Morphology is the study of the formation of words; their stems, prefixes and suffixes.

A prefix is a small number of syllables that may be added to the start of an existing word to change it's meaning in some way. Likewise a suffix is added to the end of a word to alter it's meaning.

For example, the word advantage can be changed with the prefix dis- to make the new word disadvantage. Similarly the word national can be changed with the suffix -ity to make nationality.

The original word is known as the stem. A class of words can be created using the same stem but different afixes (prefixes and suffixes).

Morphology attempts to find patterns and rules in the way that affixes are used. Using these rules and patterns, a computer can check that words given as input are real words, and have been used correctly, without resorting to storing a huge list of words and each of their uses.

Note that in the above example the prefix de- was used, and a computer may logically determine that all words beginning with de- are made up of a prefix and a stem and a prefix, but this is of course not the case; the word dead for example starts with de but it is not used as a prefix in this case

Remember you can visit the Message Store to discuss this essay. Comments are always welcome!. There are already replies in the thread, why not join in?