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Affixation and Conversion.

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default Affixation and Conversion.

Post by anya Thu Feb 24, 2011 7:11 pm

Affixation and Conversion.

Affixation is forming new words by adding affixes to different types of derivative bases.
Types of derivational bases:
- bases that coincide with morphemes (morphological stamps) – dutiful
- bases that coincide with grammatical word-forms – unknown
- bases the coincide with word-groups – second-rateness
Derivative affixes are highly selective (the choice depends on etymological, phonological, semantic and structural properties of the base).

Classification of derivational affixes:
1. Functional classification:
- convertive (class-changing)
- non-convertive (class-maintaining)
2. Productivity and activity:
- productive – unproductive
- active – non-active
- high-frequency – low-frequency
3. Etymological:
- native (-less; -full; -hood; -dom; -ship)
- borrowed (-able; -ism; -ise; demi-; semi-; dis-)
4. Distributional meaning:
- suffixes – are mostly convertive (-hood; -ship; -ish – non-convertive).
Are classified according to the part of speech that they form (noun-forming, adjective-forming, verb-forming, adverb-forming). And according to the derivative base with which they are used (denominal, deverbal, deadjectivial).
- prefixes – are mostly borrowed, half converted. The same classification.

Conversion – is applied to the words identical in their phonetic but referring to different parts of speech (to jump – a jump).
In conversion a new word is formed by changing the part-of-speech meaning and properties of the derivative-base word which is accomplished by semantic modifications.
Conversion is often called affixless word-derivation (zero derivation) – root-formation.
Some linguists believe that conversion is purely a functional change. Others think that here we deal with the case of polysemy. Most linguists think it to be a case of lexical-grammatical homonymy, e.g. a slave – to slave – are semantically connected.
As a rule we deal with simple words, although there are a few exceptions, e.g. wireless — to wireless.

How to decide which of the words is the derivative base and which is the derived word?
1. Semantic criterion – is based on the known fact that in simple non-derived words the part-of-speech meaning coincides with the lexical meaning of the root morpheme.
2. Typical semantic relations between the words in a conversation pair. It has been established that there are certain semantic patterns according to which a)-verbs are converted from nouns and vise versa b)-nouns are converted from words.
a. Denominal verbs – usually denote: acquisition or addition of the object denoted by the noun (a fish – to fish); removal (to dust); the functional use (to pocket, to knife); functional characteristics (to ape – to act like an ape); function (to father).
b. Deverbals – usually denote a separate instance of the action (to jump – a jump); the agent (to bore – a bore); the place of action (to walk – a walk); an object or the result of the action (to find – a find)
Conversion is extremely productive means of word-formation.


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