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Morphemic analysis.

The segmentation of words is generally carried out according to the method of Immediate and Ultimate Constituents. This method is based upon the binary principle, e.g. each stage of procedure involves two components the word immediately breaks into. At each stage these two components are referred to as the Immediate Constituents (IC). Each IC at the next stage of analysis is in turn broken into smaller meaningful elements. The analysis is completed when we arrive at constituents incapable of further division, i.e. morphemes. These are referred to as Ultimate Constituents (UC). The analysis of word-structure on the morphemic level must naturally proceed to the stage of UC-s.

Allomorphs are the phonemic variants of the given morpheme e.g. il-, im-, ir-, are the allomorphs of the prefix in- (illiterate, important, irregular, inconstant).

Monomorphic are root-words consisting of only one root-morpheme i.e. simple words (dry, grow, boss, sell).

Polymorphic are words consisting of at least one root-morpheme and a number of derivational affixes, i.e. derivatives, compounds {customer, payee, body-building, shipping).

Derived words are those composed of one root-morpheme and one more derivational morpheme (consignment, outgoing, publicity).

Compound words contain at least two root-morphemes (warehouse, camera­man).

Productivity is the ability to form new words after existing patterns which are readily understood by the speakers of a language. Synchronilly the most important and the most productive ways of word-formation are affixation, conversion, word-composition and abbreviation (contraction). In the course of time the productivity of this or that way of word-formation may change. Sound interchangeor gradation (blood - to bleed, to abide - abode, to strike - stroke) was a productive way of word building in old English and is important for a diachronic study of the English language. It has lost its productivity in Modern English and no new word can be coined by means of sound gradation. Affixation on the contrary was productive in Old English and is still one of the most productive ways of word building in Modern English.

Affixation is the formation of new words with the help of derivational affixes. Suffixation is more productive than prefixation. In Modern English sufflxation is typical of verb formation (incoming, principal, promotion).

Affixes are usually divided into living and dead affixes. Living affixes are easily separated from the stem {care-ful). Dead affixes have become fully merged with the stem and can be singled out by a diachronic analysis of the development of the word {admit — Latin - ad+mittere). Living affixes are in their turn divided into productive and non-productive affixes. In many cases the choice of the affixes is a means of differentiating meaning:

uninterested - disinterested

distrust - mistrust

Word-composition is another type of word-building which is highly productive. That is when new words are produced by combining two or more stems.

Stem is that part of a word which remains unchanged throughout its paradigm and to which grammatical inflexions and affixes are added. The bulk of compound words is motivated and the semantic relations between the two components are transparent.

Compound words proper are formed by joining together stems of words already available in the language. Compound proper is a word, the two Immediate Constituents of which are stems of notional words, e.g. ice-cold (N+A), ill-luck (A+N).

Derivational compound is a word formed by a simultaneous process of composition and derivation. Derivational compound is formed by composing a new stem that does not exist outside this pattern and to which suffix is added. Derivational compound is a word consisting of two Immediate Constituents, only one of which is a compound stem of notional words, the other being a derivational affix, e.g. blue-eyed - (A+N)+ed. In coordinative compounds neither of the components dominates the other; both are structurally and semantically independent and constitute two structural and semantic centers, e.g. breath-taking, self-discipline, word-formation.

Conversion is a highly productive way of coining new words in Modern English. Conversion is sometimes referred to as an affixless way of word-building, a process of making a new word from some existing root word by changing the category of a part of speech without changing the morphemic shape of the original root-word. The transposition of word from one part of speech into another brings about changes of the paradigm.

Conversion is not only highly productive but also a particularly English way of word-building. It is explained by the analytical structure of Modern English and by the simplicity of paradigms of English parts of speech. A great number of one-syllable words is another factor that facilitates conversion.


Typical semantic relations within a converted pair

I. Verbs converted from noun (denominal verbs) denote:

1. action characteristic of the object
ape (n) — to ape (v)

butcher (n) — to butcher (v)

2. instrumental use of the object
screw (n) — to screw (v)
whip (n) — to whip (v)

3. acquisition or addition of the object
fish (n) — to fish (v)

II. Nouns converted from verbs (deverbal nouns) denote:

1. instance of the action
to jump (v) -jump (n)
to move (v) — move (n)

2. agent of the action
to help (v) - help (n)

to switch (v) - switch (n)

3. place of action

to drive (v) — drive (n) to walk (v) - walk (n)

4. object or result of the action
to peel (v) -peel (n)

to find (v) —find (n)

The shortening of words involves the shortening of both words and word-groups. Distinction should be made between shortening of a word in written speech (graphical abbreviation) and in the sphere of oral intercourse (lexical abbreviation). Lexical abbreviations may be used both in written and in oral speech. Lexical abbreviation is the process of forming a word out of the initial elements (letters, morphemes) of a word combination by a simultaneous operation of shortening and compounding.

Clipping consists in cutting off two or more syllables of a word. Words that have been shortened at the end are called apocope (doc - doctor, vet - veterinary). Words that have been shortened at the beginning are called aphaeresis (phone-telephone). Words in which some syllables or sounds have been omitted from the middle are called syncope (ma 'm - madam, specs - spectacles). Sometimes a combination of these types is observed (tec - detective, frig - refrigerator).

Blendings (blends, fusions or portmanteau words) may be defined as formation that combine two words that include the letters or sounds they have in common as a connecting element (slimnastics = slim+gymnastics; mimsy= miserable+flimsy). The process of formation is also called telescoping. The analysis into immediate constituents is helpful in so far as it permits the definition of a blend as a word with the first constituent represented by a stem whose final part may be missing, and the second constituent by a stem of which the initial part is missing. The second constituent when used in a series of similar blends may turn into a suffix. A new suffix -on; is, for instance, well under way in such terms as nylon, rayon, silon, formed from the final element of cotton. This process seems to be very active in present-day English word-formation numerous new words have been coined recently: Reaganomics, Irangate, blackploitation, workaholic.

Back formation is a semi-productive type of word-building. It is mostly active in compound verbs, and is combined with word-composition. The basis of this type of word-building is compound words and word-combinations having verbal nouns, gerunds, participles or other derivative nouns as their second component {rush-development, finger-printing, well-wisher). These compounds and word-combinations are wrongly considered to be formed from compound verbs which are nonexistent in reality. This gives a rise to such verbs as: to rush-develop, to finger-print, to well-wish.

Onomatopoeia (sound-imitation, echoism) is the naming of an action or thing by a more or less exact reproduction of a natural sound associated with it {babble, crow, twitter). Semantically, according to the source of sound, onomatopoeic words fall into a few very definite groups. Many verbs denote sounds produced by human being in the process of communication or in expressing their feelings {babble, chatter, giggle, murmur). There are sounds produced by animals, birds and insects {cackle, croak, crow, hiss). Besides the verbs imitating the sound of water {bubble, splash), there are others imitating the noise of metallic things {clink, tinkle) or forceful motion {clash, crash, whisk).

Sentence-condensation is the formation of new words by substantivizing the whole locutions (forget-me-not, merry-go-round).

Sound and stress interchange (distinctive stress, the shift of stress). The essence of it is that to form a new word the stress of the word is shifted to a new syllable. It mostly occurs in nouns and verbs. Some phonetic changes may accompany the shift of the stress {export-to export, increase - to increase, break — breach).

Date: 2015-01-02; view: 2836

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