Marker (linguistics)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

In linguistics, a marker is a free or bound morpheme that indicates the grammatical function of the marked word or sentence. In analytic languages and agglutinative languages, markers are generally easily distinguished. In fusional languages and polysynthetic languages, this is often not the case. In the Latin word amo, "I love", for instance, the suffix -o marks indicative mood, active voice, first person, singular, present tense. Latin is a highly fusional language.

Markers should be distinguished from the linguistic concept of markedness. An unmarked form is the basic "neutral" form of word, typically used as its dictionary lemma, such as – in English – for nouns the singular (e.g. cat versus cats), and for verbs the infinitive (e.g. to eat versus eats, ate and eaten). Unmarked forms (like the nominative case in certain languages) tend to be less likely to have markers, but this is not true for all languages (compare Latin). Conversely, a marked form may happen to have a zero affix, like the genitive plural of some nouns in Russian.

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Types of marking





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Marker (linguistics)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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