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  • Word Matrix: Ply (“lay, fold, twist”)

    I recently came across a tweet in a Twitter conversation that argued that studying morphemes is not always helpful. A morpheme...

    Heather JohnsonAugust 20, 2019
  • Word Matrix: Stude

    <stude> “learn, examine, show zeal for” from Old French estudiier, from Medieval Latin studiare, from Latin studium “study, application,” originally “eagerness,”...

    Heather JohnsonJuly 28, 2019
  • Word Matrix: D

    After returning from a two-week family vacation last weekend, I found my sleep schedule completely messed up. Instead of tossing and...

    Heather JohnsonJuly 26, 2019
  • Word Matrix: Marsupe

    <marsupe> “purse, pouch” from Modern Latin marsupialis “having a pouch,” coined from Late Latin marsupium “pouch, purse” Word Sums Marsupe +...

    Heather JohnsonJuly 21, 2019
  • The -ion Suffix, Connecting Vowel <i>, and Phonological Markers

    To begin, -*tion, -*sion, -*cion, and -*xion are not suffixes. Only -ion is a suffix. A suffix is a bound morpheme...

    Heather JohnsonJuly 5, 2019
  • Word Matrix: Galact

    <galact> “milk, milky” from Greek gala (genitive galaktos, stem galakt-) “milk” Word Sums Galact + ic -> galactic Extra + Galact...

    Heather JohnsonJune 17, 2019
  • Using Verbs and Verb Phrases as Adjunct Adverbials

    Notional grammars traditionally verbs as “words that denote actions and states of being.” A verb phrase consists of a verb plus...

    Heather JohnsonJune 15, 2019
  • Word Matrix: Cat

    <cat> “feline” from Old English catt Words Sums Cat Cat + s -> cats Cat + ed -> catted Cat +...

    Heather JohnsonJune 6, 2019
  • Adjectives Versus Verbs: Participial Adjectives

    As I have written many times before, the line between grammatical forms is blurry at best, especially among lexical categories like...

    Heather JohnsonJune 4, 2019
  • Word Matrix: Pter

    <pter> “feather, wing” from Greek pteron Word Sums Pter + ide + ine -> pteridine Pter + ide + ine +...

    Heather JohnsonMay 28, 2019
  • How to Diagram a Sentence: Form-Function Diagrams

    What is grammar? The popular notion is actual or presumed prescriptive notions about the correct use of a language. But linguistics...

    Heather JohnsonMay 20, 2019
  • Using Verbs and Verb Phrases as Noun Phrase Complements

    Notional grammars define verbs as “words that denote actions and states of being.” A verb phrase consists of a verb plus...

    Heather JohnsonMay 13, 2019
  • Please Don’t Lambast(e) Me

    I love all forms of word play. Before Easter, I heard a local news reporter pronounce the word <lambasted> “to criticize...

    Heather JohnsonMay 11, 2019
  • Word Matrix: Kin

      <kin> “family; race; kind, sort, rank; nature” from Old English cynn Word Sums Kin a + Kin -> akin Kin...

    Heather JohnsonMay 10, 2019
  • Word Matrix: Rain

    <rain> “water from clouds” from Old English regn “rain” Word Sums Rain Rain + s -> rains Rain + ed ->...

    Heather JohnsonMay 9, 2019