Crash Course Linguistics 2 (Morphology)

What is a word?

Week 2’s Crash Course Linguistics video introduces viewers to words and their internal structure.

Topics include morphemes, how they are combined, and cross-linguistic differences in word structure. Closed captions are available in English.

Another resource that addresses the nature of words is Tom Scott’s 3-minute What Counts as a Word? video, for which closed captions are available in English and 13 additional languages.

Learning parts of words, a 33-minute Lingthusiasm podcast episode, also discusses word structures and how children learn them. This episode is available wherever you prefer to find podcasts, and a transcript is available here.

Many International Linguistics Olympiad puzzles require morphological analysis, but Problem 1 (Kiswahili) from the practice set for Australia’s 2012 competition makes the approach especially clear. Answers for this exercise are available at the end of the linked PDF file.

Finally, see the Resource Guide we shared in the spring for many more videos, diagrams, and activities relevant to teaching morphology.

Coming next week: resources about morphosyntax!

Liz, Gretchen, and Lauren

About Mutual Intelligibility

Mutual Intelligibility is a project to connect linguistics instructors with online resources, especially as so much teaching is shifting quickly online due to current events. It's produced by Lauren Gawne and Gretchen McCulloch, with the support of our patrons on Lingthusiasm. Our editor is Liz McCullough.

Mutual Intelligibility posts will always remain free, but if you have a stable income and find that they’re reducing your stress and saving you time, we're able to fund these because of the Lingthusiasm Patreon and your contributions there

For the 16 weeks of Crash Course Linguistics, Mutual Intelligibility will be sharing the video weekly, along with supporting resources. We will resume our regular link request and recommendations after the Crash Course Linguistics series. For more on how we usually operate, check out our about page.

If you have other comments, suggestions, or ideas of ways to help, please email