How do we put our words together? What varieties of building blocks do we stack up to create bigger meanings? In this week’s episode, we talk about derivational and inflectional morphology: what roles each of them play, how to tell them apart, and how differences in how we string them together can lead to ambiguity.

Back talking about morphology for the first time in a while! Looking forward to hearing what people have to say. ^_^

Reblog for the day crew!

New video is up! Time to stack those morphemes. 😀


Taking The Chicken Out Of Piecaken


So here’s a little linguistic note for Thanksgiving, thanks to our director Adele. Maybe you’ve heard of “turducken”, the tripartite dish made of a chicken that is then stuffed into a duck, which is finally stuffed into a turkey. So that’s a name made up of the words for the three different birds.

Now, this year, following the success of turducken, comes “piecaken”, a chimerical dessert made out of three different pies stuffed into a larger cake. Which sounds super crazy! But the thing is, it immediately conjured up for both Adele and myself the idea that you were taking a pie, putting it in a cake, and then sticking both in a chicken… which does not sound like a good dessert.

But it does sound like a cool linguistic thing! This is -en becoming a new derivational morpheme, a suffix meaning crazy stuffed food item or something. It’s clearly adding something new to the meaning here, divorced from its chicken roots. And predictably, not everyone is on board with the shift – check out this Huffington Post piece getting down on the piecaken.

Their suggested alternative, “pake”, doesn’t really work, though. As Adele points out, it implies a simultaneity of pie and cake. Whereas
“piecaken”, in spite of its implied poultry, definitely makes it clear
that one is within the other. That’s the new morpheme at work.

Language just keeps changing, even during holidays. It’s super cool. ^_^

Yay new morpheme! ❤ Looking forward to seeing how far this use of -en gets extended over the next few years.

I still would eat piecaken, though! It’s somehow less daunting to me as a food than turducken, which just scares me.


How do our words change on their way out of our mouths? What kinds of rules cover their variation? In this week’s episode, we talk about allomorphy: the way our morphemes change, the types of variation we find in their pronunciation, and the methods that allow us to decide what the underlying morpheme is.

Here’s a return to morphology! You can also watch our first episode on the topic here, and our take on roots and affixes here. Looking forward to hearing what everyone has to say!

New Ling Space ep is up! Assiduous readers may have noticed that although I direct and co-write the show, I’m actually barely involved in the process post-filming, and only see what our art team ateliermuse do with it once it goes up. (Proof of this being my assumption that they picked the thumbnail image, when credit for that goes to Moti! My bad.) 

Anyway, MAD PROPS to the art team this week! I just love it when the finished product, with all their text-on-screen, just clicks together to make something tighter and clearer and significantly cooler than the sum of its parts. 

(and it’s no secret how much I love those blue morpheme potatoes ore nuggets)


How do we put together our words? What pieces are the most important, and where does everything go? This week, we talk about root morphemes and affixes: what the most meaningful bits are, all the different places we can put morphemes in and around each other, and some of the variation we see between languages.

We’re really happy to be back, and we’re looking forward to hearing what people have to say about this one! ^_^

Ling Space is back from the holidays with the RETURN OF THE ADORABLE MORPHEME POTATO THINGS and I could not be happier. Gimme plushies pronto.


What are the parts of words that matter for meaning? They’re not always as big as you might think. This week, the Ling Space talks about morphemes, the smallest bits of meaning: how to find them, where to dig for them, and how different languages deal with them.

This is a slightly shorter video than the previous ones, but with lots of good information! And a lot of meaning ore around. ^_^

New ep is up!

So I think one of my favourite things about working on this project is that although I direct the videos and help with scripts, I generally have no part in the finishing process – I don’t know what graphics will be used, or how it’ll be edited, or what. So Wednesdays I get a lovely little surprise in my subscription feed. Today that surprise included blue morpheme potato things!! Why are they so frigging cute!!! I kind of want them to have adventures now! COME ON, FREE MORPHEME, TAKE YOUR PAL BY THE HAND AND 

wait, what is this

I regret nothing