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Derivational analysis and basic units of derivational system.

Derivationally all words form two structural classes: simple, or non-derived words and complex words or derivatives. Non-derived are words which cannot be segmented into ICs. Morphemically it may be monomorphic when its stem coincides with the free root-morpheme, e.g., hand, come, blue, etc., orpolymorphic when it is a sequence of bound morphemes, e.g., anxious, theory, public, etc. Derivatives are secondary, motivated units, made up as a rule of two ICs, e.g., friendliness, schoolmasterish, etc. The ICs are brought together according to specific rules of order and arrangement preconditioned by the system of the language. It follows that all derivatives are marked by the fixed order of their ICs.

The aim of derivational analysis is to study the nature, type and arrangement of the ICs of the word. In other words, the derivational analysis aims at establishing structural and semantic patterns words are built on, i.e. its derivative structure. Though the derivative structure of the word is closely connected with its morphemic structure and often coincides with it, it differs from it in principle.

The basic elementary units of the derivative structure of words are: derivational bases, derivational affixes and derivation patterns.

A derivational base is the part; of the word to which another base or an affix is added to make up a new word. Structurally derivational bases fall into three classes: 1) bases that coincide with morphological stems, e.g., duti/ful, dutiful/ly; day-dream, day-dream/er; 2) bases that coincide with word-forms, e.g., un/smiling, un/known; 3) bases the coincide with word-groups of different degrees of stability, e.g., second-rate/ness, flat-waist/ed, etc.

The first class, i.e. bases that coincide with morphological stems, make the largest group. Bases of this class are functionally and semantically distinct from all kinds of stems. Functionally, the morphological stem is the part of the word which is the starting point for its forms, the stem remains unchanged through its word-forms, e.g., filmstar (0), filmstar(s), filmstar('s), filmstar(s'). A derivational base is the starting point for different words, e.g. the nominal base hand gives rise to nouns (hand-bag, handwriting, shorthand), to adjectives (handy), verbs (to hand).

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Derivational affixes are ICs of numerous derivatives in all parts of speech. Derivational affixes differ from affixational morphemes in their function within the word, in their distribution and in their meaning.

Derivational affixes possess two basic functions: 1) stem-building which is common to all affixational morphemes: derivational and non-derivational. E.g., "ic-" in public, comic, music; 2) word-building which is the function of building a lexical unit of a structural and semantic type different from the one represented in the source unit, e.g., historic, economic, classic.

Both bases and affixes are combined according to a set of rules known as derivational patterns. A derivational patternis a scheme on which words are made up. The pattern consists of two parts: the left and the right. In the left-hand part we have the base and another base or and affix, and in the right-hand part we have the resulting word. E.g.:

im/person/a/liz/ation – pf + R + 3sf (morphological composition)

impersonalize / ation – v + sf = N (derivational pattern)


en/courage/ment – pf + R + sf (morph. pat.); V +sf = N (deriv. pat.)

un/employ/ment – pf + R + sf (morph. pat.); pf + n = N(deriv. pat.)


Morphemically they are the same, but derivationally they are different: the 1st – suffixal formation, the 2nd – prefixal formation.


The derivational bases, derivational affixes and derivational patterns are the micro units of the derivational system of the English language; the macro units of this system are the derivational row of words and the derivational cluster. These two units comprise words built on the same or different derivational patterns.


to father father fatherhood fatherless fatherly
- mother - - -
- brother - - -


Vertically we have words with the same derivational element (n + less = A); these words are called a derivational row (set):it is a group of words built on the same derivational pattern, the words possess the identical affixal morpheme, the words have the same structural meaning, though each of them has a meaning of its own (in the given example the common derivational meaning – devoid of smth denoted by the base).

Horizontally we have words containing the same root and built on different patterns; these are the so-called derivational clusters. A derivational cluster (DC) is a complex unity of words possessing the same root-morpheme but built on a number of patterns and characterized by specific organization.



It is not an abstract theory, it helps to understand the meaning of the new words.



3. Affixation. Classification of affixes.

Affixation is generally defined as the formation of words by adding derivational affixes to stems. On the morphemic level every word formed by means of affixation has only one root-morpheme, which is its semantic center and one or more derivational affixes. For instance, the word displease has only one root-morpheme and one derivational affix – the prefix dis- . On the derivational level derived words comprise a primary stem, the stem being in itself either a simple, a derived or a compound stem and a derivational affix. For instance, violonist = n + -ist (a simple stem), friendliness = (n + -ly) + -ness (a derived stem), chairmanship = (n + n) + -ship ( a compound stem).

Prefixation is the formation of new words with the help of prefixes. Prefixes are affixes which precede the root. There are about fifty prefixes in Modern English. Prefixes may function in more than one part of speech, prefixes modify the lexical meaning of the stem, but they seldom affect the lexico-grammatical meaning of the word, they don’t change the part of speech of the word.

Prefixes may be classified from synchronical and diachronical approach.

Synchronically prefixes can be classified in different ways.

Semantically prefixes are classified according to the meaning they convey to the derived word. There are some groups of prefixes:

1. Negative prefixes are prefixes of negative meaning such as: un-, in-, dis-, ir-, im-. E.g.: ungrateful, incorrect, irreligious, immaterial. Prefix in- occurs in different phonetic shapes depending on initial sound of the stem it is affixed to: il- (before [l]), ir- (before [r]), im- (before [p, m]), in- in all other cases, e.g. illegal, irrational, improbable, immobile, inactive.

2. Prefixes denoting reversal of an action such as: un-, re-. E.g.: rewrite, unfasten.

3. Prefixes denoting order and time relation such as: fore-, pre-, post-, over- E.g.: foresee, pre-historic, post-position, overspread.

4. Prefixes denoting locative relation such as: sub-, inter-, trans, super-. E.g.: subway, transformation, superstructure.

5. Prefixes denoting pejoration such as: mis-, pseudo-. E.g.: misprint.

16. Prefixes denoting oppositions such as: contra-, anti-, counter-. E.g.: contradiction, antipode.

Stylistically prefixes may be classified into neutral and coloured.

Neutral prefixes occur in all styles of speech. E.g.: over-, un-, pre-, dis-, sub-, etc.

Coloured prefixes are used only in particular style. E.g.: super- is peculiar to the style of scientific prose.

The degree of productivity is shown by the number of words with this prefix. This is the ability of prefixes to make new words. Productive prefixes can make new words in Modern English. E.g.: un-, in-, re- etc. Unproductive prefixes don’t make new words. E.g.: be-, de-, arch-, co- etc.

Type of base to which prefixes are added. Some prefixes can combine with the stem of only one part of speech.

Denominal prefixes are used only with the stem of nouns: ex-, arch-, dys-, per-. E.g.: ex-president, dysgarmony, archbishop.

Deverbal prefixes are used only with the stem of verb: be-, de-, en-, out-, re-. E.g.: rewrite, belong.

Deadjectival prefixes are used only with the stem of adjective: un-, ir-. E.g.: uneasy, irregular.

But there are some prefixes which are used with nouns, verbs, adjectives: co-, contra-, mis-, post-, pre-, sub-, over- etc. E.g.: co-operate (verb), co-operation (noun), co-operative (adjective).

Class prefixes form. There are prefixes which can transpose parts of speech but they are much fewer in number. Prefixes which form verbs: be- : belittle, befoul, belong; de- : decamp, debus;

en- : enfree, enlarge.

Suffixation is the formation of words with the help of suffixes. Suffixes usually modify the lexical meaning of stems and transfer words to a different part of speech. Chains of suffixes occurring in derived words having two and more suffixal morphemes are sometimes referred to in Lexicography as compound suffixes. Such is the case, for instance, with the suffixes: -ably = -able + -ly (e.g. profitably, unreasonably); -ically = -ic + -al + -ly (e.g. musically, critically); -ation = -ate + -ion (e.g. fascination, isolation) and some others.

There are different classifications of suffixes in linguistic literature, as suffixes may be divided into several groups according to different principles.

The first principle of classification that, one might say, suggests itself, is the part of speech formed. With the scope of the part-of-speech classification suffixes naturally fall into several groups such as:

1) noun-suffixes, i.e. those forming or occurring in nouns (e.g. –er, -dom, -ness, -ation, etc. cf. Teacher, brightness, justification, etc.)

2) adjective-suffixes, i.e. those forming or occurring in adjectives (e.g. –able, -les, -ful, –ic, -ous, etc. cf. Agreeable, careless, doubtful, poetic, courageous)

3) verb-suffixes, (e.g. –en, -fy, -ize, etc. cf. Satisfy, harmonize, etc.)

4) adverb-suffixes (e.g. –ly, -ward, cf. Quickly, eastward, etc.)

A classification of suffixes may also be based on the criterion of sense expressed by the suffix. Proceeding from this principle suffixes are classified into various groups within the bound of a certain part of speech. For instance, noun-suffixes fall into those denoting:

1) the agent of verbal action (e.g., -er, -ant, etc cf. Baker, dancer, defendant).

2) nationality (e.g. –an, -ian, -ese, etc. cf. Arabian, Russian Chinese, etc.).

3) collectivity (e.g. –age, -dom, –ery (-ry), etc. cf. freightage, officialdom, peasantry, etc.).

4) diminutiveness (e.g. –i.e, -let, -ling, etc. cf. Birdie, cloudlet, wolfling, etc.).

The usage of diminutive in English, i.e. words describing small specimen of the things denoted by corresponding primary words is rather restricted. Even those words that are usually called “diminutive” are at the same time adjectives, i.e. they express the feeling with which the person or thing described is regarded.

The diminutive suffixes: -ling, -let, (-et, -kin), -in, -ette, are not frequent.

The suffix –ling has diminutive force in some names of a young animals: catling, duckling; and young plants: oakling, seedling.

Most personal nouns with the suffix –ling are expressive of law estimation or contempt, e.g. dukeling, kingling.

The suffix -let is more frequently added to names of things than to name of persons. Examples of the former are: booklet, eyelet. Words in –let denoting people, e.g. princelet, kinglet, usually have derogatory meaning, though less strongly than derivatives with the suffix –ling.

The suffix –kin with diminutive or endearing force, is today used only a jocular formative with a depreciative tingle, e.g. lordkin, boykin, etc. The suffix

–ette is the French –ette, e.g. novelette, leaderette – short editorial paragraph; recent American coinages are: kitchenette - miniature kitchen in modern flats.

Suffixes may also be classified into various groups according to a lexical-grammatical character of the stem the suffix is usually added to. Proceeding from this principle one may divide suffixes into:

1) those added to verbal-stems, (e.g. –er, -ing, -ment, -able, etc. cf. Speaker, reading, agreement, suitable, etc.);

2) those added to a noun-stem (e.g. –less, -ish, -ful, -ist, -some, etc. cf. Handless, childish, mouthful, violinist, troublesome, etc);

3) those added to adjective-stem (e.g. –en, -ly, -ish, -ness, etc. cf. Blacken, slowly, reddish, brightness, etc.);

Still another classification of suffixes may be worked out if one examines them from the angle of stylistic reference. Recent research has revealed that derivational affixes, suffixes in particular, are characterized by quite a definite stylistic reference falling into two basic classes:

1) those characterized by neutral stylistic reference such as: -able, -er, -ing;

2) those having a certain stylistic value such as –oid, -(i)form, -aceous, -tron.

Suffixes with neutral stylistic reference may occur in words of different lexico-stylistic layers. Cf. Agreeable/steerable (e.g. steerable spaceship), etc. As for suffixes of the second class, they are restricted in use to quite definite lexico-stylistic layers of words, in particular to terms, cf. Rhomboid, asteroid, crustaceous, cyclotron, etc.

Suffixes are subdivided into monosemantic and polysemantic. The noun-suffix –er is used to coin words denoting in particular (1) persons following some special trade or profession cf. Baker, driver, etc., (2) persons doing a certain action at the moment in question, cf. Packer, chooser, etc., (3) device, tool, implement, cf. Blotter, boiler, etc.

Many homonymic derivational suffixes can be found among those forming both different parts of speech and the same part of speech. For instance the adverb-suffix –ly added to adjective-stems is homonymous to the adjective-suffix –ly affixed to noun –stems, cf. Quickly, slowly, and lovely, friendly.

Distinction should also be made between terminal and non-terminal suffixes. Terminal suffixes take only the final position in a word, such as: the nounal suffixes –al (refusal, survival), -hood, -ness, -ship, -kin, -let, -ling.

Non-terminal suffixes can be followed by other suffixes, e.g. lead-leader-leadership, love-lovely-loveliness, etc.

In the Ukrainian language the suffixation is very productive way of word

formation. Suffixes transfer the word to another part of speech. Usually it occurs

in the noun and adjective formation, rarely in verb and other part of speech formation.

досліджувати – дослідник

правда – правдивий

зима – зимувати

In some cases suffixes do not shift word to another part of speech.

злодій – злодюга

дід – дідуга

дівка – дівуля

In Ukrainian there is such kind of word-formation as the so called “zero suffixation” – the formation of new word without adding derivational affix. It may occur in:

1) Verbal nouns – виробити® виріб, написати ®напис

2) Adjectival nouns - зелений®зелень, молодий®молодь

3) Some adjectives – золото®золотий, вдова®вдовий

4) Some numerals - сто®сотий, п’ять®п’ятий

5) Some nouns- кум®кума, онук®онука

In Ukrainian besides prefixation and suffixation exist three more ways of

word-formation. They are postfixation, suffixation-postfixation and


Postfixation is used to form verbs with the help of postfix –ся.

сушити – сушитися

лити – литися

Suffixation – postfixation is the formation of words by adding suffix and

postfix to stems. Usually it occurs in verb-formation from noun and adjective stems.

колос – колоситися

роса – роситися

гордий – гордитися


Prefixation – postfixation is the way of word – formation when prefix and postfix are added to the stem.

літати - злітатися

бігти - розбігтися

читати - вчитатися


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