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Productive ways of word formation. Principal ways of word derivation.

Word formation is the creation of new words from elements already existing in the language. Every language has its own structural patterns of word formation.

Morphemes are subdivided into root - morphemes and affixational morphemes.

The root morpheme is the lexical center of the word. It is the semantic nucleus of a word with which no grammatical properties of the word are connected, Affixational morphemes include inflections and derivational affixes.

Inflection is an affixal morpheme which carries only grammatical meaning thus relevant only for the formation of word-forms (books, opened, strong-er).

Some of the ways of forming words in present-day English can be resorted to for the creation of new words whenever the occasion demands ó these are called prÓduŮtive ways of forming words, other ways of forming words cannot now produce new words, and these are commonly termed non-productive or unproductive. For instance, affixation has been a productive way of forming words ever since the Old English period; on the other hand, sound-interchange must have been at one time a word-building means but in Modern English, as has been mentioned above, its function is actually only to distinguish between different classes and forms of words.

It follows that productivity of word-building ways, individual derivational patterns and derivational affixes is understood as their ability of making new words which all who speak English find no difficulty in understanding, in particular their ability to create what are called ÓŮcasional words or nonce-wÓrds

Recent investigations seem to prove however that productivity of derivational means is relative in many respects. Moreover there are no absolutely productive means; derivational patterns and derivational affixes possess different degrees of productivity. Therefore it is important that conditions favouring productivity and the degree of productivity of a particular pattern or affix should be established. All derivational patterns experience both structural and semantic constraints. The fewer are the constraints the higher is the degree of productivity, the greater is the number of new words built on it. The two general constraints imposed on all derivational patterns are ó the part of speech in which the pattern functions and the meaning attached to it which conveys the regular semantic correlation between the two classes of words. It follows that each part of speech is characterised by a set of productive derivational patterns peculiar to it. Three degrees of productivity are distinguished for derivational patterns and individual derivational affixes: l) highly-productive, 2) productive or semi-productive and 3) non-productive.

Productivity of derivational patterns and affixes should not be identified with frequency of occurrence in speech, although there may be some interrelation between them. Frequency of occurrence is characterised by the fact that a great number of words containing a given derivational affix are often used in speech, in particular in various texts. Productivity is characterised by the ability of a given suffix to make new words.


Date: 2015-01-29; view: 3845

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