Inflection

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In English, the number of inflectional morphemes is small, but they combine with many bases. There are eight inflectional morphemes in English language. These morphemes can be divided into three major groups: noun inflection, verbal inflection and adjective inflection.

  Noun inflection suffixes for plurality are s and es. For example:

 1. voices 2.captains- My father drank his coffee black as he stood at the wheel of the boat and listened to the heavily accented voices of other shrimp boat captains keeping each other company. (Conroy, 2005: 5);  3. pouches 4. eyes Each year his wind-tortured face would sag a bit around the edges and the Carolina sun at nigh noon would loosen and flense the pouches beneath the eyes. (Conroy, 2005: 290);   5. boxes “The Sadam`s touch,” Savannah whispered to me behind closed doors one Christmas after my mother discovered that my father had three thousand boxes of unsold Christmas cards left, which he had bought on consignment.  (Conroy, 2005: 298)

Plural can be irregular. For instance:

  1. child-children-(Conroy,2005: 6)    2. tooth-teeth-(Conroy, 2005:18)

3.  foot-feet-(Conroy,2005: 21)      4.man-men-(Conroy, 2005: 166)         

      5.   woman-women-(Conroy,2005: 166)

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Noun inflectional suffix for possession is `s

1.in my mother`s eye- In my mother`s eyes, my father was vulnerable, helpless, and shrill. (Conroy, 2005: 295);  2. St. Anne’s Island- St. Anne`s Island, which itself was linked to the town of Colleton by a long steel drawbridge across the river. (Conroy, 2005:3);  3. my father`s family- Melrose was the one notable possession of my father’s family. (Conroy, 2005: 3);   4. Confederate soldier`s home- He died a pauper in the Confederate Soldier’s Home in Charleston and refused to speak to Yankee, male or female, until the day he died. (Conroy, 2005: 3);   5. government`s hands- My grandfather had tired of owning it and my father was the only Wingo willing to pay the state and federal taxes to keep it out of government’s hands.  (Conroy, 2005: 4)

      Verbal inflection suffixes are:

  1. s and es –for subject-verbal concord (for third person singular for Present Simple Tense) – 1.She writes about a young girl growing up in South Carolina, about what she knows best in the world. (Conroy, 2005:52); 2. The mere thought of it terrifies me. (Conroy, 2005:352)
  2. ing – for progressive forms of verb tenses –1. I just think the truth is leaking all over her.-Present Continuous- (Conroy,2005: 52); 2. I was living out my life as a mediocre man. –Past Continuous –(Conroy, 2005: 54); 3. I still haven`t found a job, but I`ve been looking hard- Present Perfect Continuous - (Conroy, 2005: 6); 4. He`ll be playing with that cross until dinnertime. –Future Continuous – (Conroy, 2005: 322); 5.Because you are going to be blocking and tackling is going to be me. – Future Continuous – (Conroy, 2005: 253); 6. She had been whispering to us. –Past Perfect Continuous – (Conroy, 2005: 187)

ing- for present participle. Participle is a word that is formed from a verb and ends in –ing (present participle), or –ed or –en, etc (past participle). Grammarians indicate that “ participles are used to form tenses of the verb, or as an adjectives”. (Steel, 2004:482)

 

  1. ed or d - for Past Simple, Present Perfect Simple and Past Perfect Simple and for passive verbs in all tenses – 1. I don`t think she faced it any better than we did, but I don`t think her powers of suppression are as strong as ours either. – Past Simple – (Conroy, 2005:52); 2. Has she ever attempted suicide before? – Present Perfect Simple - (Conroy, 2005: 58); 3. I thought about how we had all arrived at this point in time, what benedictions and agrievements each of us had carried from the island and how each of us had an indisputable and unchangable role in our family`s grotesque melodrama. – Past Perfect Simple – (Conroy, 2005: 52); 4. The boy in me still carries the memories of those days when I lifted crab pots out of the Colleton River before dawn, when I was shaped by life on the river, part child, part sacristan of tides.  – Passive – (Conroy, 2005: 7)
  2. Besides ed or d, en  is also used to form past participle and for some passive verbs in all tenses –1. I`d have chosen the Rockefeller or Carnegie family if I`d had a choice.-past participle- (Conroy, 2005:61); 2. My joblessness I had forgotten-past participle.- (Conroy, 2005: 67); 3. When was Savannah chosen to be the crazy one?- Passive- (Conroy, 2005: 53)

Adjectival inflection suffixes are:

  1. er – for comparative –1. It would be a faster trip to Colleton by Boston Whaler than it would be by track. (Conroy, 2005: 3); 2. I had lived my life in the shallows for too long and she led me gently toward the deeper waters where all the bones, wreckage, and black hulks awaited my hesitant inspection. (Conroy, 2005:9); 3. And we wish we had an older brother. (Conroy, 2005: 13); 4. Lucy said to Sallie, and two cooler heads nooded in agreement. (Conroy, 2005: 16)
  2. est – for superlative – 1.When the moon had reached its deepest silver, my sister, Savannah, though only three, cried aloud to our mother, to Luke and me, to the river and the moon, “Oh, Mama, do it again!” (Conroy, 2005: 6); 2. And I had my earliest memory. (Conroy, 2005:6); 3.Who is the greatest human being you`ve encountered on this earth? (Conroy, 2005: 13); 4. Chandler, the youngest one, squealed. (Conroy, 2005: 12); 5. Have you noticed they`re already sick of my sense of humor and the oldest is only ten years old? (Conroy, 2005: 19). CORPUS – Conroy, Pat. The Prince of Tides. (2005). New York: The Dial Press. 

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