Home » Anthropology of language and communication | Anthropology of language and communication | University of Maryland University College

Anthropology of language and communication | Anthropology of language and communication | University of Maryland University College


All languages have resources for making new words to encode new meanings. This week you read about morphemes, which are the smallest linguistic units for conveying meaning. In some languages we can use morphemes to create new words. For example, if we decided not to be friends with someone anymore, we can “defriend” them. This word has two morphemes – the prefix of de, and the word friend. However, in many cases English lacks a simple word to describe something. For example, there is no single word to describe “the enemy of an enemy”. If we had to make one up, we would have to follow the criteria of our language so people would understand what we were talking about, similar to how most of us could figure out what defriend means. Maybe we could use the word grandenemy – similar to how a grandchild is the child of a child.

For this discussion, use the rules of grammar that you read about this week – especially phonemes, morphemes, and syntax  – to create a new word for one of the following phrases, or a phrase that you come up with on your own. Once you create the word, discuss the rules of grammar that you used to create it and why you think it would be widely understood in the English language.

Guided Response: For your replies to classmates, try to reply to a post that used a different word than you did, and critique their new word in terms of how well it follows the rules of grammar, and how easy you think it is to understand the meaning. Below are the suggested phrases (or use your own phrase):

a repeated mistake

                a friend of a friend

               the moment right before you wake up

               A person who talks too fast

               A bad driver

Provide your initial post by 11:59 pm on Sunday. Your initial post should be at least 200 words in length, excluding the discussion prompt and the references. Please use in-text APA citations within your post as well as full APA references at the end of your post.

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