Home ENGLISH LANGUAGE TOPIC 2: WORD FORMATION ~ ENGLISH F5 & F6

TOPIC 2: WORD FORMATION ~ ENGLISH F5 & F6

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WORD FORMATION

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

MORPHOLOGY


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

1. Morpheme

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 

                     International  

                     Internationally
Nationalization
Kind –  kindness

                   Unkind
Unkindness
Take – takes

                   Taken
Taking

        Discuss –  discussion

              Discussions
A morpheme may represent the lexical meaning or grammatical function.

  1. Word

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

  1. Stem

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.

For example:

– “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’  

NB:
– 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 

  1. Base 

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.

TASK
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

  1. Root

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

  1. Affix

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.

Prefix

This is the affix which is added before the stem

E.g.   Disconnect

          Illogical

          Unhappy

Empower

Infix

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

Suffix

This is the affix that is added after the stem.

                        E.g.  Mismanagement
Beautiful
Dismissal
Kingdom

  1. Allomorph

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:-

  • Occurrence
  • meaning
  • function

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.

E.g.      House

             Attend

             Large

            Tomorrow

(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.

Adverb

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:-

  1. 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

  1. 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

  1. 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

TASK

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.

Question

  1. Identify
  2. 7 lexical  morphemes
  3. 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

(a) AFFIXATION

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

(I) Prefixation

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   

Negative prefixes

These give the meaning of “NOT” “the opposite of” or “lack of”

        E.g.    Informal – irrelevant

                  Impossible – illegal

                  Immobile – illogical

                  Irregular – disobey

                  Disadvantage – amoral

                  Apolitical

Restorative prefixes

    These give the meaning of “Reverse an action”

          E.g  Undress – deforest

                  Uncover – depopulate

                  Disconnect – devalue

                  Disorganized

                  Decolonize

Pejorative prefixes

These give the meaning of “unless. False, fake, unimportant. Wrong, badly or bad”

E.g. Malnutrition – pseudo name

      Malpractice – pseudo intellectual

      Misconduct – pseudo scientists

      Mismanage

      Misbehave

Prefixes of degree or size

  1. 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.

Locative prefixes

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- independence

                               Pre- form one

                               Pre- National

                               Pre- judge

                               Pre- war

Post – (after) e.g.   Post- graduate

                              Post – independence
Post-election

                Ex – (former) e.g. Ex – president
Ex – wife
Ex – husband
Ex – soldier

                                           

                 Re – (again or back) e.g.Re – write

                                                         Re call

                                                         Re evaluate

Number prefixes

These show number

Uni-/ Mono – (means one) e.g.Uni- cellular

                     Mono party

                      Monolingual

                      Monocotyledon

                       Monosyllabic

Bi -/ Bi – (means two, double or twice) e.g. Bilingua

                         Bicycle
Ditransitive
Dicotyledon
Bi- annual

Tri (three) e.g. Triangle

                         Tricycle
Trilateral

Multi/ poly (many) e.g. Polyandry 

                                     Polygamy
Multi lingua
Multiparty
Multi disciplinary

  1. Conversion prefixes

Prefixes used to change a word from noun/adjective to verb

En – (make or become) 

e.g. Enslave

  Enlarge

  Ensure

  Enforce

  Enrich

        Enlightened

Be – (make or become) 

e.g. Befriend

       Be calm

       Be witch

                 

-A- (be or become) 

e.g. a live

       A sleep 

       A rise

  1. Other prefixes  

–   Auto (self) – Auto biography

              Autograph

               Autocracy

  

– Neo (new or revived) e.g. Neo- colonialism

                                           Neo-man

-Pan (all or worldwide) e.g. Pan-africanism

-Proto (original) e.g. Proto Bantu

                                 Proto language
Proto type

-Semi (half) e.g. Semi-circle

                                           Semi- hemisphere
Semi- final
Semi-model

TASK

  1. 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
    i) Charge
    ii) Type
    iii) possible
    iv) Navigation
    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

(II) Suffixation

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

  1.   i)      – Noun suffixes
  2. ii)      – Adjective suffixes

  iii)       – Adverb suffixes

  1. iv)       – Verb suffixes-let (small)

Noun Suffixes   

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

                  Gang-star

– eer (engaged in or belongs to)

      E.g. Engineer

             Profiteer

             Racketeer

– let (small)

E.g. Booklet

        Leaflet

        Piglet

– ette (small)

      E.g. Kitchenette

             Cigarette

             Statuette

– ess (small) e.g. Lioness

                        Actress

                        Princess

– hood (in the state or status of) e.g. Brotherhood

                                                         Manhood

                                                         Neighborhood

                                                         Youth hood

                                                         Adulthood

– Ship (in the state or status of) E.g. Friendship

                                              Relationship

– Dom (in the condition) E.g. Kingdom

                         Freedom

                         Boredom

                         Wisdom

– cracy (system of government) E.g. Bureaucracy

                                              Democracy

– ery (behavior of or place an ac

E.g. Slavery

             Machinery

             Peasantry

             Carpentry

                         

                      Concrete – Abstract

(b) Noun to Adjective suffixes are the suffixes added to

– ist (member of) e.g.  Socialist

                                 Idealist

                                 Capitalist

                                 Ratio list

– ism (attitude or political movement)

      E.g. Idealism

             Communism

– ness (quality) or state

      E.g. Happiness

             Cleverness

– ity (state or quality) e.g. Stupidity                           

                                       Ability

                                      Salinity

(c) Verb to Noun suffixes

– er (instrumental or a genitive) e.g. Player

                                                   Reader

                                                   Writer

                                                    Farmer

                                                    Leader

– or (“ ) e.g.    Actor

                     Investigator

                     Incubator

                     Insulator

– al (action of) e.g. Arrival

                           Dismissal

                           Withdrawal

                           Proposal

– age (an activity or)

                  E.g.     Drainage

                              Marriage

                              Passage

                              Leakage

– ment (state or action of)

                  E.g.   Government

                           Treatment

                            Achievement

                            Improvement

– ant (instrumental or adjective) E.g.  Assistant

-ee (passive receiver) e.g. Employee

                                           Payee
Trainee
Appointee
Interviewee

– (a) tion (state or action)

E.g. organization

                   Examination

                   Discussion

                   Globalization

                   Penetration

(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

                         Respective

                         Comparative

                         Collective

– able /-ible  E.g.  Manageable

                          Sensible

                          Movable       

                          Honorable 

Noun to Adjective suffixes

– al (of or with)  e.g. National

                              Accidental

                              Criminal

                              Historical

– (ii) an (member of) e.g. Tanzanian

                                         Canadian

– ful (having or with)

      E.g.  Beautiful

              Wonderful

– less (without)

      E.g.      Childless

                  Speechless

                  Harmless

                  Hopeless

                  Useless

– ly (having a quality of)

      E.g.      Manly

                  Friendly

                  Cowardly

– ish (belong to or having the character of)

      E.g.      Selfish

                  Turkish

                  Irish

                  Swedish

– ous (with or worth) e.g. Dangerous

                                        Famous

– ese (a member or citizen of)

      E.g.      Chinese

                  Congolese

                  Japanese

– y (like, with or cover with)

      E.g.      Sandy

                  Muddy

                  Sugar

                  Healthy

                  Creamy

                  Hairy

– like (having a quality or behavior like)

E.g.      Childlike

             Fingerlike

(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

                                         Simplify
Notify
Classify
Purify

-en (cause or make) e.g. Widen   lengthen

                                         Sharpen    strengthen
Weaken
Sadden
Threaten

-ize/ – ise ( “  ) e.g.  Apologize

                               Colonize
Socialize
Formalize

(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

                                          Slowly
Quietly
Happily
Gradually

-ward (in the manner of or in the direction of)

                                    E.g. Backward
Onwards
Inwards
Downwards
Upwards   

 -wise (as far as or in the manner of)

                                       E.g.   Education wise
Clockwise
Cultural wise
Political wise
TASK
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

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