–ефераты. Modern English Word-Formation

on to themselves, there is a secondary stress on the first syllable in

words with such suffixes, e. g. 'employ'ee (em'ploy), govern'mental

(govern), 'pictu'resque (picture).

There are different classifications of suffixes in linguistic literature,

as suffixes may be divided into several groups according to different


1) The first principle of classification that, one might say, suggests

itself is the part of speech formed. Within the scope of the part-of-

speech classification suffixes naturally fall into several groups such


a) noun-suffixes, i.e. those forming or occurring in nouns, e. g.

Цer, Цdom, Цness, Цation, etc. (teacher, Londoner, freedom,

brightness, justification, etc.);

b) adjective-suffixes, i.e. those forming or occurring in

adjectives, e. g. Цable, Цless, Цful, Цic, Цous, etc.

(agreeable, careless, doubtful, poetic, courageous, etc.);

c) verb-suffixes, i.e. those forming or occurring in verbs, e. g.

Цen, Цfy, Цize (darken, satisfy, harmonize, etc.);

d) adverb-suffixes, i.e. those forming or occurring in adverbs, e.

g. Цly, Цward (quickly, eastward, etc.).

2) Suffixes may also be classified into various groups according to the

lexico-grammatical character of the base the affix is usually added

to. Proceeding from this principle one may divide suffixes into:

a) deverbal suffixes (those added to the verbal base), e. g. Цer,

Цing, Цment, Цable, etc. (speaker, reading, agreement, suitable,


b) denominal suffixes (those added to the noun base), e. g. Цless,

Цish, Цful, Цist, Цsome, etc. (handless, childish, mouthful,

violinist, troublesome, etc.);

c) de-adjectival suffixes (those affixed to the adjective base), e.

g. Цen, Цly, Цish, Цness, etc. (blacken, slowly, reddish,

brightness, etc.).

3) A classification of suffixes may also be based on the criterion of

sense expressed by a set of suffixes. Proceeding from this principle

suffixes are classified into various groups within the bounds of a

certain part of speech. For instance, noun-suffixes fall into those


a) the agent of an action, e. g. Цer, Цant (baker, dancer,

defendant, etc.);

b) appurtenance, e. g. Цan, Цian, Цese, etc. (Arabian, Elizabethan,

Russian, Chinese, Japanese, etc.);

c) collectivity, e. g. Цage, Цdom, Цery (Цry), etc. (freightage,

officialdom, peasantry, etc.);

d) diminutiveness, e. g. Цie, Цlet, Цling, etc. (birdie, girlie,

cloudlet, squirreling, wolfing, etc.).

4) Still another classification of suffixes may be worked out if one

examines them from the angle of stylistic reference. Just like

prefixes, suffixes are also characterized by quite a definite

stylistic reference falling into two basic classes:

a) those characterized by neutral stylistic reference such as

Цable, Цer, Цing, etc.;

b) those having a certain stylistic value such as Цold, Цi/form,

Цaceous, Цtron, etc.

Suffixes with neutral stylistic reference may occur in words of

different lexico-stylistic layers. As for suffixes of the second class

they are restricted in use to quite definite lexico-stylistic layers

of words, in particular to terms, e.g. rhomboid, asteroid, cruciform,

cyclotron, synchrophasotron, etc.

5) Suffixes are also classified as to the degree of their productivity.

Distinction is usually made between dead and living affixes. Dead affixes

are described as those which are no longer felt in Modern English as

component parts of words; they have so fused with the base of the word as

to lose their independence completely. It is only by special etymological

analysis that they may be singled out, e. g. Цd in dead, seed, Цle, Цl,

Цel in bundle, sail, hovel; Цock in hillock; Цlock in wedlock; Цt in

flight, gift, height. It is quite clear that dead suffixes are irrelevant

to present-day English word-formation, they belong in its diachronic


Living affixes may be easily singled out from a word, e. g. the noun-

forming suffixes Цness, Цdom, Цhood, Цage, Цance, as in darkness,

freedom, childhood, marriage, assistance, etc. or the adjective-forming

suffixes Цen, Цous, Цive, Цful, Цy as in wooden, poisonous, active,

hopeful, stony, etc.

However, not all living derivational affixes of Modern English possess

the ability to coin new words. Some of them may be employed to coin new

words on the spur of the moment, others cannot, so that they are

different from the point of view of their productivity. Accordingly they

fall into two basic classes Ч productive and non-productive word-building


It has been pointed out that linguists disagree as to what is meant by

the productivity of derivational affixes.

Following the first approach all living affixes should be considered

productive in varying degrees from highly-productive (e. g. Цer, Цish,

Цless, reЦ, etc.) to non-productive (e. g. Цard, Цcy, Цive, etc.).

Consequently it becomes important to describe the constraints imposed on

and the factors favouring the productivity of affixational patterns and

individual affixes. The degree of productivity of affixational patterns

very much depends on the structural, lexico-grammatical and semantic

nature of bases and the meaning of the affix. For instance, the analysis

of the bases from which the suffix Цize can derive verbs reveals that it

is most productive with noun-stems, adjective-stems also favour ifs

productivity, whereas verb-stems and adverb-stems do not, e. g. criticize

(critic), organize (organ), itemize (item), mobilize (mobile), localize

(local), etc. Comparison of the semantic structure of a verb in Цize with

that of the base it is built on shows that the number of meanings of the

stem usually exceeds that of the verb and that its basic meaning favours

the productivity of the suffix Цize to a greater degree than its marginal

meanings, e. g. to characterize Ч character, to moralize Ч moral, to

dramatize Ч drama, etc.

The treatment of certain affixes as non-productive naturally also depends

on the concept of productivity. The current definition of non-productive

derivational affixes as those which cannot hg used in Modern English for

the coining of new words is rather vague and maybe interpreted in

different ways. Following the definition the term non-productive refers

only to the affixes unlikely to be used for the formation of new words,

e. g. Цous, Цth, foreЦ and some others (famous, depth, foresee).

If one accepts the other concept of productivity mentioned above, then

non-productive affixes must be defined as those that cannot be used for

the formation of occasional words and, consequently, such affixes as

Цdom, Цship, Цful, Цen, Цify, Цate and many others are to be regarded as


The theory of relative productivity of derivational affixes is also

corroborated by some other observations made on English word-formation.

For instance, different productive affixes are found in different periods

of the history of the language. It is extremely significant, for example,

that out of the seven verb-forming suffixes of the Old English period

only one has survived up to the present time with a very low degree of

productivity, namely the suffix Цen (e. g. to soften, to darken, to


A derivational affix may become productive in just one meaning because

that meaning is specially needed by the community at a particular phase

in its history. This may be well illustrated by the prefix deЦ in the

sense of Сundo what has been done, reverse an action or processТ, e. g.

deacidify (paint spray), decasualize (dock labour), decentralize

(government or management), deration (eggs and butter), de-reserve

(medical students), desegregate (coloured children), and so on.

Furthermore, there are cases when a derivational affix being

nonproductive in the non-specialized section of the vocabulary is used to

coin scientific or technical terms. This is the case, for instance, with

the suffix Цance which has been used to form some terms in Electrical

Engineering, e. g. capacitance, impedance, reactance. The same is true of

the suffix Цity which has been used to form terms in physics, and

chemistry such as alkalinity, luminosity, emissivity and some others.

Conversion, one of the principal ways of forming words in Modern English

is highly productive in replenishing the English word-stock with new

words. The term conversion, which some linguists find inadequate, refers

to the numerous cases of phonetic identity of word-forms, primarily the

so-called initial forms, of two words belonging to different parts of

speech. This may be illustrated by the following cases: work Ч to work;

love Ч to love; paper Ч to paper; brief Ч to brief, etc. As a rule we

deal with simple words, although there are a few exceptions, e.g.

wireless Ч to wireless.

It will be recalled that, although inflectional categories have been

greatly reduced in English in the last eight or nine centuries, there is

a certain difference on the morphological level between various parts of

speech, primarily between nouns and verbs. For instance, there is a clear-

cut difference in Modern English between the noun doctor and the verb to

doctor Ч each exists in the language as a unity of its word-forms and

variants, not as one form doctor. It is true that some of the forms are

identical in sound, i.e. homonymous, but there is a great distinction

between them, as they are both grammatically and semantically different.

If we regard such word-pairs as doctor Ч to doctor, water Ч to water,

brief Ч to brief from the angle of their morphemic structure, we see that

they are all root-words. On the derivational level, however, one of them

should be referred to derived words, as it belongs to a different part of

speech and is understood through semantic and structural relations with

the other, i.e. is motivated by it. Consequently, the question arises:

what serves as a word-building means in these cases? It would appear that

the noun is formed from the verb (or vice versa) without any

morphological change, but if we probe deeper into the matter, we

inevitably come to the conclusion that the two words differ in the

paradigm. Thus it is the paradigm that is used as a word-building means.

Hence, we may define conversion as the formation of a new word through

changes in its paradigm.

It is necessary to call attention to the fact that the paradigm plays a

significant role in the process of word-formation in general and not only

in the case of conversion. Thus, the noun cooker (in gas-cooker) is

formed from the word to cook not only by the addition of the suffix Цer,

but also by the change in its paradigm. However, in this case, the role

played by the paradigm as a word-building means is less obvious, as the

word-building suffix Цer comes to the fore. Therefore, conversion is

characterized not simply by the use of the paradigm as a word-building

means, but by the formation of a new word solely by means of changing its

paradigm. Hence, the change of paradigm is the only word-building means

of conversion. As a paradigm is a morphological category conversion can

be described as a morphological way of forming words.

Compounding or word-composition is one of the productive types of word-

formation in Modern English. Composition like all other ways of deriving

words has its own peculiarities as to the means used, the nature of bases

and their distribution, as to the range of application, the scope of

semantic classes and the factors conducive to productivity.

Compounds, as has been mentioned elsewhere, are made up of two ICs which

are both derivational bases. Compound words are inseparable vocabulary

units. They are formally and semantically dependent on the constituent

bases and the semantic relations between them which mirror the relations

between the motivating units. The ICs of compound words represent bases

of all three structural types. The bases built on stems may be of

different degree of complexity as, for example, week-end, office-

management, postage-stamp, aircraft-carrier, fancy-dress-maker, etc.

However, this complexity of structure of bases is not typical of the bulk

of Modern English compounds.

In this connection care should be taken not to confuse compound words

with polymorphic words of secondary derivation, i.e. derivatives built

according to an affixal pattern but on a compound stem for its base such

as, e. g. school-mastership ([n + n] + suf), ex-housewife (prf + [n +

n]), to weekend, to spotlight ([n + n] + conversion).

Structurally compound words are characterized by the specific order and

arrangement in which bases follow one another. The order in which the two

bases are placed within a compound is rigidly fixed in Modern English and

it is the second IC that makes the head-member of the word, i.e. its

structural and semantic centre. The head-member is of basic importance as

it preconditions both the lexico-grammatical and semantic features of the

first component. It is of interest to note that the difference between

stems (that serve as bases in compound words) and word-forms they

coincide with is most obvious in some compounds, especially in compound

adjectives. Adjectives like long, wide, rich are characterized by

grammatical forms of degrees of comparison longer, wider, richer. The

corresponding stems functioning as bases in compound words lack

grammatical independence and forms proper to the words and retain only

the part-of-speech meaning; thus compound adjectives with adjectival

stems for their second components, e. g. age-long, oil-rich, inch-wide,

do not form degrees of comparison as the compound adjective oil-rich does

not form them the way the word rich does, but conforms to the general

rule of polysyllabic adjectives and has analytical forms of degrees of

comparison. The same difference between words and stems is not so

noticeable in compound nouns with the noun-stem for the second component.

Phonetically compounds are also marked by a specific structure of their

own. No phonemic changes of bases occur in composition but the compound

word acquires a new stress pattern, different from the stress in the

motivating words, for example words key and hole or hot and house each

possess their own stress but when the stems of these words are brought

together to make up a new compound word, 'keyhole Ч Сa hole in a lock

into which a key fitsТ, or 'hothouse Ч Сa heated building for growing

delicate plantsТ, the latter is given a different stress pattern Ч a

unity stress on the first component in our case. Compound words have

three stress patterns:

a) a high or unity stress on the first component as in 'honeymoon,

'doorway, etc.

b) a double stress, with a primary stress on the first component and a

weaker, secondary stress on the second component, e. g. 'blood-

?vessel, 'mad-?doctor, 'washing-?machine, etc.

c) It is not infrequent, however, for both ICs to have level stress as

in, for instance, 'arm-'chair, 'icy-'cold, 'grass-'green, etc.

Graphically most compounds have two types of spelling Ч they are spelt

either solidly or with a hyphen. Both types of spelling when accompanied by

structural and phonetic peculiarities serve as a sufficient indication of

inseparability of compound words in contradistinction to phrases. It is

true that hyphenated spelling by itself may be sometimes misleading, as it

may be used in word-groups to emphasize their phraseological character as

in e. g. daughter-in-law, man-of-war, brother-in-arms or in longer

combinations of words to indicate the semantic unity of a string of words

used attributively as, e.g., I-know-what-you're-going-to-say expression, we-

are-in-the-know jargon, the young-must-be-right attitude. The two types of

spelling typical of compounds, however, are not rigidly observed and there

are numerous fluctuations between solid or hyphenated spelling on the one

hand and spelling with a break between the components on the other,

especially in nominal compounds of the n+n type. The spelling of these

compounds varies from author to author and from dictionary to dictionary.

For example, the words war-path, war-time, money-lender are spelt both with

a hyphen and solidly; blood-poisoning, money-order, wave-length, war-shipЧ

with a hyphen and with a break; underfoot, insofar, underhandЧsolidly and

with a break[25]. It is noteworthy that new compounds of this type tend to

solid or hyphenated spelling. This inconsistency of spelling in compounds,

often accompanied by a level stress pattern (equally typical of word-

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