Morphology, in the study of linguistics, “…is the study of meaningful parts of words” (Freeman and Freeman, 2014 p 180). New words are added to languages all the time, but they still must follow certain rules and guidelines already present in the language they are added to. The Oxford English Dictionary has added these words to the English language over the past 10 years, staycation, ransomware, astraphobia, vlog, and auto-tune. According to the article, What is Morphology, “…some newer words that have been added to English to describe newer concepts, ideas, and current trends. Though they seem spontaneous and unstructured at times, these and all words use set patterns of word formation, structure, and meaning outlined in the study of morphology.”
According to Updates to the Oxford English Dictionary the word staycation was added to it in 2015. It comes from combining the word stay and vacation. It means a vacation from work where you stay at home. The word “stay” is made up of 1 lexical free morpheme (Freeman and Freeman, 2014 p. 183). According to the article List of Morphemes-Lexicology, the word “vacation” is made up of two morphemes: [vacat(e)] + [-(t)ion]. [Vacate] is a free lexical morpheme and [-tion] is a grammatical bound derivational morpheme. Blending the two words together makes another compound-complex morpheme with 1 simple free morpheme and 1 bound morpheme (Freeman and Freeman, 2014 p. 183). This word was added to our lexicon due to many people choosing to stay at home for vacation due to traveling becoming too expensive and in current times traveling almost impossible due to Covid regulations as well as Covid fears.
The word ransomware was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2018, according to Updates to the Oxford English Dictionary. Ransomware comes from combing the words Ransom and ware. Ware means, according to the Merriam Webester Dictionary, intangible item that is marketable. This could be a service of an ability. According to the Merriam Webester Dictionary, ransom means, “A sum of money or other payment demanded or paid for the release of a prisoner.” The word ransom is made up of one lexical free morpheme and the word ware is also made up of one lexical free morpheme and together ransomware is a compound word (Freeman and Freeman, 2014 p. 183). Why was this word added to our Lexicon? According to the article Ransomware: Headline News for the Oxford Dictionary, Everyday News for IT Teams, “Following incidents such as the 2017 WannaCry attack on the NHS, the British public now have a far greater awareness of cyber-attacks. The publicity surrounding the attack almost undoubtedly contributed to ransomware being added to the dictionary.” Since this attack, other similar attacks have unfortunately taken place.
According to Updates to the Oxford English Dictionary the word astraphobia was added to it in March 2021. It means having an abnormal fear of thunder and lightning. According to Freeman & Freeman (2014) this word is a blend of 3 bound morphemes. The morphemes in astraphobia, according to the article List of Morphemes-Lexicology are in astra, phob and ia. Astra means stars or anything the sky. Phob means a fear. Ai means a condition. So, this is a condition where you fear something in the sky and in this situation thunder and lightning. This word was added to our lexicon because most people want to label a certain fear they have. This fear is irrational or abnormal and therapist have diagnosed people with this fear and have used different therapies to help people overcome this fear.
The word vlog was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in March 2016, according to Updates to the Oxford English Dictionary. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, vlog means, “a blog that contains video material.” Vlog is a blending of the word blog with video. According to the article List of Morphemes-Lexicology the word vlog is made up of two words: “v” stands for “video” (which is composed of two bound morphemes: [vid-] + [-o]) and “log” is a free morpheme. Log is a lexical free morpheme. Log means to speak, write, read, and reason. Vid means to see. In the past few years, vlogs have become more popular. Many YouTube streamers have been creating vlogs which is why the word was added to the dictionary.
According to Updates to the Oxford English Dictionary the word autotune was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2015. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, to adjust or alter (a recording) with Auto-Tune software especially to correct sung notes that are out of tune. The word auto-tune is made up of two free morphemes words (Freeman and Freeman, 2014 p. 183). According to the article List of Morphemes-Lexicology auto which means hearing and tune which means music or melody. This word was added to our lexicon as new musical technologies were developed and more musicians are using such equipment.
The study of etymology is an important part of English as well other subjects. Etymology is the study of words and their origins. As an English teacher, I would start by introducing students to roots, suffixes and prefixes. Understanding the meaning behind each of these could help my students break apart words they do not understand. It becomes a cross-curricular issue when students do not know the meanings of certain roots, suffixes and prefixes. Students can also use this skill when they are taken standardized test such as the ACT or the SATs. This can help increase their scores as well as help them breakdown words in different subjects. In my class I will work on introducing a list of roots, suffixes and prefixes each week. I will show my students how to break down words by using these tools to help them identity words they are not familiar with.
Morphology, in the study of linguistics, “…is the study of meaningful parts of words” (Freeman and Freeman, 2014 p 180). These new words added to our Lexicon have to follow the same rules and guidelines as other words do. Familiarizing our students with morphemes can help them dissect words that are unfamiliar to them and increase their overall vocabulary.
Freeman, D. E,. & Freeman, Y. S., (2014). Essential Linguistics: What Teachers Need to Know
to Teach (7th ed.). Heinemann.
List of Morphemes-Lexicology (N.D.) Retrieved from https://eyupdeniz.wordpress.com/2019/06 /04/list-of-morphemes-lexicology. /?fbclid=IwAR1WosfoI0Sn4rr4SJCjhkFXaKoZZ76aCdYsq4hkU_He2jGQjs7yqB5iktc
Merriam-Webster. (2018). Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Merriam-Webster.com. https://www.merriam-webster.com/
New words List March 2021. (n.d.). Oxford English Dictionary. https://public.oed.com/updates/new-words-list-march-2021
Oxford English Dictionary. (2021). Oxford English Dictionary. Oed.com. https://www.oed.com/
Ransomware: Headline News for the Oxford Dictionary, Everyday News for IT Teams. (n.d.) retrieved from https://www.espida.co.uk/2018/02/01/dictionary-adds-ransomware/
Updates to the Oxford English Dictionary (n.d.) Oxford English Dictionary. https://public.oed.com/updates/
What is Morphology? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://linguisticsforteachersofells.weebly.com/morphology-in-the-classroom.html