In linguistics, word formation is the creation of a new word. Word formation is sometimes contrasted with semantic change, which is a change in a single word’s meaning. The boundary between word formation and semantic change can be difficult to define: a new use of an old word can be seen as a new word derived from an old one and identical to it in form.
Word Formation tries to explain the processes through which we can create new word forms. We’ve already seen some of these at work when we looked at morphemes and word classes, but now we’ll investigate them a little more closely, initially using exploratory methods again, rather than just looking at long lists of morphemes and listing their functions.
This is the field or branch of morphology which studies different principles or processes which govern the conservation or formation of words in a particular language. I.e. it refers to the processes by which new words are formed or built in a particular language.
This process involves morphological processes (then formation of words through combinations of morphemes together with other different processes.
The process of word formation may involve the process whereby roots or stems received inflectional or derivational element (affixes) in order to form the new words.
NB: The roots, stems inflectional or derivational elements are all technique termed as morphemes
This is a component of grammar (sub branch) of linguistics which deals with the study of morphemes and their difference forms (Allomorphs) and how these units combine together in the formation of words. It also studies the structure and arrangement of words in the dictionary i.e. Morphology is the study of word formation and dictionary use.
DEFINITIONS OF KEY WORDS
This is the smallest grammatical or lexical unit in the structure of a language which may form a word or part of a word
E.g. nation – national
Kind – kindness
Take – takes
Discuss – discussion
A morpheme may represent the lexical meaning or grammatical function.
This is the minimal or smallest unit in the structure of a sentence in any language which may constitute on utterance or sentence on its own.
The word is usually formed by either one or several morphemes out it is the smallest unit in the sentence structure.
E.g. Yesterday I met him at Tabata- 6 words
We can words in a sentence and morphemes in a word
Is that part of a word that is in existence before any inflectional affixes have been added.
Or, Is that part of the word that inflectional affixes can be attached to.
– “cat” can take inflectional morpheme-‘S’
– “Worker” can take inflectional morpheme-‘S’
– “Winne” can take inflectional morpheme-‘S’
– “Short” can take inflectional morpheme-‘er’
– “friendship” can take inflectional morpheme-‘S’
– A stem is a root or roots of the word together with any derivation affixes to which inflectional affixes are added.
– A stem consists minimally of a root but may be analyzable word into a root plus derivation morphemes
Is any unit whatsoever to which affixes of any kind can be added.
For example; in the word “playful”
‘play’ is a root and also a base
In the word ‘playfulness’ the root is still “play” but the base is ‘playful’
– “Instruct” is the base for forming instruction, instructor and re-instruct
NB: All roots can be bases but not all bases are roots.
1. Write ten words which you think are bases but they are not roots
2. Identify the inflectional affixes, derivational affixes, roots, base and stems in the following words faiths, faithfully, unfaithful, faithfulness, bookshops, window-cleaners, hardships
This is a basic part of a word which normally carries lexical meaning corresponding to the concept, object or idea and which cannot be split into further parts
Roots in many languages may also be joined to other roots or take affixes or combing forms
E.g. Man manly, house hold, big
This is a morpheme, usually grammatical which is attached to another morpheme (stem) in the formation of a new word which may change the meaning, grammatical category or grammatical form of the stem.
E.g. Beautiful Mismanagement Disconnect
The affix maybe added either before, with or after the stem thus are three types of affixes.
This is the affix which is added before the stem
This is the affix that is added within the stem. Thus type of affix is rare to be found in English words
E.g. meno – meino
This is the affix that is added after the stem.
This refers to any of the difference forms of the same morpheme root they all represent the past participle (grammatical function)
CLASSIFICATION OF MORPHEMES
The morphemes are classified into several categories basing on several factor such as:-
There are two major types of morphemes
(i) Free morpheme
This is the morpheme that can stand or occur alone (on its own) as a separate word in the structure of a sentences in any language.
The free morpheme includes all parts of speech i.e. Nouns, Verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions, interjections, articles
The free morpheme is further divided into two categories
(a) Lexical morpheme
This is the type of frees morpheme which occurs on its own and carries a content of the message being conveyed i.e. It is the free morpheme which represents the actual lexical meaning of the concept, idea, object or action.
The lexical morphemes include the major word classes such as Noun, verbs (main verb), adjective and adverb.
(b) Functional morpheme / grammatical morpheme
This is the free morpheme which can stand alone as a separate word in a sentence but does not represent the actual lexical meaning of the concept, idea, object or action – it has little meaning when used alone and thus it usually occurs together with the lexical morpheme in order to give the lexical meaning
The functional morphemes includes the minor word classes such as pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions, interjections and articles, auxiliary verbs etc
(ii) Bound morpheme
This is the morpheme which can not normally stand alone as a separate word in the sentence structure as it is attached to another morpheme (lexical) free morpheme in the formation of the new word.
The Bound morpheme represents grammatical function such as word category tense aspect, person, number, participle, comparison etc.
Example ment, ism represents a noun, aly represent.
Tense – ed, d, voice, number
Person – es
Aspect – ing – progressive aspect
Comparison – er, est
The Bound morpheme is farther divided in to two categories.
(a) Derivation morpheme
This is the bound morpheme which is used to form or make new words with different meanings and grammatical categories or class from the stem i.e. It is the morpheme which when added to the stem it changes the meaning and / or the word class of grammatical category of stem/ base Example unhappy, illogical, impossible, empower
National – noun to adjective
Derivation morpheme may occur either before or after or both before and after the stem in the formation of the new words i.e. they may occur either as prefixes or affixes example management, mismanage, mismanagement.
The derivation morpheme may also change the sub classification of the same word class such as concrete noun into abstract noun e.g. Kingdom, friendship, leadership, membership
Deviation morphemes are also used as indicators of word category example simplicity, modernize dare indicators of verb by indicator of adverbs.
(b) Inflectional morpheme
This is the type of bound morpheme which is not used to produce or form different words with different meaning but rather it is used to change grammatical form of the state i.e. Inflectional morpheme doesn’t change the meaning or word class but it only changes grammatical form of the sentence which represent grammatical function such as to mark the verb for tense aspect, participle voice etc
Example finished, Lorries, oxen
Past tense – finished
Past participle – proven
Number – Lorries, oxen, children
Inflectional morpheme also marks nouns and number.
They mark adverb and adjectives for comparison
E.g. smaller, smallest
The inflectional morpheme occur only after the stem (they are suffix)
FUNCTION OF MORPHEMES
The morphemes are analyzed as having three major functions that are directly linked with their types.
The following are the functions of morphemes:-
- The morpheme (free morphemes) are used to form the bases or roots of the words i.e. a single free morpheme, lexical or functional forms the base or root of a word.
This function is therefore called Base – formfunction
E.g. Tree, after, along
- The morphemes (derivation bound morphemes) are used to change the lexical meaning and / or the grammatical category of the stem.
This function is called derivation function
E.g. Disunity, illegal, beautiful, quickly, modernize
- The morphemes (inflectional morphemes) are used to change the grammatical form or function of the stem without changing the meaning or word class.
This function is known as inflectional function
E.g. goes, tallest
Read the following passage and answer the following question
A thick vegetation cover, such as tropical forests , acts as protection against physical weathering and also helps to slow the removal of the weathered layer in deserts and high mountains the absence of the vegetation accelerates the rate of weathering plants and animals
however, play a significant part in rock destruction, notably by chemical decomposition through the action of organic acidic solution the acids develop from water percolation through party decayed vegetation and animal matter.
- 7 lexical morphemes
- 5 derivation morphemes
III. 2 inflectional morpheme
PROCESSES OF WORD FORMATION IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE
The formation of words in English language is archived in several processes or ways. These processes fall into two major categories
(i) The major processes which includes affixation compounding, Conversion and reduplication.
(ii) The minor processes which includes clipping Blending, Acronym, Borrowing, Back formation, Onomatopoeia, Coining/ coinage
I) The major processes of word formation
The process of word formation whereby new words are formed by attaching or adding the affixes (prefix, infix or suffix) to the stem.
E.g. Shortly – suffix
Unusual – prefix
Belonging – suffix
Inhuman – prefix
Dismissal – suffix
This is the process of forming new words by adding affixes before the stem/root. For example dislike , unhappy, amoral, decolonise, redo.
Classification of Prefix
Prefix are classified into several categories basing on the meaning they give when added to the stem
These give the meaning of “NOT” “the opposite of” or “lack of”
E.g. Informal – irrelevant
Impossible – illegal
Immobile – illogical
Irregular – disobey
Disadvantage – amoral
These give the meaning of “Reverse an action”
E.g Undress – deforest
Uncover – depopulate
Disconnect – devalue
These give the meaning of “unless. False, fake, unimportant. Wrong, badly or bad”
E.g. Malnutrition – pseudo name
Malpractice – pseudo intellectual
Misconduct – pseudo scientists
Prefixes of degree or size
- These express degree or size in terms of quality or quantity.
E.g. Arch (supreme or highest in rank)
Super (above or better)
Sir (over and above) e.g. Sir name
Sub (lower or less than) e.g. Substandard, subconscious
Over (too much) e.g. Over doss, over it, over confident
Under (too little) e.g. under paid, under look, under cook
Hyper (extremely or beyond) e.g. Hyper actives, Hyper sensitive
Ultra (extremely or beyond) e.g. Ultra modern, ultrasound
Mini (small) e.g. Mini bus, mini skirt
Prefixes of altitude
These include “Co-“(with or joined)
E.g. Co-operate, co- education, co- exist. “Counter” (in opposition to”) e.g. Counter attack, counter- revolution, and counter act
“Anti” (against) e.g. Antivirus, anticlockwise, anti body
“Pro” (instead of or on the side of) e.g. Pronoun, pro capitalism, Pro multiparty.
These indicate location
E.g. Super (over or above) superstructure, super building, super imposed
Inter (between or among) international, inter school
Trans (across) Trans Saharan, trans plant, Trans Atlantic
Prefixes of time and order
These include “fore” (before, front, first) e.g. Foreground, fore legs, fore knowledge, fore head
Pre – (before) e.g. Pre-mature
Pre- form one
Post – (after) e.g. Post- graduate
Post – independence
Ex – (former) e.g. Ex – president
Ex – wife
Ex – husband
Ex – soldier
Re – (again or back) e.g.Re – write
These show number
Uni-/ Mono – (means one) e.g.Uni- cellular
Bi -/ Bi – (means two, double or twice) e.g. Bilingua
Tri (three) e.g. Triangle
Multi/ poly (many) e.g. Polyandry
- Conversion prefixes
Prefixes used to change a word from noun/adjective to verb
En – (make or become)
Be – (make or become)
-A- (be or become)
e.g. a live
- Other prefixes
– Auto (self) – Auto biography
– Neo (new or revived) e.g. Neo- colonialism
-Pan (all or worldwide) e.g. Pan-africanism
-Proto (original) e.g. Proto Bantu
-Semi (half) e.g. Semi-circle
- Provide the meaning of the following prefixes and provide three examples of words/roots/stem which can be use these prefixes.
i) Sur –
ii) Proto –
iii) Hyper –
iv) Dis –
v) Neo –2. With examples differentiate between pejorative prefixes and locative prefixes.
3. Use appropriate prefix(es)in each of the following words
v) Ability4. i) Give three examples of reversative prefixes
ii) Write three examples of the prefix poly_
iii) What is the difference of the prefix “Un” in unhappy, unkind and in uncover, untie
Is the process of adding morphemes after a system/root. So as to form new word. Unlike prefixation, suffixes frequently alter the word class of a root/stem.
Classification of suffix
The suffixes are classified according to the class of the new word formed after the addition of the suffixes.
There are four major types of suffixes
- i) – Noun suffixes
- ii) – Adjective suffixes
iii) – Adverb suffixes
- iv) – Verb suffixes-let (small)
are the suffixes added to the stem or bases of different word classes in the formation of the new word that are noun by category.
This falls into four categories;
(a) Noun to noun suffixes
– star (engaged in or belongs to)
E.g. – Young –star
– eer (engaged in or belongs to)
– let (small)
– ette (small)
– ess (small) e.g. Lioness
– hood (in the state or status of) e.g. Brotherhood
– Ship (in the state or status of) E.g. Friendship
– Dom (in the condition) E.g. Kingdom
– cracy (system of government) E.g. Bureaucracy
– ery (behavior of or place an ac
Concrete – Abstract
(b) Noun to Adjective suffixes are the suffixes added to
– ist (member of) e.g. Socialist
– ism (attitude or political movement)
– ness (quality) or state
– ity (state or quality) e.g. Stupidity
(c) Verb to Noun suffixes
– er (instrumental or a genitive) e.g. Player
– or (“ ) e.g. Actor
– al (action of) e.g. Arrival
– age (an activity or)
– ment (state or action of)
– ant (instrumental or adjective) E.g. Assistant
-ee (passive receiver) e.g. Employee
– (a) tion (state or action)
(ii) Adjective suffixes
They are used to change the bases of different word classes such as noun or verbs in order to form the new words that are Adjective by class.
(a) Verb to Adjective suffixes
– ive (which) e.g. Active
– able /-ible E.g. Manageable
Noun to Adjective suffixes
– al (of or with) e.g. National
– (ii) an (member of) e.g. Tanzanian
– ful (having or with)
– less (without)
– ly (having a quality of)
– ish (belong to or having the character of)
– ous (with or worth) e.g. Dangerous
– ese (a member or citizen of)
– y (like, with or cover with)
– like (having a quality or behavior like)
(iii) Verb suffixes
These are the suffixes added to the stems or roots of Noun or adjectives to from the new words which are verbs by class.
These are three types of verb suffixes
-ify (cause or make) e.g. Identify
-en (cause or make) e.g. Widen lengthen
-ize/ – ise ( “ ) e.g. Apologize
(iv) Adverb suffixes
These are the suffixes which when added to the roots or stems they produce a new word which is an adverb by class
-ly (in the manner of) e.g. quickly
-ward (in the manner of or in the direction of)
-wise (as far as or in the manner of)
E.g. Education wise
1. Form verbs from the following words; family, type, popular, clear.
2. Form adjectives from the following words;expression, problem, progress, crime, courage.
3. With examples differentiate prefixes from suffixes