ESL Term:

Grammatical Morphemes

ESL/EFL Glossary: A Guide to applied linguistics terminology.


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grammatical morpheme: Markers such as the past participle 'ed used in the past tense,  the present participle 'ing' used in the present progressive, or third person singular 's'. Here are some example:

        present progressive ing:     He is playing.

        plurals s:                                Ten pencils.

        possesive 's:                        John's hat.

        past tense ed:                        I cleaned the floor.

A study undertaken by Roger Brown discovered that most children acquire morphemes in approximately the same order. This study suggested that there may be a natural order, or developmental stages in which we acquire language. Other studies on second language learners suggest the second language learners also acquire grammatical morphemes in stages similar to first language learners (though the stages may not be identical).

See Roger Brown, A First Language: the Early Stages published by Harvard University Press.