Happy #morphememonday!

I have always thought that morphology is an important, but often missed part of reading instruction. In my own teacher education program, there was not a single mention of morphological awareness. Unfortunately, my experience was not unique, which is why I created #morphememonday.


It’s funny, I never knew how much of a hot topic morphemes were until I started this blog. So here is my disclaimer:

I, Dr. Kathryn Garforth, do not consider myself to be an expert in the field of morphology. That being said, I do consider myself educated in morphology and I check several sources before creating my posts to make sure the information I am posting is as accurate as possible.

Currently, the majority of my sources are based on Marcia K. Henry’s work and other materials commonly available through Orton-Gillingham and the International Dyslexia Association.

I am working on expanding my knowledge base on the linguistics side of morphology in order to make sure I am providing information that is appropriate.


The reason why I created #morphememonday was to try to help anyone who wants to learn more about morphology by giving them a place to do so on a regular basis. To my knowledge, this is the only blog out there that provides this information on a weekly basis.


If you have any concerns about this post or any of my other posts on Morphology, I welcome any constructive criticism but please keep your comments civil and professional.


All of this week’s morphemes have allomorphs, which means that the spelling of the morpheme can change depending on what it is attached to.


Now onto this week’s morphemes!

Origin: Latin

Allomorphs: di; dif (in front of a base element starting with an f)

Definition: apart, not, opposite of

Examples: disarm, discharge, difficult, diffuse, diversity, directive

<di> + <verse> = diverse

<di> + <rect> + <or> = director

<dif> + <fract> + <ion> = diffraction

<dis> + <inter> + <est> = disinterest

<dis> + <miss> + <al> = dismissal

<dis> + <lodge> = dislodge

  • This is a common prefix that can be taught to younger students. When first introducing <dis>, I would mention its allomorphs but I would not try to go through them in one day. I would introduce <dis> one day and then the others on the following days. This way the concept will still be fresh in their heads but it will not be too much at once.

Origin: Greek

Allomorph: thermo

Definition: heat, hot

Examples: isothermal, thermoelectrical, thermion, thermonuclear, heterothermy, heliothermic

<hypo> + <therm> +<ia> = hypothermia

<exo> + <therm> + <ic> = exothermic

<geo> + <therm> + <al> = geothermal

<thermo> + <graph> = thermograph

<photo> + <therm> + <ic> = photothermic

  • This is a root that is best taught in context. It could be mentioned when talking about temperature with younger students. There are also several points in the science curriculum where it could be revisited.


Origin: Latin

Allomorphs: cious, ious

Definition: full of, having, chemical terms

Examples: dubious, judicious, hazardous, sulphurous, ambitious, repetitious

<numer> + <ous> = numerous

<fame> + <ous> = famous

<in> + <fect>+ <ious> = infectious

<zeal> + <ous> = zealous

<covet> + <our> = covetous

  • This suffix is a more advanced suffix and should be taught in the middle school or high school grades.
  • This suffix is adjective forming.
  • This suffix is primarily used with Latin roots.
  • In some programs ‘tious’ is also taught as a root. However, the ‘t’ is actually the final letter of the base element and <ious> is the suffix.
  • If the suffix <ous> is attached to a base element ending in the letter ‘e’, it is dropped before adding the suffix.


Last week, August 18, 2019,  morphemes were the prefix <inter>, the root <cent> and the suffix <ish>.


Next week, September 2, 2019, the morphemes will be the prefix <hemi>, the root <sect> and the suffix <able>.


Be sure to check out more graphics for these morphemes on our Facebook, InstagramPinterest, and Twitter pages.


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