The aim of this work is to teach students to be word-conscious, to be able to guessthe meaning of words they come across from the meaning of morphemes, to beable to recognize the origin of this or that lexical unit.
The task of the work is to show the ways of word building, i.e. affixation,suffixation, compounds, statives, vowel and consonant alternations and conversion.
Topical interest. This work is of topical interest because English is a livinggrowing language. The system of its sounds is subjected to various changes, thewords and word combinations undergo changes. The most noticible and mostappreciable transformations occur in words that form part of English, that is in itsvocabulary.
It is a matter of common knowledge that the vocabulary of any language is never stable, but is constantly changing, growing and decaying. The changes in the vocabulary of the language are due both to linguistic and extra-linguistic causes, which are determined by the social nature of the language.The intense development of science and technology has lately given birth to a great number of new words such as ‘computer’, ‘cyclotron’,’radar’, ‘psycholinguistics’, etc.; the conquest and research of outer spacestarted by the Soviet people contributed words like ‘sputnik’,‘lunokhod’,’babymoon’,’moon-car’,’spaceship’. It is significant that the suffix –nik occurring in the noun‘sputnik’ is freely applied to new words of various kinds, e.g. ‘flopnik’,’mousenik’, ‘woofnik’,etc.
The ways in which new words are formed, and the factors which govern their acceptance into the language, are generally taken very much for granted by the average speaker to understand a word, it is necessary to know how it is constructed, whether it is simple or complex, that is whether ornot it can be broken down into two or more parts.We are able to use a word which is new to us when we find out what object or notion it denotes. Somewords, of course, are more understandable than others.
Unfathomable =negative prefix + adjective forming suffix =cannot be fathomed.Knowing the pattern, we can easily guess the meaning of a word although there are lots of other words which look similar, for instance, unfashionable and unfavourable for which this analysis will not work. We accept as quite natural the fact that although we can use the verbs ‘to pipe’, ‘to drum’ and ‘to trumpet’, we cannot use the verbs ‘to piano’ and ‘to violin’.
An unabridged English dictionary contains about 600 000 words
The bad news is that even if you have an
excellent vocabulary, you know only a
small percentage of those words. The good
news, however, is that you can increase
your vocabulary throughout your life. The
even better news is that once you have
learnt a new word, it is yours for life. It will
always be stored away, ready to be recalled
the next time you have a conversation or
write a letter or composition.
Some words have many different meanings.
Let’s take, for example, the
word ‘titanic’ in the following
sentences. 1. The Titanic sank in
the North Atlantic on an April
night in 1912 after hitting an
iceberg. 2. The enemies were
locked in a titanic struggle. You
can tell from the first sentence
that Titanic is a ship and from the
second sentence that ‘titanic’
means “having great size, force
Context clues can help us learn the meaning of a word. The context of a word is the sentence, the surrounding words, or the situation in whichthe word appears.There are several types of them.1. Definition or restatement is defined in the sentence ,e.g.We read a collection of fables, short stories that teach a lesson.2. The meaning of the word is made clear by the example, e.g.Bombay is a populous city; one way the Indian government hastried to ease the overcrowding there is to build a second Bombay.3. Comparison. e.g. Joseph has always been amiable – almost as friendly as his older brother Mark.( As introduces a comparison between Joseph’s disposition and that of his older brother.)4. Contrast. e.g. The mayor’s popularity, soared to its highest point,but the city council’s dropped to its nadir. ( A contrast is drawnbetween the highest point of the mayor’s popularity and the lowest point, the nadir, of the city council’s.
Means of word-forming
English is a living, growing language; new words are
constantly being added. English words come from many
sources. Some come from the dead language Latin, and
others come from ancient Greek. Knowing the words and
parts of words borrowed from Latin and Greek can help us
understand the meaning of many English words. In general,
English words are of two kinds:
those that can be
analysed into smaller
those that cannot
time, face, feel
The words of the first kind, which can be divided, are made up of parts called
They offer clues
to the meaning of the words.
is the part of a word
that carries the basic meaning.
is one or more syllables
placed in front
of the root to modify the meaning of the root
or to form a new word.
PREFIXES HAVE BROAD GENERAL MEANINGS LIKE‘NOT’, ‘UNDER’, ‘AGAINST’ AND ANY OF THEM MAY APPEARIN HUNDREDS OF DIFFERENT WORDS. BECAUSE PREFIXESOFTEN HAVE MORE THAN ONE MEANING, THEY CAN BE HARD TO INTERPRET.
The main function of prefixes
is to change
the lexical meaning of the same part of speech.
There are 51 prefixes in the system of Modern English word formation.
In Modern English, suffixation is mostly characteristic of noun and adjectiveformation, while prefixation is mostly typical of verb formation. The distinction alsorests on the role different types of meaning play in the semantic structure of thesuffix and the prefix. The part-of -speech meaning has a much greater significancein suffixes as compared to prefixes which possess it in a lesser degree.Due to it, a prefix may be confined to one part of speech as, for example, enslave,encage, unbutton ,or may function in more than one part of speech as over- inover kind, overfeed, overestimation.
Unlike prefixes, suffixes as a rule function in any one part of speech often forming
a derived stem of a different part of speech as compared with that of the base,e.g. careless - care; suitable - suit, etc. Furthermore, it is necessary to point outthat a suffix closely knit together with a base forms a fusion retaining less of itsindependence that a prefix which is as a general rule more independent semantically,e.g. reading- 'the act of one who reads'; 'ability to read'; andre-read — 'to read again'.
There are two kinds of suffixes:
-s, -ed, -ing
grammatical provide a grammatical signal of some kind but don’t greatlyalter the basic meaning of the word and those that, by being added, createnew words. The endingsare suffixesof the first kind. Grammatical suffixes are important in grammar, but in vocabulary we are more concerned with the second kind of suffixes –those that make new words – derivational suffixes.
Derivational suffixes can be classified according to the parts of speech.
STATE, RANK, CONDITION
ACT, STATE, QUALITY
WARMTH, WIDTH, GROWTH
HUNTER, DANCER, READER
Foreign suffixes (Latin, French, Greek)
PROCESS, STATE, RANK
- ANCE (ENCE)
ACT, CONDITION, FACT
Classification of suffixes
ONE THAT DOES
ACTION, STATE, RESULT
WAITRESS, LIONESS, TIGRESS
STATE, QUALITY, CONDITION
DOER, OFFICE, ACTION
QUALITY, STATE, RESULT
STATE OF BEING
FULL OF, MARKED BY
LIKE, OF THE NATURE OF
APT TO, SHOWING
IN THE STYLE OF, LIKE
OLD ENGLISH SUFFIXES
CAUSE TO BE
BECOME, FORM, TREAT
BECOME, GROW, CONTINUE
MAKE, CAUSE, CAUSE TO
DO, MAKE, PERFORM
MAKE, CAUSE TO BE, TREAT WITH
PIGLET, LEAFLET, SRARLET, BRACELET, STREAMLET
- ETTE, - ET
FAMILIAR FORM (USED IN
FAMILY, WITH CHILDREN)
Daddy, Billy, doggy
- CLE, CULE
ARTICLE, PARTICLE, GLOBULE
Suffixes indicating smallness or lessening
When speaking about the structure of words stems should
also be mentioned. The stem is the part of the word
which remains unchanged throughout the paradigm
of the word. Stems have not only the lexical meaning but
also grammatical meaning. They can be noun stems, adjective
stems and verb stems. Sometimes it is rather difficult to
distinguish between simple and derived words, especially in
the cases of phonetic borrowings from other languages and
of native languages with blocked morphemes, e.g. “cranberry”,
Compound nouns are nouns built from two or more roots.
They often have one stress. The meaning of a compound
often differs from the meaning of its elements.
Compounding- is one of the productive types of word-formation in Modern English.
Compound words are inseparable vocabulary units.
They are formally and semantically dependent on the
constituent bases and the semantic relations between them
which mirror the relations between the motivating units.
The main types of compound nouns are as follows:
apple-tree, snowball, newspaper
adjective stem+ noun stem
blackbird, whitehorn, blackleg
In Modern English there are lots of word combinations of the type price rise, wage freeze, steel helmet, sand castle.
Grammarians can’t come to the conclusion whether adjectives can be formed by means of conversion from nouns.
The causes of shortening can be linguistic and extra-linguistic. Abbreviation doesn’t change the part-of-speech meaning.
Examples: prof=professor, to rev=to revolve, comfy=comfortable.
Such words as asleep, abed, ablaze, afraid, akin, alive have
been named adjectives, though they can’t
be attributes in a sentence, and though their meaning
doesn’t seem to be that of property. The a- means on,
in or at. Statives are invariable. They often show a
temporary state rather than a permanent one. They
most usually follow a link-verb (was asleep) or they
can be used like a participle, but they can’t go before
the noun they modify. In the sentence a stative is most
usually a predicative (he fell asleep).
Conversion, one of the principal ways of forming words in Modern
English is highly productive in replenishing the English word-stock
with new words. This term refers to the numerous cases of words
belonging to different parts of speech. This may be illustrated by
the following cases: work – to work; love – to love; paper –
to paper. As a rule we deal with simple words. There is a certain
difference on the morphological level between various parts of
speech, mostly between nouns and verbs. What serves a word-
building means? The answer is a paradigm. As it is a morphologi-
cal category, conversion can be described as a morphological
way of forming words.
Blends are words formed from a word-group or two synonyms.
In blends two ways of word-building are combined: abbreviation
and composition. To form a blend we clip the end of the first
component and the beginning of the second component. As a
result we have a compound –shortened word. One of the first
blends in English was the word “smog” from two synonyms:
smoke and fog. Mostly blends are formed from a word-group:
Cinemadict – cinema addict,informecial – informational commercialslimnastics – slimming gymnasticsslanguist – slang linguistacromania – acronym maniachunnel – channel, canalmegalog – magazine cataloguedramedy – drama comedyfaction – fact fiction – fiction based on real factsmedicare – medical caresocialite – social elite