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LINGUIST List 22.2346

Fri Jun 03 2011

Qs: Early Sense of the Word 'Morpheme'

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        1.     Stephen Anderson , Early Sense of the Word 'Morpheme'

Message 1: Early Sense of the Word 'Morpheme'
Date: 01-Jun-2011
From: Stephen Anderson <srayale.edu>
Subject: Early Sense of the Word 'Morpheme'
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Wells (1947:8) says that "the term morphème was current in
Saussure's day, but with a specialized significance: the 'formative'
elements of a word (affixes, endings, etc.) as opposed to the root." On
the other hand, there is consensus that the word was invented by
Baudouin de Courtenay, and his 1895 definition is "that part of a word
which is endowed with psychological autonomy and is for the very
same reason not further divisible. It consequently subsumes such
concepts as the root (radix), all possible affixes, (suffixes, prefixes),
endings which are exponents of syntactic relationships, and the
like" (translation from Stankiewicz's Anthology).

I vaguely recall something like the usage Wells reports, but I can't find a
source. In particular, everything in Baudouin, Kruszewsky, and other
work of that vintage seems to use Baudouin's general sense rather
than the limited one. Can anyone enlighten me about some early
linguist who used 'morpheme' in a way that excluded roots?
--
Steve Anderson

Linguistic Field(s): Discipline of Linguistics
                            History of Linguistics
                            Morphology


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