Morphemes and "lukewarm"

JediMaster

Senior Member
USA
English, United States
This isn't a grammar question so much as a linguistics question.

In the word "lukewarm," my textbook says that luke is a bound morpheme, but I do not understand why it is a bound morpheme instead of a prefix attatched to the free morpheme warm.

Can someone explain this to me? I have a test tomorrow and just ran accross this quandary. Thank you!
 
  • unefemme1

    Senior Member
    English, New Zealand
    Maybe it first started as a typing error, and the typist forgot the "-" mark in "lukewarm"...? Can't help further sorry. I searched up "morpheme" in WR and got "minimal meaningful language unit". This just confused me even more :S
    Some words in use today came about from mistakes though and don't really follow the gramatical rules of English, so maybe that's the explanation...?
     

    JediMaster

    Senior Member
    USA
    English, United States
    That's the correct definition of "morpheme." Basically, every word can be broken down into one or morphemes. For example the word "dogs" has two morphemes: "dog" and "s".

    Thanks for your reply, though; I was actually hoping there was a linguist among us that would be able to explain this to me. Of course, all prefixes are morphemes, but not all morphemes are prefixes, but that's about all I'm sure of in this case. :)
     

    LouisaB

    Senior Member
    English, UK
    Hi, JediMaster,

    My understanding of it is that 'luke' is a bound morpheme because it isn't used as a prefix for anything else - it only ever goes with 'warm'. It would be a 'prefix' if it could be used as one with other words too.

    Does that help?

    LouisaB
     

    JediMaster

    Senior Member
    USA
    English, United States
    That's what I was thinking. Will this "rule" be carried over to other words as well? If that morpheme isn't used as a prefix for anthing else, can we assume that it is simply a bound morpheme?

    That does help a lot. Thanks! :D
     

    LouisaB

    Senior Member
    English, UK
    That's right. It would be a lot more helpful if I could think of another example, but my brain's just died.... Sorry!
     

    okey-dokey

    Senior Member
    English / UK, London
    This isn't a grammar question so much as a linguistics question.

    In the word "lukewarm," my textbook says that luke is a bound morpheme, but I do not understand why it is a bound morpheme instead of a prefix attatched to the free morpheme warm.

    Can someone explain this to me? I have a test tomorrow and just ran accross this quandary. Thank you!
    It's a somewhat quirky example. The importance of the term bound morpheme lies in the presence in the language of morphemes such as /s/, /z/ /iz/ (as plural markers) that do not appear as words. Other examples are /t/, /d/ and /id/ as past tense markers, and the prefix /ri:/ (re). They are only ever attached to words as prefixes, suffixes or infixes. A morpheme is defined by its sound and meaning. So, /ri:/ (re) can be used separately (meaning about - I want to talk to you re the next meeting) but it is not the same morpheme used in the word return.
     

    mgarizona

    Senior Member
    US - American English
    Right. The OED gives this fairly clear gloss for bound:

    Designating a grammatical element, such as the present participial ending -ing, the adverbial ending -ly, etc., which occurs only in combination with another (‘bound’ or ‘free’) form.
     
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