cranberry morpheme love

cranberry morpheme


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun linguistics A bound morpheme within a complex word which is a fossil and whose meaning is opaque to the present speakers of the language. May refer narrowly to morphemes which occur in a single word, or more broadly to fossilized morphemes generally.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From the cran- of cranberry as an archetype. cran- is from Kraan ("crane"), but is now a bound morpheme, hence an example of a cranberry morpheme.


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  • What you get if you chop a meaningful part off a word and there’s a meaningless part left. If you take the word cranberry and chop off berry, you’re left with cran. That’s a cranberry morpheme. That cran chunk seems like it should mean something, because it’s kind of like the blue in blueberry, the goose in gooseberry, or the cloud in cloudberry. But it doesn’t. It just distinguishes cranberries from other types of berry. Cranberry morphemes can often be traced back to meaningful elements etymologically, but are not meaningful for contemporary speakers.


    Or, as the Lexicon of Linguistics puts it:

    "a type of bound morpheme that cannot be assigned a meaning nor a grammatical function, but nonetheless serves to distinguish one word from the other."

    EXAMPLE: the English word cranberry seems morphologically complex, since it must be distinguished from words such as raspberry, blackberry, and gooseberry. Still, cran has no meaning and does not function as an independent word: cranberry is the only word in which cran appears. The existence of cranberry-morphemes plays a role in the discussion whether morphology is word based or morpheme based.

    April 16, 2008

  • I'm sure it's time to start a cranctionary list.

    April 16, 2008

  • Found a new one this weekend: cranergy.

    May 5, 2008