Word stem

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A stem, in linguistics, is the combination of the basic form of a word (called the root) plus any derivational morphemes, but excluding inflectional elements. This means, alternatively, that the stem is the form of the word to which inflectional morphemes can be added, if applicable.

For example, the root of the English verb form destabilized is stabil- (alternate form of stable); the stem is de·stabil·ize, which includes the derivational affixes de- and -ize, but not the inflectional past tense suffix -(e)d.

The definition of stem usually includes the possibility of zero derivation, so in fact any root is also a stem. That is, if X is a root, then the stem X is the root X plus a zero derivational affix.

In languages with very little inflection, such as English and Chinese, the stem is usually not distinct from the "normal" form of the word (the lemma, citation or dictionary form). However, in other languages, stems are more noticeable since the citation forms almost always carry some non-zero inflection. For example, the English verb stem take is indistinguishable from its present tense (except in the third person singular); but the equivalent Spanish verb stem tom- never appears as such, since it is cited with the infinitive inflection (tomar) and always appears in actual speech as a non-finite (infinite or participle) or conjugated form.

Stem is a part of the word - form which remains when all inflectional affixes have been removed.

[edit] Reference

de:Wortstamm

eo:Radiko ja:語幹 nl:Stam (taalkunde) nn:ordstamme fi:Vartalo

Word stem

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