkish word denizimde?

Exercise 9                     Answers

The following are some verb forms in Chickasaw, a member of the Muskogean family of languages spoken in south-central Oklahoma. Chickasaw is an endangered language. Currently, there are only about 100 speakers of Chickasaw, most of whom are over 70 years old.

 “I am tall”
“he/she is tall”
“you are tall”
“they are tall”
“I am tired”
“you were tired”
“you are cold”
“he was hungry”
“they were hungry”
“I am hungry”

a. What is the root morpheme for the following verbs?
(1) “to be tall”
(2) “to be hungry”

b. What is the morpheme meaning:
(1) past tense
(2) “I”
(3) “you”
(4) “he/she”

c. If the Chickasaw root for “to be old” is sipokni, how would you say:
(1) “You are old”
(2) “He was old”
(3) “They are old”

Exercise 10                     Answers

The language Little-End Egglish is spoken by the people of the Isle of Eggland.
Below are data from this language:

a. kul “omelet”
b. vet “yolk (of egg)”
c. rok “egg”
d. ver “egg shell”
e. gup “soufflé”
zkulego “my omelet”
zvetego “my yolk”
zrokego “my egg”
zverego “my egg shell”
zgupego “my soufflé”
zkulivo “your omelet”
zvetivo “your yolk”
zrokivo “your egg”
zverivo “your egg shell”
zgupivo “your soufflé”

i. Isolate the morphemes that indicate possession, first person singular, and second person (we don’t know whether singular, plural, or both). Indicate whether the affixes are prefixes or suffixes.
ii. Given that vel means “egg white”, how would a Little-End Egglisher say “my egg white”?
iii. Given that zpeivo means “your hard-boiled egg,” what is the word meaning “hard-boiled egg”?
iv. If you knew that zvetgogo meant “our egg yolk,” what would be likely to be the morpheme meaning “our”?
v. If you knew that borokego meant “for my egg,” what would be likely to be the morpheme bearing the benefactive meaning “for”?

Reference: Fromkin, V.,  Rodman, R., and Hyams, N. (2011). An introduction to language (9th ed.). Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

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