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Word Formation In English.pdf

Word building processes are highly common both in English and in German, which in fact share a common history. The two languages make extensive use of various word building processes to enrich their vocabularies. However, despite the certain similarities between the two languages analyzed in this paper, their different paths of evolution, and implicitly the various lexical influences exerted upon them along time, have determined distinctive features when it comes to the process of word building. Therefore, this paper intends to present a contrastive analysis between the various means of word formation in English and German, supported by examples for each of the processes analyzed.

Word Formation in English.pdf


In linguistics, morphology (/mɔːrˈfɒlədʒi/[1]) is the study of words, how they are formed, and their relationship to other words in the same language.[2][3] It analyzes the structure of words and parts of words such as stems, root words, prefixes, and suffixes. Morphology also looks at parts of speech, intonation and stress, and the ways context can change a word's pronunciation and meaning. Morphology differs from morphological typology, which is the classification of languages based on their use of words,[4] and lexicology, which is the study of words and how they make up a language's vocabulary.[5]

While words, along with clitics, are generally accepted as being the smallest units of syntax, in most languages, if not all, many words can be related to other words by rules that collectively describe the grammar for that language. For example, English speakers recognize that the words dog and dogs are closely related, differentiated only by the plurality morpheme "-s", only found bound to noun phrases. Speakers of English, a fusional language, recognize these relations from their innate knowledge of English's rules of word formation. They infer intuitively that dog is to dogs as cat is to cats; and, in similar fashion, dog is to dog catcher as dish is to dishwasher. By contrast, Classical Chinese has very little morphology, using almost exclusively unbound morphemes ("free" morphemes) and it relies on word order to convey meaning. (Most words in modern Standard Chinese ["Mandarin"], however, are compounds and most roots are bound.) These are understood as grammars that represent the morphology of the language. The rules understood by a speaker reflect specific patterns or regularities in the way words are formed from smaller units in the language they are using, and how those smaller units interact in speech. In this way, morphology is the branch of linguistics that studies patterns of word formation within and across languages and attempts to formulate rules that model the knowledge of the speakers of those languages.

Phonological and orthographic modifications between a base word and its origin may be partial to literacy skills. Studies have indicated that the presence of modification in phonology and orthography makes morphologically complex words harder to understand and that the absence of modification between a base word and its origin makes morphologically complex words easier to understand. Morphologically complex words are easier to comprehend when they include a base word.[6]

Polysynthetic languages, such as Chukchi, have words composed of many morphemes. For example, the Chukchi word "təmeyŋəlevtpəγtərkən", meaning "I have a fierce headache", is composed of eight morphemes t-ə-meyŋ-ə-levt-pəγt-ə-rkən that may be glossed. The morphology of such languages allows for each consonant and vowel to be understood as morphemes, while the grammar of the language indicates the usage and understanding of each morpheme.

The term "word" has no well-defined meaning.[10] Instead, two related terms are used in morphology: lexeme and word-form. Generally, a lexeme is a set of inflected word-forms that is often represented with the citation form in small capitals.[11] For instance, the lexeme .mw-parser-output span.smallcaps-smallerfont-size:85%eat contains the word-forms eat, eats, eaten, and ate. Eat and eats are thus considered different word-forms belonging to the same lexeme eat. Eat and Eater, on the other hand, are different lexemes, as they refer to two different concepts.

Here are examples from other languages of the failure of a single phonological word to coincide with a single morphological word form. In Latin, one way to express the concept of 'NOUN-PHRASE1 and NOUN-PHRASE2' (as in "apples and oranges") is to suffix '-que' to the second noun phrase: "apples oranges-and". An extreme level of the theoretical quandary posed by some phonological words is provided by the Kwak'wala language.[b] In Kwak'wala, as in a great many other languages, meaning relations between nouns, including possession and "semantic case", are formulated by affixes, instead of by independent "words". The three-word English phrase, "with his club", in which 'with' identifies its dependent noun phrase as an instrument and 'his' denotes a possession relation, would consist of two words or even one word in many languages. Unlike most other languages, Kwak'wala semantic affixes phonologically attach not to the lexeme they pertain to semantically but to the preceding lexeme. Consider the following example (in Kwak'wala, sentences begin with what corresponds to an English verb):[c]

That is, to a speaker of Kwak'wala, the sentence does not contain the "words" 'him-the-otter' or 'with-his-club' Instead, the markers -i-da (PIVOT-'the'), referring to "man", attaches not to the noun bəgwanəma ("man") but to the verb; the markers -χ-a (ACCUSATIVE-'the'), referring to otter, attach to bəgwanəma instead of to q'asa ('otter'), etc. In other words, a speaker of Kwak'wala does not perceive the sentence to consist of these phonological words:

A central publication on this topic is the volume edited by Dixon and Aikhenvald (2002), examining the mismatch between prosodic-phonological and grammatical definitions of "word" in various Amazonian, Australian Aboriginal, Caucasian, Eskimo, Indo-European, Native North American, West African, and sign languages. Apparently, a wide variety of languages make use of the hybrid linguistic unit clitic, possessing the grammatical features of independent words but the prosodic-phonological lack of freedom of bound morphemes. The intermediate status of clitics poses a considerable challenge to linguistic theory.[12]

Given the notion of a lexeme, it is possible to distinguish two kinds of morphological rules. Some morphological rules relate to different forms of the same lexeme, but other rules relate to different lexemes. Rules of the first kind are inflectional rules, but those of the second kind are rules of word formation.[13] The generation of the English plural dogs from dog is an inflectional rule, and compound phrases and words like dog catcher or dishwasher are examples of word formation. Informally, word formation rules form "new" words (more accurately, new lexemes), and inflection rules yield variant forms of the "same" word (lexeme).

The distinction between inflection and word formation is not at all clear-cut. There are many examples for which linguists fail to agree whether a given rule is inflection or word formation. The next section will attempt to clarify the distinction.

Word formation includes a process in which one combines two complete words, but inflection allows the combination of a suffix with a verb to change the latter's form to that of the subject of the sentence. For example: in the present indefinite, 'go' is used with subject I/we/you/they and plural nouns, but third-person singular pronouns (he/she/it) and singular nouns causes 'goes' to be used. The '-es' is therefore an inflectional marker that is used to match with its subject. A further difference is that in word formation, the resultant word may differ from its source word's grammatical category, but in the process of inflection, the word never changes its grammatical category.

There is a further distinction between two primary kinds of morphological word formation: derivation and compounding. The latter is a process of word formation that involves combining complete word forms into a single compound form. Dog catcher, therefore, is a compound, as both dog and catcher are complete word forms in their own right but are subsequently treated as parts of one form. Derivation involves affixing bound (non-independent) forms to existing lexemes, but the addition of the affix derives a new lexeme. The word independent, for example, is derived from the word dependent by using the prefix in-, and dependent itself is derived from the verb depend. There is also word formation in the processes of clipping in which a portion of a word is removed to create a new one, blending in which two parts of different words are blended into one, acronyms in which each letter of the new word represents a specific word in the representation (NATO for North Atlantic Treaty Organization), borrowing in which words from one language are taken and used in another, and coinage in which a new word is created to represent a new object or concept.[14]

A linguistic paradigm is the complete set of related word forms associated with a given lexeme. The familiar examples of paradigms are the conjugations of verbs and the declensions of nouns. Also, arranging the word forms of a lexeme into tables, by classifying them according to shared inflectional categories such as tense, aspect, mood, number, gender or case, organizes such. For example, the personal pronouns in English can be organized into tables by using the categories of person (first, second, third); number (singular vs. plural); gender (masculine, feminine, neuter); and case (nominative, oblique, genitive). 041b061a72


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