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Journal Article

The morph as a minimal linguistic form


Haspelmath,  Martin
Linguistic and Cultural Evolution, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;
External Organizations;
Department of Linguistics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Max Planck Society;

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Haspelmath, M. (2020). The morph as a minimal linguistic form. Morphology, 30(2), 117-134. doi:10.1007/s11525-020-09355-5.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0006-6095-5
This paper makes a terminological proposal: that the old term morph can be used for a minimal linguistic form. Many linguists (not only morphologists) need such a term, because we often refer to minimal linguistic forms, but the various terms used by linguists in roughly this meaning are either unclear or do not refer to forms. The term “morpheme” has three rather different meanings, and other terms such as “vocabulary item” are too abstract. The term “morph” can be used as the basis for defining other widely used terms such as “root”, “prefix”, and “suffix”, which are currently often defined as kinds of “morphemes”. It can also serve as the basis for a clearer definition of suppletion (involving suppletive morph sets) and morph variants, thus avoiding the confusions surrounding the term “allomorph(y)”.