Morphological Processes: Inflectional Affixes
In obvious contrast to the process of derivation, inflectional morphemes do not cause either a referential nor cognitive change in meaning, as, for instance, exemplified in the juxtaposition of precise and un-precise.
Also, whereas derivational morphemes change the grammatical category of a word, an inflectional morpheme never alters the word-class of the base to which it is affixed.
Then, the question arises, what inflectional morphemes do to form new words. To cut a long story short, inflectional morphemes modify, as Francis Katamba says, “the form of a word so that it can fit into a particular syntactic slot”.
In other words, inflectional morphemes are grammatical markers, representing grammatical phenomena as number, gender, case, and tense.
That is, the singular form apple and the plural form apples are both nouns that refer to the same extra-linguistic entity. The suffix -s thus informs us about the mere number of books.
Although it already borders truism that the English is not a highly inflected language in comparison to Latin, German or Finnish, there are still a total of eight inflectional affixes in the present stage of the English language -- all of them are suffixes.
|-s||3rd person, singular present tense||walk-s|
|- ed||past tense||walk-ed|