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what is a phoneme? and a morpheme?

For learning: English
Base language: English
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    Hello Safaa,

    Phonemes are one of the set of speech sounds in any given language that serve to distinguish one word from another.
    A phoneme may consist of several phonetically distinct articulations, which are regarded as identical by native speakers, since one articulation may be substituted for another without any change of meaning. Thus /p/ and /b/ are separate phonemes in English because they distinguish such words as pet and bet, whereas the light and dark /l/ sounds in little are not separate phonemes since they may be transposed without changing meaning .

    A morpheme refers to a speech element having a meaning or grammatical function that cannot be subdivided into further such elements like the good example Xusha gave.
    morpheme is meaningful linguistic unit consisting of a word, such as man, or a word element, such as -ed in walked, that cannot be divided into smaller meaningful parts.
    phoneme is the smallest phonetic unit in a language that is capable of conveying a distinction in meaning, as the m of mat and the b of bat in English.

    morpheme = any additional pheme added to the pheme that you already have.

    (Ignore this post - I don't know what just came over me...)

    In a language or dialect, a phoneme (from the Greek: φώνημα, phōnēma, "a sound uttered") is the smallest segmental unit of sound employed to form meaningful contrasts between utterances.

    Thus a phoneme is a group of slightly different sounds which are all perceived to have the same function by speakers of the language or dialect in question. An example of a phoneme is the /k/ sound in the words kit and skill. (In transcription, phonemes are placed between slashes, as here.) Even though most native speakers don't notice this, in most dialects, the k sounds in each of these words are actually pronounced differently: they are different speech sounds, or phones (which, in transcription, are placed in square brackets). In our example, the /k/ in kit is aspirated, [kʰ], while the /k/ in skill is not, [k]. The reason why these different sounds are nonetheless considered to belong to the same phoneme in English is that if an English-speaker used one instead of the other, the meaning of the word would not change: saying [kʰ] in skill might sound odd, but the word would still be recognized. By contrast, some other sounds could be substituted which would cause a change in meaning, producing words like still (substituting /t/), spill (substituting /p/) and swill (substituting /w/). These other sounds (/t/, /p/ and /w/) are, in English, different phonemes. In some languages, however, [kʰ] and [k] are different phonemes, and are perceived as such by the speakers of those languages. Thus, in Icelandic, /kʰ/ is the first sound of kátur 'cheerful', while /k/ is the first sound of gátur 'riddles'.


    In morpheme-based morphology, a morpheme is the smallest linguistic unit that has semantic meaning. In spoken language, morphemes are composed of phonemes (the smallest linguistically distinctive units of sound), and in written language morphemes are composed of graphemes (the smallest units of written language).

    The concept morpheme differs from the concept word, as many morphemes cannot stand as words on their own. A morpheme is free if it can stand alone, or bound if it is used exclusively alongside a free morpheme. Its actual phonetic representation is the morph, with the different morphs representing the same morpheme being grouped as its allomorphs.

    English example:
    The word "unbreakable" has three morphemes: "un-", a bound morpheme; "break", a free morpheme; and "-able", a bound morpheme. "un-" is also a prefix, "-able" is a suffix. Both "un-" and "-able" are affixes.

    The morpheme plural-s has the morph "-s", /s/, in cats (/kæts/), but "-es", /ɨz/, in dishes (/dɪʃɨz/), and even the voiced "-s", /z/, in dogs (/dɒgz/). "-s". These are allomorphs.


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