Word Structure and Word Formation (Word Building)

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Word Structure and Word Formation
(Word Building)
Word formation is the branch of lexicology
that studies the structure of existing words and
the patterns on which a language builds new
words.
Morphemes
The morpheme (Gr. morphe “form” + -eme
“the smallest distinctive unit”) is the smallest
meaningful unit of language.
• Morphemes do not occur as free forms but
only as constituents of words.
• They possess meanings of their own.
Classes of morphemes
• Roots (or radicals)
• Affixes
The root is the morpheme that expresses the
lexical meaning of the word, e.g. teach – teacher –
teaching.
Affixes are morphemes that modify the
meaning of the root. An affix added before the root
is called a prefix (e.g. unsafe, mispronounce); and
an affix added after the root is called a suffix (e.g.
heartless, kindness).
Suffixes and inflexions
Inflexions are morphemes used to change
grammatical forms of the word: e.g. to work –
works – worked – working. Inflexions carry
grammatical meaning of the word.
Types of word-forming (wordbuilding) in the English language
• Affixation
• Conversion
• Word-composition
Affixation
The process of affixation consists in
coining a new word by adding an affix or several
affixes to a base.
A base (stem) is the form to which an affix
is added. E.g. blacken; unmanageable
Words produced by the process of
affixation are called derived words or
derivatives (производное слово, дериват).
Affixation
• Prefixation: usual (adj.) – unusual (adj.)
• Suffixation: care (n.) – careless (adj.)
Classification of suffixes
• Origin: Native (-er, -dom, -ship, -ness), French
(-ance, -ment, -age), Latin (-tion, -ate, -ute),
Greek (-ism, -ize), etc.
• Meaning, e.g. –er: the agent of the action
(worker, driver); -ess: feminine gender (lioness,
governess); -ry and –dom: collectivity
(peasantry, officialdom); -ish: insufficiency of
quality (greenish – зеленоватый, youngish –
моложавый).
Classification of suffixes (continued)
• Part of speech, e.g. noun-forming suffixes: –
er, -ness, -ment (teacher, tenderness,
government); adjective-forming suffixes: –ish,
-ful, -ess, -y (bookish, meaningful, careless,
cloudy); verb-forming suffixes: -ate, -fy, -ize
(facilitate, terrify, socialize), adverb-forming
suffixes: -ly, -ward, -wise (quickly, upward,
likewise), etc.
Classification of suffixes (continued)
• Productivity, i.e. the ability to make new words.
Productive affixes are ones, which take part in deriving
new words in this particular period of language
development, e.g. –er, -ing, -ness, -y, -ish, -able, -ate,
etc. Non-productive suffixes are those which are not
able to form new words in the period in question, -th
(truth), -hood (childhood), -ship (scholarship).
NB! Productivity ≠ frequency of occurrence. E.g. suffixes
–ful, -ly, -ant, -ent, -al are frequent but non-productive.
Classification of prefixes
• Origin: Native (un-), Latin (ab-, bi-, de-, super-)
• Meaning, e.g. negative prefixes: un- (ungrateful),
non- (nonpolitical), in- (incorrect), dis- (disloyal),
a- (amoral); prefixes of time and order: fore(foretell), pre- (pre-war), post- (post-war), ex- (expresident); prefixes of size and degree: hyper(hyperactive), mega- (mega-mall), mini(minivan), super- (superman), ultra- (ultrathin);
prefix of repetition: re- (rebuild, rewrite), etc.
Classification of prefixes (continued)
• Productivity, i.e. the ability to make new
words, e.g. un-, re-, dis- are productive.
Conversion
• Conversion consists in making a new word
from some existing word by changing the
category of a part of speech, while the
morphemic shape of the original word
remains unchanged, e.g. work – to work,
paper – to paper.
Properties of the converted words
• The new word acquires a meaning, which
differs from that of the original one though it
can be easily associated with it, e.g. yellow - to
yellow
• The converted word also acquires a new
paradigm and a new syntactic functions,
which are peculiar to its new category as a
part of speech.
Properties of the converted words
Paradigm
garden
Functions
-s (plural)
Subject
-’s (possessive case)
Object
-s’
(possessive
case, Predicative
(именная
часть
составного
plural)
сказуемого)
to garden
-s (3d person sing.)
-ed
(Past
Indef.,
Predicate
Past
Participle)
-ing (Pres. Part., Gerund)
The most common types of
conversion in English
• Verbs derived from nouns: to ship, to dog
(преследовать), to wolf (жадно есть)
• Nouns derived from verbs: a try (попытка), a
catch (улов), a find (находка), a cut (порез)
• Verbs derived from adjectives: to pale
(бледнеть), to empty (опустошить), to grey
(седеть), to tidy (привести в порядок)
Less common types of conversion in
English
• nouns derived from adjectives: a bitter
(горечь), the poor, a final
• verbs/nouns derived from prepositions: out
(e.g. diplomats were outed from the country;
ins and outs – входы и выходы).
Types of semantic relations between the
converted word and the original word
• The name of tool – an action performed by this tool:
hammer – to hammer, brush – to brush, nail – to nail
• The animal name – action typical to this animal:
monkey – to monkey (обезьянничать), wolf – to wolf
(жадно есть)
• Part of body – action performed by it: back – to back,
hand – to hand, shoulder – to shoulder
• Name of occupation – an action typical of it: cook – to
cook, nurse – to nurse
• The name of a place – the process of occupying the
place: room – to room, place – to place, etc.
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