Affixation is one of the most productive ways of word building throughout the history of English. The main function of affixation in Modern English is to form one part of speech from another; the secondary function is to change the lexical meaning of the same part of speech. The process of affixation consists in coining a new word by adding an affix or several affixes to some root morpheme. The role of the affix in this procedure is very important and therefore it is necessary to consider certain facts about the main types of affixes. Affixation is one of the most productive ways of word-building throughout the history of English. Affixation is divided into suffixation and prefixation. The present paper is devoted to the study of polysemy, homonymy and synonymy of English affixes. As is known, language is never stable: sounds, constructions, grammatical elements, word-forms and word-meanings are all exposed to alteration. Derivational affixes are no exception in this respect, they also undergo semantic change. Consequently many commonly used derivational affixes are polysemantic in Modern English. The various changes that the English language has undergone in the course of time have led to chance coincidence in form of two or more derivational affixes. As a consequence, and this is characteristic of Modern English, many homonymic derivational affixes can be found among those forming both different parts of speech and different semantic groupings within the same part of speech. Borrowed affixes, especially of Romance origin are numerous in the English vocabulary. It would be wrong, though, to suppose that affixes are borrowed in the same way and for the same reasons as words. An affix of foreign origin can be regarded as borrowed only after it has begun an independent and active life in the recipient language, that is, is taking part in the word-making processes of that language. This can only occur when the total of words with this affix is so great in the recipient language as to affect the native speakers' subconscious to the extent that they no longer realise its foreign flavour and accept it as their own. Under certain circumstances some of them came to overlap semantically to a certain extent both with one another and with the native affixes.
Affixation is generally defined as the formation of words by adding derivational affixes to different types of bases. Derived words formed by affixation may be the result of one or several applications of word-formation rule and thus the stems of words making up a word-cluster enter into derivational relations of different degrees. The zero degree of derivation is ascribed to simple words, i.e. words whose stem is homonymous with a word-form and often with a root-morpheme, e.g. atom, haste, devote, anxious, horror, etc. Derived words whose bases are built on simple stems and thus are formed by the application of one derivational affix are described as having the first degree of derivation, e.g. atomic, hasty, devotion, etc. Derived words formed by two consecutive stages of coining possess the second degree of derivation, etc., e.g. atomical, hastily, devotional, etc. In conformity with the division of derivational affixes into suffixes and prefixes affixation is subdivided into suffixation and prefixation. Distinction is naturally made between prefixal and suffixal derivatives according to the last stage of derivation, which determines the nature of the ICs of the pattern that signals the relationship of the derived word with its motivating source unit, cf. unjust (un-+just), justify, (just++ -ify), arrangement (arrange + -ment), non-smoker (non- + smoker). Words like reappearance, unreasonable, denationalise, are often qualified as prefixal-suffixal derivatives. The reader should clearly realise that this qualification is relevant only in terms of the constituent morphemes such words are made up of, i.e....
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