Main Difference – Morpheme vs. Phoneme

Morpheme and Phoneme are both smallest devices in the language. The major difference in between Morpheme and also Phoneme is, a morpheme is the smallest meaningful unit in a language while a phoneme is the smallest contrastive unit in the sound system of a language.

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In addition, morphemes are concerned the meaning and also structure of the language while phoneme is regarded the sound and also pronunciation of the language.

What is a Morpheme

A morpheme is the smallest grammatical unit of a language. It is likewise the smallest meaningful unit in a language. This indicates that a morpheme cannot be separated right into additionally systematic devices. A word deserve to be a morpheme, however not all morphemes are words. Morphemes can be classified right into 2 categories as complimentary morphemes and bound morphemes.

Free morphemes are the morphemes that can stand alone, via a details meaning. Because of this, complimentary morphemes act as words. Some examples for totally free morphemes include dog, cow, dish, yes, ship, occasion, run, eat and so on. However save in mind that, not all complimentary morphemes have the right to be thought about as words.

Bound morphemes are the morphemes that cannot stand alone. They appear just as components of words, and once used alone, they carry out not have actually an interpretation. Most bound morphemes in the English are affixes. They have the right to be used before or after the base word.(Base or a root is a morpheme in a word that offers the word its principle meaning.) The affixes that come prior to a base are called prefixes. The affixes that come after a base are called suffixes.


Prefix: unhappy, postpone, disbelieve

Suffix: happily, kindness, believable


What is a Phoneme

A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in speech that has actually a meaning. Phonemes assist to identify words from one another. Oxford Dictionary defines phoneme as “Any of the perceptually distinct systems of sound in a specified language that distinguish one word from an additional.” For example, bat and also mat are 2 various words bereason they have actually 2 various phonemes /b/ and /m/. In the English language, tright here are roughly 44 phonemes. Given listed below are some terms that are helpful in examining phonemes.

Allophones: One of a set of multiple feasible spoken sounds or indicators offered to pronounce a single phoneme in a details language. This means that a phoneme can have more than one sound.

Minimal pair: Pair of words or phrases in a particular language that differ in only one phonological facet such as phoneme. For example, pin and bin,

Phonemes can be even more classified as vowel phonemes and also consonant phonemes. Some examples of vowel phonemes include

/e/ – peg, bread

/ear/ – fear, here

/ ue/ -moon, tone

Some examples for consonant phonemes include

/ch/ – chip, watch

/p/ – pit, pin

Note that phonemes are constantly created inside slashes.

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Difference Between Morpheme and Phoneme


Morpheme is the smallest grammatical and meaningful unit in a language.