Morphemes are the smallest units that hold meaning in language or an element of a word such as –ing in walking.


Morphemes are the smallest units that hold meaning in language or an element of a word such as –ing in walking. They can not be divided further into any small parts that have meaning. Phonemes on the other hand are the smallest units of sound which are found in a language. These are small phonetic units found in a particular language that have the capability of completely changing the entire meaning of a particular word such as b in bat and c in cat in English. In English the word cat can not be broken down into small ideas that are based on the word. This means that “cat” is completely a sound of its own. On the other hand each and every letter in the word ”cat” corresponds to a particular sound which if put separately they can not be complete with each other. In English there are various cases where more than a single phoneme is in correspondence with a single morpheme. For example telephone contains two morphemes which are tele and phone and within the same words there are other several phonemes which are t, e, l, e, f, o, and n.

This paper will therefore identify some of the morphemes and phonemes which are found within some phrases.


Morphemes can be classified into two broad categories they are either free or bound. These two morpheme categories are mutually exclusive to each other. This therefore means that a particular morpheme can only belong to a particular category. So/me gentle /men dined at an economical restaurant. They found the service to be un /acceptable and wish/ed to ex/press their un/happiness to the man/age/ment. The manager was un/available, so they brought the left/overs home to their dog who resided in a dog/house in the back/yard. These phrases contain various morphemes, some of then are free while others are bound. These morphemes are so and me in some, gentle and man in gentleman, un and acceptable in unacceptable, wish and ed in wished, ex and press in express, un and happiness in unhappiness, man, age and ment in management, un and available in unavailable, left and overs in left overs, back and yard in backyard and lastly dog and house in dog house. Among the free morphemes are gentle,men,acceptable,wish,available,press,man,age,left,overs,dog,house,back, and yard. They are classified as free morphemes because each of the morphemes can exist and function as complete words with specific meanings independently.

The Bound morphemes on the other hand are so, me, ed, un, ment, ex .these morphemes are classified as bound since they form part of words and act as conjunctions with roots or even other free morphemes or other bound morphemes. For instance un is only found together with other morphemes so that it forms a word with meaning. Most of these morphemes are prefixes like ex, un and suffixes like –ed,-ment while others are cranberry morphemes which are neither prefixes nor suffixes such as so and me.


There are various phonemes found in English. There are close to forty phonemes found in English. The phrase “There was an old woman who swallowed a fly. I don’t know why she swallowed a fly. Perhaps she’ll die” contains various phonemes This can be represented in the IPA format as follows

/ðɛər/-there,/ wʌz/-was, /æn/-an, /oʊld/-old, /wʊmən/-woman, /swɒloʊ/-swallow, /flaɪ/-fly, /doʊnt/- don’t, /noʊ/-know, ,/ waɪ/-why, /ʃi/-she, /pərˈhæps/-perhaps, /ʃil/-she’ll, /daɪ/-die. Therefore all these words have particular phonemes in them which are represented.

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