digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:

Agriculture

Applied sciences

Arts

Belief

Business

Chronology

Culture

Education

Environment

Geography

Health

History

Humanities

Language

Law

Life

Mathematics

Nature

People

Politics

Science

Society

Technology

For other uses, see Pseudomorph.

In linguistics, an allomorph is a variant form of a morpheme. The concept occurs when a unit of meaning can vary in sound without changing meaning. The term allomorph explains the comprehension of phonological variations for specific morphemes.

Allomorphy in English suffixes[edit]

English has several morphemes that vary in sound but not in meaning. Examples include the past tense and the plural morphemes.

For example, in English, a past tense morpheme is -ed. It occurs in several allomorphs depending on its phonological environment, assimilating voicing of the previous segment or inserting a schwa when following an alveolar stop:

  • as /əd/ or /ɪd/ in verbs whose stem ends with the alveolar stops /t/ or /d/, such as 'hunted' /hʌntɪd/ or 'banded' /bændɪd/
  • as /t/ in verbs whose stem ends with voiceless phonemes other than /t/, such as 'fished' /fɪʃt/
  • as /d/ in verbs whose stem ends voiced phonemes other than /d/, such as 'buzzed' /bʌzd/

Notice the "other than" restrictions above. This is a common fact about allomorphy: if the allomorphy conditions are ordered from most restrictive (in this case, after an alveolar stop) to least restrictive, then the first matching case usually "wins". Thus, the above conditions could be re-written as follows:

  • as /əd/ or /ɪd/ when the stem ends with the alveolar stops /t/ or /d/
  • as /t/ when the stem ends with voiceless phonemes
  • as /d/ elsewhere

The fact that the /t/ allomorph does not appear after stem-final /t/, despite the fact that the latter is voiceless, is then explained by the fact that /əd/ appears in that environment, together with the fact that the environments are ordered. Likewise, the fact that the /d/ allomorph does not appear after stem-final /d/ is because the earlier clause for the /əd/ allomorph takes priority; and the fact that the /d/ allomorph does not appear after stem-final voiceless phonemes is because the preceding clause for the /t/ takes priority.

Irregular past tense forms, such as "broke" or "was/ were", can be seen as still more specific cases (since they are confined to certain lexical items, such as the verb "break"), which therefore take priority over the general cases listed above.

Stem allomorphy[edit]

Allomorphy can also exist in stems or roots, as in Classical Sanskrit:

Vāk (voice)
Singular Plural
Nominative /vaːk/ /vaːt͡ʃ-as/
Genitive /vaːt͡ʃ-as/ /vaːt͡ʃ-aːm/
Instrumental /vaːt͡ʃ-aː/ /vaːɡ-bʱis/
Locative /vaːt͡ʃ-i/ /vaːk-ʂi/

There are three allomorphs of the stem: /vaːk/, /vaːt͡ʃ/ and /vaːɡ/. The allomorphs are conditioned by the particular case-marking suffixes.

The form of the stem /vaːk/, found in the nominative singular and locative plural, is the etymological form of the morpheme. Pre-Indic palatalization of velars resulted in the variant form /vaːt͡ʃ/, which was initially phonologically conditioned. This conditioning can still be seen in the Locative Singular form, where the /t͡ʃ/ is followed by the high front vowel /i/.

But subsequent merging of /e/ and /o/ into /a/ made the alternation unpredictable on phonetic grounds in the Genitive case (both Singular and Plural), as well as the Nominative Plural and Instrumental Singular. Hence, this allomorphy was no longer directly relatable to phonological processes.

Phonological conditioning also accounts for the /vaːɡ/ form found in the Instrumental Plural, where the /ɡ/ assimilates in voicing to the following /bʱ/.

History[edit]

The term was originally used to describe variations in chemical structure. It was first applied to language (in writing) in 1948, by Fatih Şat and Sibel Merve in Language XXIV.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary Online: Entry 50006103. Accessed: 2006-09-05
  • Jeffers, Robert J. and Lehiste, Ilse (1979). Principles and Methods for Historical Linguistics. MIT Press. 

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allomorph — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
39 videos foundNext > 

Morphemes and allomorphs

This video introduces the concept of 'allomorphs' Please use this video in conjunction with the video 'What is a morpheme' on the Language and UWE channel.

Grammar of Words: Morphemes & Allomorphs (Lesson 1 of 7)

Learn how languages build words in this introduction to morphology. In this lesson (the first and most important in the Grammar of Words series), you will le...

Linguistic Micro-Lectures: Allomorphs

What are allomorphs? Within less than two minutes Prof. Handke explains this important morphological notion using the plural morpheme of PDE.

37 adding allomorph

How to Pronounce Allomorph

Learn how to say Allomorph correctly with EmmaSaying's "how do you pronounce" free tutorials. @---@---@---@---@---@---@---@---@---@---@---@---@---@ Check out my PLAYLISTS below for a real...

mofossintaxe aula 2 - Allomorphs & Homophones

allomorph instrumental beat

Download full version: http://bitly.com/16LHaAj More beats and instrumentals @ http://instromusic.com.

Linguistic Micro-Lectures: Morphs and Morphemes

How do we get from morphs to morphemes? Within less than two minutes, Prof. Handke explains the main principles of morphological analysis and defines terms s...

21 adding allomorphs

What is a morpheme

Basic introduction to morphemes, as well as a look at free and bound morphemes and the different functions of morphemes. Appropriate for students with no/lit...

39 videos foundNext > 

1 news items

 
The Hard Tackle
Sat, 29 Sep 2012 10:07:01 -0700

Since the start of the pre-season, Klopp was seen experimenting with the squad to help the team adapt to a 3-5-2 allomorph of a more natural 4-2-3-1. The wit-craft was to boss the midfield by increasing the number of personnel along with the ...
Loading

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!

Searchlight Group

Digplanet also receives support from Searchlight Group. Visit Searchlight