Ways of Forming New Words in a Language

Topics: Word, Word formation, Morpheme Pages: 10 (2663 words) Published: August 29, 2008

In the framework of the course Linguistics I, I am assigned to do a coursework on the subject of word formation. An introduction and definition of the processes used for the creation of new words as well as explicit examples in more than a language are included.

Language has become an important issue all over the world today. It is a well known historical fact that all languages are constantly in a state of change. 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 line between word formation and semantic change is sometimes a bit blurry ; what one person views as a new use of an old word, another person might view as a new word derived from an old one and identical to it in form. Word formation can also be contrasted with the formation of idiomatic expressions, though sometimes words can form from mueti-word phrases.

The study of the internal structure of words, and of the rules by which words are formed, is called morphology. This word comes the traditional term for the most elemental unit of grammatical form which is the morpheme(From kin and Rodman, R 1998). A word is not a simple sequence of morphemes but has a hierarchical structure. In every language, there are morphological rules that determine how morphemes combine to from new words. According to Fromkin, V. and Rodman, R (1998) a word consists of one or more morphemes. Lexical content morphemes that cannot be analyzed into smaller parts are called root morphemes. When a root morpheme is combined with affix morphemes it forms a stem. Other affixes can be added to a stem to form a more complex stem.

Some morphemes are bound in that they must be joined to other morphemes, are always parts of words and never words by the themselves. Other morphemes are free in that they need not to be attached to other morphemes. For instance, free, king, bore are free morphemes while – dom (as in freedom, kingdom, boredom) is a bound morpheme. Affixes, that is prefixes, suffixes, infixes and circumfixes, are bound morphemes. Prefixes occur before, suffixes after, infixes in the middle of, and circumfixes around stems. Lexical content or root morphemes constitute the major word classes – nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs. These are open class items because their classes are easily added to. Morphological rules of word formation are complex. Here follows a simplistic schema of a frequent classification of morphological processes.

Morphological processes Inflectional processes lexical processes Affixes
derivational compounding processes other processes coinage Affixes Back formation conversion Suffixes Blending Prefixes Acronyms Eponyms (Words from names)

Infixes Neologisms Borrowing Clipping (Abbreviations)
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