Tuesday, August 8, 2023

In Praise of Morphology (Word "Morphation")

In two weeks, we'll be back in school, teaching the Greek language to eager students. Much of what we will be doing is learning how words are formed. This is called:


Morphology is the study of 



Form (morphology) 

Phorm and morph almost make an anagram. Thus, when we study morphology, we are studying word




Here are some Greek morphemes my students have learned. 

This is how you say "I, you, he, we, you, they" in Greek. Without knowing these suffixes in Greek, you will never be able to understand how Greek words are phormed or morphed

Morphology is a very interesting and useful way to study Greek. That's because the basic unit of meaning in language is not the word but the morpheme. Some languages like to put spaces between their morphemes. Others/tend/to/combine/them. Ourgoalistoundertsandtheinternalstructureofwords. We ask, "What is inside a word?" For example, here's how to say "I will hear" in Greek, Spanish, French, and German:

Greek has one word that contains three morphemes. They are:

  • akou, meaning hear
  • s, meaning will
  • and ō, meaning I

Thus, akou-s-ō means hear-will-I, or "I will hear." 

Spanish works in a similar way. 

In short, the morpheme is the smallest meaningful unit in language. Some languages tend to combine their morphemes into words. Others tend not to. 

Mastering Greek is a lot easier if your teacher uses a morphological approach to language. That's because rather than just memorizing words, you are now understanding how words work. 

Here's to morphology!