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A particular morpheme is not represented everywhere by the same morph, but by different morphs in different environments. These alternative representation of a morpheme is called allomorphs.


The plural morpheme in English is regularly represented bz the allomorphs /s/, /z/ and /iz/. The rule is as follows:

(i) kicks /kiks/;

(ii) if the morph ends in one of the voiced phonemes (including the vowels), s is represented by /z/ (cats /kats/);

(iii) if the morph representing the noun morpheme with which s is combined to form the plural ends with a sibilant (/s/, /z/ etc.), s is represented by /iz/ (sazis /saiziz/).

Other languages

German Allomorphe Chinese 语素变体


Lyons, John. 1968. Introduction to Theoretical Linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.