surface analysis

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surface analysis (countable and uncountable, plural surface analyses)

  1. (linguistics) Any valid analysis of a word's morphology regardless of whether it represents its etymology in the strict sense of that word (that is, the historical origin); for example, the word biology has a surface analysis of bio- +‎ -logy although it was not coined as the combination of those combining forms (in fact predating them). The word can validly be viewed as an example of words ending in the suffix -ology even though it was not coined as one (whereas many analogous but newer words were thus coined, such as immunology).


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