Word Formation

Topics: Affix, Word formation, Morpheme Pages: 2 (318 words) Published: September 29, 2011
Word formation is the process of creating new words. The following word formation processes result in the creation of new words in English: Derivation, Back-formation, Conversion, Compounding, Clipping, Blending, Abbreviations, Acronyms, Eponyms, Coinages, Nonce words, Borrowing, Calquing. The following sections define and exemplify the related word formation processes of derivation and back-formation.

Derivation is the word formation process in which a derivational affix attaches to the base form of a word to create a new word. Affixes, which include prefixes and suffixes, are bound morphemes. Morphemes are the smallest linguistic unit of a language with semantic meaning. Bound morphemes, unlike free morphemes, cannot stand alone but must attach to another morpheme such as a word. For example, the following two lists provide examples of some common prefixes and suffixes with definitions in English: Prefixes

a- – without, not
co- – together
de- – opposite, negative, removal, separation
-able – sense of being
-er – agent
-ful – characterized by

Back-formation is the word formation process in which an actual or supposed derivational affix detaches from the base form of a word to create a new word. For example, the following list provides examples of some common back-formations in English:

Original – Back-formation
babysitter – babysit
donation – donate
gambler – gamble

A Wh question is an open question, meaning that it can have any number of answers. It asks about some missing information the speaker needs. This corresponds to the different sentence elements, such as the verb, objects, manner, place, time, purpose, etc. Questions about the subject have a special form (see the next section). A question element needs to precede the subject in order to form this question. The “question element” is formed according to the following rule. There are 8 wh questions what, when, which, where, why, who, whom, and whose; to this list we usually...
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