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The Art of English

  • Date Submitted: 12/11/2014 01:24 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 52.5 
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Part 1

Explain the meaning of the following terms, using examples from the module materials and any relevant examples of your own.


A morpheme is defined as the smallest meaning-bearing unit of language. There are two types of morphemes: bound and free. A free morpheme can stand as a word in its own right, whereas a bound morpheme cannot stand alone and must be added to another unit to acquire meaning ; a bound morpheme   can either be added as a suffix or prefix and must be accompanied by a hyphen to show that it must be linked to another morpheme. For example, the word ‘sincerely’ is made up of the free morpheme ‘sincere’ ,and the bound morpeme   –ly. In this way the adjective ‘sincere’ has been transformed by the bound morpheme into the adverb, ‘sincerely’. However, in some cases, spelling changes arise in words such as beautiful (beauti + -ful) where a seventeenth century rule is applied for the word-final ‘y’ to change to an ‘i’ if anything was added to it (U211, Unit 2, Origins of Old English).

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Orthography is defined as   the way in which language is spelt. It should, however, be distinguished from phonology   which is the sound system of a language. In orthography, different letters (orthographic symbols) can at times represent different sounds according to their context.Conversely, in phonology, the phoneme (phonetic symbol) will always represent the same sound (U211, Unit 5, Describing the sounds of English: a phonological approach). Consistent spelling wasn’t always as   important as it is today and lacked uniformity due to the wide variety of regional dialects and lack of conventionalised spellings and authoratative sources; for instance the word ‘egg’ could be spelt either ‘egges’ or ‘eyren’. William Caxton, who first brought printing to England, resolved this problem by printing the dialect of the south-east Midlands (Leith & Graddol, 2007, p.86). This along with the introduction of the...


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