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Linguistics 5: Introduction to English Morphology


Admission requirements

A pass mark for Linguistics 2 or similar course.


Some words are ‘complex’; they consist of smaller units which each have their own meaning and/or grammatical function, e.g. down-load, word-feud, obes-ity. These units are called ‘morphemes’, and they are the concern of the domain of linguistics that is called ‘morphology’ (or ‘word-formation’). In this course we will consider different types of morphemes (e.g. prefixes, suffixes and roots) and examine the ways in which these can be combined. Why are some combinations grammatical but not others? Why do English toddlers say things like We goed to the shop and His foots are hurting? And what is the difference between oddness and oddity, and why?

Course objectives

Students acquire a basic knowledge of morphology and learn to apply morphological terminology to English data.


The timetable will be available by June 1st on the website

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

  • Seminar

Assessment method

Written exam (80%), essay (20%)


Yes, see Blackboard

Reading list

Carstairs-McCarthy, Andrew (2002). An Introduction to English Morphology. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.


Students should register through uSis. Exchange students cannot register through uSis, but must see the director of studies and register with her. If you have any questions, please contact the departmental office, tel. 071 5272144 or mail:
Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs


Departmental Office English Language and Culture, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102C. Tel. 071 5272144; mail:
Co-ordinator of Studies: Ms T.D. Obbens, MA, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 103C.