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Re: THEORY: Roots and stems

From:Dirk Elzinga <dirk_elzinga@...>
Date:Friday, June 25, 2004, 17:39
On Jun 24, 2004, at 10:07 PM, David Peterson wrote:

> Joerg wrote: > > <<For example, in the English word form _players_, the stem is > _player_, but the root is _play_.>> > > A very good example.  I'd just like to add that a confusion exists > because even linguists use these words in different ways--some- > times because different linguists have different definitions; some- > times by accident; and some even use the words interchangeably. > For this reason, I always find it helpful if they offer defines what > *they* mean by root and stem, even if they are, in fact, the real > definitions.
I think I agree with David, but there does seem to be some consensus that 'stem' is a relational term; the stem for the plural ending in 'players' is 'player', and the stem for the agentive -er in 'player' is 'play'. That is, a stem is defined for a particular affix. Some linguists restrict 'stem' to the form to which inflectional elements are added, and use the term 'base' in a more general sense which would include both inflectional and derivational operations. Dirk -- Dirk Elzinga Grammatica vna et eadem est secundum substanciam in omnibus linguis, licet accidentaliter varietur. - Roger Bacon (1214-1294)