Vocabulary of the English Language
Word Definitions, Terminology, and Jargon
What is the free morpheme in the word "consumption"?
, been speaking English for sixty-two years
One of my graduate linguistics professors at UCLA used the example of "opacity", which he (who grew up with a language other than English) thought of as a completely different word than "opaque".
Its easy enough to dismiss this as simply wrong ("opaque" is the free morpheme, and in "opacity" its slightly modified, with addition of "-ity").
However, my guess is you hold "secret" and "secretary" to be completely different words (as well as "treasure" and "treasurer", "concentric" and "concentrate", and I could go on and on).
Yet some people (including me, since I have turned these examples over and over again in my mind for many years) think of them as derived forms made up, in part, of bound morphemes.
, M.A. Linguistics & Opera, Tel Aviv University (2017)
A bit later in English it was again borrowed as the noun form of the verb consume from Latin consumere. In this sense, it is comprised of three bound morphemes: con-, sum- and -tion (with a historical intrusive phoneme, /p/).
, native English speaker, B.A. in linguistics, studied traditional grammar
However, at least historically, it comes from three roots: con, sum, and tion. The root consume became a lexical item and remains so in English, and then that gets turned into a noun with tion. Thus you could say that consume, in a way, is the free morpheme.
In the original Latin, sum- would be the free morpheme.
, college minor in linguistics
Rules on morphemes are not always rigid — like is the "straw" in "strawberry" a free morpheme even though it has nothing to do with the words meaning? (Most say no.)