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Jan 9, 2017

The Morphology of the English Lexical Verbs

The morphology of lexical verbs simply means the different forms of a lexical verb. The lexical verb has five forms: 
  • The base form of the verb (e.g. eat).
  • The -s form of the verb (e.g. eats).
  • The -d/past form of the verb (e.g. ate).
  • The -ing/continuous form of the verb (e.g. eating).
  • The -n/past participle form of the verb (e.g. eaten).
The x+o /base form of the verb
Don't mind the mathematics there oh! It is called English Maths. 'X + 0' simply means the base form of the verb, that is, the natural state of the verb. It has not undergone any changes at all.

The base form of the verb has two variants from the point of view of finiteness. In other words, it can be finite and non finite. When it is in its finite form, it occurs alone, e.g. I eat rice everyday.
When it is non finite, it occurs with an auxiliary verb, e.g. I can eat rice daily.
It can also occur with a preposition if it is not finite, e.g. To eat rice everyday can be tiring.

The x+ s form of the lexical verb
Every lexical verb manifests this form. The x + s form of the lexical verb goes with a singular noun and the third person singular pronoun.
Emeka eats rice everyday.
He eats rice everyday.

Orthographically, the -s morpheme is realized as 's' and 'es.'
He eats rice everyday.
He teaches English Language in school.

Phonologically, the -s morpheme is realized as:
  • /s/- it is a voiceless non sibilant, e.g. eats
  • /z/- it is a voiced non sibilant, e.g. goes, calls etc.
  • /iz/ - sibilant sound, e.g. finishes, brushes, tries etc.
The x+s form is finite, that is, it always occurs alone and reflect for numbers.
Eze goes to school.
He eats bread everyday.
He drives recklessly.

There is a form of relationship between the x+o and x+s forms. They mark tense(the present tense form).
They come home late.
He comes home late.

The x+g/-ing/continuous form of the verb
The x+g form is assumed by every lexical verb. It is formed by the addition of -ing to the base form of the verb, e.g. eat/eating.

The only variation is that in some verbs that end in '-e' as in 'write,' you delete the 'e' before adding 'ing.' In verbs like 'traffic,' you add 'k' to it before adding 'ing.' Verbs like 'lie,' you change the 'ie' to 'y' before adding 'ing.'

The x + d/past form of the verb
The x+d form is a finite form of the verb. It always occurs alone without an auxiliary verb.
He went out of the class.
The baby cried at night.
Everybody laughed at him.

The x+d form is formed by the addition of the 'd' morpheme. The -d morpheme has the following allomorphs used according to phonological environment. It is realized as:
  • /d/ after voiced consonants or vowels, e.g. playp>>played/pleid/etc.
  • /t/ after voiceless consonants except if the consonant ends in 't,' e.g. like - liked/lait/; place - placed/pleist/; pass - passed/pa:st/etc.
  • /id/ if the last sound voiced/voiceless alveolar plosive(t,d), e.g.hate>>hated/heitid/; want>>wanted/wantid/.
The x+n/past participle form of the verb.
The x+n form is formed by the addition of 'n' or 'en' or 'ed' to the base form of the verb.
Know + n = known.
Eat + en = eaten.
Travel + ed = travelled.

There are instances where the x+n form takes the base form of the verb.
Burst etc.

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Tammy Reuben Is A Graduate Of English And Literary Studies Whose Love For Teaching English As A Second Language And Providing Students With Useful Educational And Secular Information Resulted In The Creation Of This Blog.