The hierarchical structure of words

If you have already studied a bit of syntax, you should know by now that there is structure in the way sentences are built. Words aren't combined randomly to form phrases and phrases do not combine randomly to form sentences. The structure of a sentence is hierarchical. For instance, if we go bottom-up, we could have a determiner and a noun combine to form a noun phrase and together with an intransitive verb that makes up a verb phrase form a sentence.

The same holds true for the way morphemes combine to form words. To visualise the hierarchical structure of words we can use trees, just as we can with sentences and grammar. For instance, a tree for the word "churchyard" would look like this:

syntax tree

Not all trees are as straightforward as this one however. When drawing trees for words you will have to think carefully about whether or not a certain morpheme may combine with a certain word. Most of you will immediately agree that the following tree is absolute nonsense.

syntax tree

The following tree may look ok at first glance:

syntax tree

a.) Explain what makes the last tree incorrect.

b.) Draw trees for the following words to show their structure. Use the same notation as in the trees above, so N for noun, A for adjective, V for verb and do not forget the hyphen (the -) for affixes

unhappynesses

syntax tree
N

bookcase

syntax tree
N

willfull

syntax tree
A

unkindness

syntax tree
N

bookings

syntax tree
N

laughed

syntax tree
V

unrelenting

syntax tree
A