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Base Word vs. Root word (or root) #173503
02/13/08 03:25 AM
02/13/08 03:25 AM
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 33
California, USA
Bigwig Rabbit Offline OP
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Bigwig Rabbit  Offline OP
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Posts: 33
California, USA
Among our faculty, there is a casual banter going on about root words Vs. base words. One school of thought is that the two are interchangeable terms. The other group adamantly contends that a base word is one that can stand alone, while a root is a word part that needs some sort of inflectional ending, prefix, suffix, or combination of those in order to be sensible. My thought is that some roots can stand alone, such as flex, while many other roots cannot (like glo as in conglomerate). Is there any consensus here that can lay to rest this most scholarly and magmanimous dispute?

Re: Base Word vs. Root word (or root) [Re: Bigwig Rabbit] #173504
02/13/08 03:53 AM
02/13/08 03:53 AM
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 7,210
Vermont
Buffalo Shrdlu Offline
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Buffalo Shrdlu  Offline
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hmm, I can't glom on to the idea that they're not synonyms. though I suppose someone can draw that distinction.


formerly known as etaoin...
Re: Base Word vs. Root word (or root) [Re: Bigwig Rabbit] #173516
02/13/08 12:10 PM
02/13/08 12:10 PM
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R'lyeh
zmjezhd Offline
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zmjezhd  Offline
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R'lyeh
In describing inflected languages, like Latin, Greek, or Sanskrit, a distinction between affixes (pre-, in-, and suffixes) and desinences (grammatical endings) is usually made. The former are usually called derivational morphemes (they change the meaning), and the latter inflectional (they indicate the syntactic relationships between words in a phrase). In the study of morphology, there is a difference between free and bound morphemes: free ones can stand on their own, but bound ones are usually affixes, though some like the rasp in raspberry are not. The problem may be with less inflected languages, like English or Chinese. There a lexeme (aka lexical item, word) like man consists of a single morpheme, though come to think of it the Latin nominative singular vir 'man' has no explicit nominitival desinence, as rosa (i.e., the -a) does). Distinguishing between roots (single morphemes) and bases (root morpheme plus one or more affixes, or compounds) seems like a goodly distinction, though perhaps overkill for English morphology.

[Addendum: More on roots and stems.]

Last edited by zmjezhd; 02/13/08 02:01 PM.

Ceci n'est pas un seing.
Re: Base Word vs. Root word (or root) [Re: Bigwig Rabbit] #173518
02/13/08 12:40 PM
02/13/08 12:40 PM
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 5,295
Netherlands, the Hague
BranShea Offline
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BranShea  Offline
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Does not base have a double meaning?

1. Serving as or forming a base; "the painter applied a base coat followed by two finishing coats".
3. Of low birth or station (`base' is archaic in this sense); "baseborn wretches with dirty faces"; "of humble (or lowly)
(among other definitions)

While root, even used in a figurative way is so much to the point .

Re: Base Word vs. Root word (or root) [Re: BranShea] #173520
02/13/08 01:35 PM
02/13/08 01:35 PM
Joined: Aug 2005
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R'lyeh
zmjezhd Offline
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zmjezhd  Offline
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R'lyeh
Roots are also base, being all covered in dirt and such. Latin radix, radicis, (whence English radish and radical), Greek ριζα (rhiza), and German Wurzel are all cognate: from PIE *wrād- 'root' (also here).


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
Re: Base Word vs. Root word (or root) [Re: zmjezhd] #173528
02/13/08 07:03 PM
02/13/08 07:03 PM
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Netherlands, the Hague
BranShea Offline
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Yes, I know my roots: radijsjes en wortelen. I know my base too.

Re: Base Word vs. Root word (or root) [Re: BranShea] #173530
02/13/08 07:18 PM
02/13/08 07:18 PM
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,290
R'lyeh
zmjezhd Offline
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zmjezhd  Offline
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R'lyeh


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
Re: Base Word vs. Root word (or root) [Re: zmjezhd] #173541
02/13/08 11:46 PM
02/13/08 11:46 PM
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 33
California, USA
Bigwig Rabbit Offline OP
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Bigwig Rabbit  Offline OP
newbie
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 33
California, USA
zmjezhd,
Though I had to read your post 4 times to understand it, I declare it the most helpful. The links were quite useful as well. Now I can return to my small pond and be the big fish, dazzling them with my brilliance (as opposed to baffling them).

Re: ein grundriss der ichsucht [Re: Bigwig Rabbit] #173544
02/14/08 12:58 AM
02/14/08 12:58 AM
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,290
R'lyeh
zmjezhd Offline
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zmjezhd  Offline
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R'lyeh
Now I can return to my small pond and be the big fish, dazzling them with my brilliance (as opposed to baffling them).

Thank you. Being a big fish, as well as a lapine bigwig, is a goodlier thing than being a lophalgiac, paleocopric pedant as I.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
Re: ein grundriss der ichsucht [Re: zmjezhd] #173550
02/14/08 02:27 AM
02/14/08 02:27 AM
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 2,154
British Columbia, Canada
Z
Zed Offline
Pooh-Bah
Zed  Offline
Pooh-Bah
Z
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 2,154
British Columbia, Canada
Awww. but you're such a cute lophalgiac, paleocopric pedant.

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