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The delimitation between productive and non-productive ways and means of word-formation as stated above is not, however, accepted by all linguists without reserve. Some linguists consider it necessary to define the term productivity of a word-building means more accurately. They hold the view that productive ways and means of word-formation are only those that can be used for the formation of an unlimited number of new words in the modern language, i.e. such means that “know no bounds"

1 See ‘Introduction’, § 2.

2 Prof. A. I. Smirnitsky calls them «потенциальные слова» (potential words) in us book on English Lexicology (p. 18).

3 See” also ‘Various Aspects ...’, § 8, p. 184.

and easily form occasional words. This divergence of opinion is responsible for the difference in the lists of derivational affixes considered productive in various books on English Lexicology.

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 aparticular 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 — 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.

In linguistic literature there is another interpretation of derivational productivity based on a quantitative approach.1 A derivational pattern or a derivational affix are qualified as productive provided there are in the word-stock dozens and hundreds of derived words built on the pattern or with the help of the suffix in question. Thus interpreted, derivational productivity is distinguished from word-formation activity by which is meant the ability of an affix to produce new words, in particular occasional words or nonce-words. To give a few illustrations. The agent suffix -er is to be qualified both as a productive and as an active suffix: on the one hand, the English word-stock possesses hundreds of nouns containing this suffix (e.g. driver, reaper, teacher, speaker,etc.), on the other hand, the suffix -erin the pattern v+-er -> N is freely used to coin an unlimited number of nonce-words denoting active agents (e.g., interrupter, respecter, laugher, breakfaster,etc.).

The adjective suffix -fulis described as a productive but not as an active one, for there are hundreds of adjectives with this suffix (e.g. beautiful, hopeful, useful,etc.), but no new words seem to be built with its help.

For obvious reasons, the noun-suffix -thin terms of this approach is to be regarded both as a non-productive and a non-active one.

1 See E. С. Кубрякова. Что такое словообразование. М., 1965, с. 21.

§ 5. Summary and Conclusions

1. Word-formation is the process of creating words from the material available in the language after certain structural and semantic formulas and patterns.

2. As a subject of study English word-formation is that branch of English Lexicology which studies the derivative structure of words and the patterns on which the English language builds new words. Like any other linguistic phenomenon, word-formation may be studied synchronically and diachronically.

3. There are two types of word-formation in Modern English: word- derivation and word-composition. Within the types further distinction is made between the various ways and means of word-formation.

4. There is every reason to exclude the shortening of words, lexicalisation, blending, acronymy from the system of word-formation and regard them and other word-forming processes as specific means of vocabulary replenishment.

5. Sound- and stress-interchange in Modern English are a means of distinguishing between different words, primarily between words of different parts of speech.

6. The degree of productivity and factors favouring it make an important aspect of synchronic description of every derivational pattern within the two types of word-formation.

Three degrees of productivity are distinguished for derivational patterns and individual derivational affixes: l) highly-productive, 2) productive or semi-productive and 3) nоn-produсtive.


§ 6. Definition. Degree of Derivation. Prefixal and Suffixal Derivatives

Affixation is generally defined as the formation of words by adding derivational affixes to different types of bases. Derived words formed by affixation may be the result of one or several applications of word-formation rule and thus the stems of words making up a word-cluster enter into derivational relations of different degrees. The zero degree of derivation is ascribed to simple words, i.e. words whose stem is homonymous with a word-form and often with a root-morpheme, e.g. atom, haste, devote, anxious, horror,etc. Derived words whose bases are built on simple stems and thus are formed by the application of one derivational affix are described as having the first degree of derivation, e.g. atomic, hasty, devotion,etc. Derived words formed by two consecutive stages of coining possess the second degree of derivation, etc., e.g. atomical, hastily, devotional,etc.

In conformity with the division of derivational affixes into suffixes and prefixes affixation is subdivided into suffixation and prefixation. Distinction is naturally made between prefixal and suffixal derivatives according to the last stage of derivation, which determines the nature of the ICs of the pattern that signals the relationship of the derived word with its motivating source unit, cf. unjust (un-+just), justify,(just+

+ -ify), arrangement(arrange + -ment), non-smoker (non-+ smoker). Words like reappearance, unreasonable, denationalise,are often qualified as prefixal-suffixal derivatives. The reader should clearly realise that this qualification is relevant only in terms of the constituent morphemes such words are made up of, i.e. from the angle of morphemic analysis. From the point of view of derivational analysis such words are mostly either suffixal or prefixal derivatives, e.g. sub-atomic= sub-+ (atom + + -ic), unreasonable= un- +(reason + -able), denationalise= de-+ + (national + -ize), discouragement= (dis- + courage) + -ment.

A careful study of a great many suffixal and prefixal derivatives has revealed an essential difference between them. In Modern English suffixation is mostly characteristic of noun and adjective formation, while prefixation is mostly typical of verb formation. The distinction also rests on the role different types of meaning play in the semantic structure of the suffix and the prefix.1 The part-of-speech meaning has a much greater significance in 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, e.g., enslave, encage, unbuttonor may function in more than one part of speech as, e.g., over-in overkinda, to overfeedv, overestimationn; 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. carelessacf. caren;suitableacf. suitv, etc. Furthermore, it is necessary to point out that a suffix closely knit together with a base forms a fusion retaining less of its independence than a prefix which is as a general rule more independent semantically, cf. reading — ‘the act of one who reads’; ‘ability to read’; and to re-read — ‘to read again.'

§ 7. Prefixation. Some Debatable Problems

Prefixation is the formation of words with the help of prefixes. The interpretation of the terms prefix and prefixation now firmly rooted in linguistic literature has undergone a certain evolution. For instance, some time ago there were linguists who treated prefixation as part of word-composition (or compounding). The greater semantic independence of prefixes as compared with suffixes led the linguists to identify prefixes with the first component part of a compound word.2

At present the majority of scholars treat prefixation as an integral part of word-derivation regarding prefixes as derivational affixes which differ essentially both from root-morphemes and non-derivational prepositive morphemes. Opinion sometimes differs concerning the interpretation of the functional status of certain individual groups of morphemes which commonly occur as first component parts of words. H. Marchand, for instance, analyses words like to overdo, to underestimateas compound verbs, the first components of which are locative particles, not prefixes. In a similar way he interprets words like income, onlooker, outhousequalifying them as compounds with locative particles as first elements.

There are about 51 prefixes in the system of Modern English word-formation.

1 SeeWord-Structure’, § 9, p. 100.

2 See, for instance, E. Kruisinga. A Handbook of Present-Day English, pt. II, 1939.

According to the available word-counts of prefixal derivatives l the greatest number are verbs — 42.4%, adjectives comprise 33,5% and nouns make up 22.4%. To give some examples.-

prefixal verbs: to enrich, to coexist, to disagree, to undergo, etc.;

prefixal adjectives: anti-war, biannual, uneasy, super-human, etc.;

prefixal nouns: ex-champion, co-author, disharmony, subcommittee,


It is of interest to mention that the number of prefixal derivatives within a certain part of speech is in inverse proportion to the actual number of prefixes: 22 form verbs, 41 prefixes make adjectives and 42 — nouns.

Proceeding from the three types of morphemes that the structural classification involves 2 two types of prefixes are to be distinguished:

1) those not correlated with any independent word (either notional or functional), e.g. un-, dis-, re-, pre-, post-, etc.; and

2) those correlated with functional words (prepositions or preposition like adverbs), e.g. out-, over-, up-, under-,etc.

Prefixes of the second type are qualified as semibound morphemes, which implies that they occur in speech in various utterances both as independent words and as derivational affixes, e.g. ‘overone’s head’, ‘over the river’ (cf. to overlap, to overpass); ‘to run out’, ‘to take smb out’ (cf. to outgrow, to outline); ‘to look up’, ‘hands up’ (cf. upstairs, to upset); ‘under the same roof, ‘to go under’ (cf. to underestimate, undercurrent), etc.

It should be mentioned that English prefixes of the second type essentially differ from the functional words they are correlated with:

a) like any other derivational affixes they have a more generalised meaning in comparison with the more concrete meanings of the correlated words (see the examples given above); they are characterised by a unity of different denotational components of meaning — a generalised component common to a set of prefixes and individual semantic component distinguishing the given prefix within the set.

b) they are deprived of all grammatical features peculiar to the independent words they are correlated with;

c) they tend to develop a meaning not found in the correlated words;

d) they form regular sets of words of the same semantic type.

Of late some new investigations into the problem of prefixation in English have yielded interesting results. It appears that the traditional opinion, current among linguists, that prefixes modify only the lexical meaning of words without changing the part of speech is not quite correct with regard to the English language. In English there are about 25 prefixes which can transfer words to a different part of speech in comparison with their original stems. Such prefixes should perhaps be called conversive prefixes, e.g. to begulf (cf. gulf n), to debus (cf. bus n); to embronze(cf. bronze n), etc. If further investigation of English prefixation gives

1 The figures are borrowed from: К. В. Пиоттух. Система префиксации в современном английском языке. Канд. дисс. М., 1971.

2 See ‘Word-Structure’, § 3, р. 92.

more proofs of the conversive ability of prefixes, it will then be possible to draw the conclusion that in this respect there is no functional difference between suffixes and prefixes, for suffixes in English are also both conversive (cf. handhandless)and non-conversive (cf. father — fatherhood, horsemanhorsemanship,etc.).

Some recent investigations in the field of English affixation have revealed a close interdependence between the meanings of a polysemantic affix and the lexico-semantic group to which belongs the base it is affixed to, which results in the difference between structural and structural-semantic derivational patterns the prefix forms. A good illustration in point is the prefix en-.

When within the same structural pattern en-+n —> V, the prefix is combined with noun bases denoting articles of clothing, things of luxury, etc. it forms derived verbs expressing an action of putting or placing on, e.g. enrobe(cf. robe), enjewel(cf. jewel), enlace(cf. lace), etc.

When added to noun bases referring to various land forms, means of transportation, containers and notions of geometry it builds derived verbs denoting an action of putting or placing in or into, e.g. embed (cf.bed), entrap(cf. trap), embark(cf. bark), entrain(cf. train), encircle(cf. circle), etc.

In combination with noun bases denoting an agent or an abstract notion the prefix en-produces causative verbs, e.g. enslave(cf. slave), endanger(cf. danger), encourage(cf. courage), etc.

§ 8. Classification of Prefixes

Unlike suffixation, which is usually more closely bound up with the paradigm of a certain part of speech, prefixation is considered to be more neutral in this respect. It is significant that in linguistic literature derivational suffixes are always divided into noun-forming, adjective-forming, etc. Prefixes, however, are treated differently. They are described either in alphabetical order or subdivided into several classes in accordance with their origin, meaning or function and never according to the part of speech.

Prefixes may be classified on different principles. Diachronically distinction is made between prefixes of native and foreign origin.1 Synchronically prefixes may be classified:

1) according to the class of words they preferably form. Recent investigations, as has been mentioned above, allow one to classify prefixes according to this principle. It must be noted that most of the 51 prefixes of Modern English function in more than one part of speech forming different structural and structural-semantic patterns. A small group of 5 prefixes may be referred to exclusively verb-forming (en-, be-, un-,etc.).

The majority of prefixes (in their various denotational meanings) tend to function either in nominal parts of speech (41 patterns in adjectives, 42 in nouns) or in verbs (22 patterns);

2) as to the type of lexical-grammatical character of the base they are added to into: a) deverbal, e. g. rewrite, outstay, overdo,etc.; b) denominal, e.g. unbutton, detrain, ex-president,etc. and c) deadjectival, e.g.

1 See ‘Word-Formation’, § 14, p. 125.

uneasy, biannual,etc. It is of interest to note that the most productive prefixal pattern for adjectives is the one made up of the prefix un-and the base built either on adjectival stems or present and past participle, e.g. unknown, unsmiling, unseen,etc.;

3) semantically prefixes fall into mono- and polysemantic 1;

4) as to the generic denotational meaning there are different groups that are distinguished in linguistic literature:

a) negative prefixes, such as: un1-, non-, in-, dis1-, a-,e.g. ungrateful(cf. grateful), unemployment(cf. employment), non-politician (cf.politician), non-scientific(cf. scientific), incorrect (cf.correct), disloyal(cf. loyal), disadvantage(cf. advantage), amoral(cf. moral), asymmetry(cf. symmetry), etc.

It may be mentioned in passing that the prefix in-occurs in different phonetic shapes depending on the initial sound of the base it is affixed to; in other words, the prefixal morpheme in question has several allomporphs, namely il-(before [l]), im-(before [p, m],) ir- (before [r]), in-in all other cases, e.g. illegal, improbable, immaterial, irreligious, inactive,etc.;

b) reversative or privative prefixes, such as un2-, de-, dis2-,e.g. untie (cf. tie), unleash(cf. leash), decentralise(cf. centralise), disconnect(cf. connect), etc.;

c) pejorative prefixes, such as mis-, mal-, pseudo-, e.g. miscalculate(cf. calculate), misinform(cf. inform), maltreat(cf. treat), pseudo-classicism(cf. classicism), pseudo-scientific(cf. scientific), etc.;

d) prefixes of time and order, such as fore-, pre-, post-, ex-, e.g. foretell (cf.tell), foreknowledge(cf. knowledge), pre-war (cf.war), post-war(cf. war), post-classical(cf. classical), ex-president(cf. president);

e) prefix of repetition re-,e.g. rebuild(cf. build), re-write(cf. write), etc;

f) locative prefixes, such as super-, sub-, inter-, trans-, e.g. super- structure(cf. structure), subway(cf. way), inter-continental(cf. continental), trans-atlantic(cf. Atlantic), etc. and some other groups;

5) when viewed from the angle of their stylistic reference English prefixes fall into those characterised by neutral stylistic reference and those possessing quite a definite stylistic value. As no exhaustive lexico-stylistic classification of English prefixes has yet been suggested, a few examples can only be adduced here. There is no doubt, for instance, that prefixes like un1-, un2-, out-, over-, re-, under-and some others can be qualified as neutral prefixes, e.g., unnatural, unknown, unlace, outnumber, oversee, resell, underestimate,etc. On the other hand, one can hardly fail to perceive the literary-bookish character of such prefixes as pseudo-, super-, ultra-, uni-, bi-and some others, e.g. pseudo-classical, superstructure, ultra-violet, unilateral, bifocal,etc.

Sometimes one comes across pairs of prefixes one of which is neutral, the other is stylistically coloured/One example will suffice here: the

1 For more details see ‘Word-Formation’, § 11, p. 121. 18

prefix over-occurs in all functional styles, the prefix super-is peculiar to the style of scientific prose.

6) prefixes may be also classified as to the degree of productivity into highly-productive, productive and non-productive.1

§ 9. Suffixation. Peculiarities of Some Suffixes

Suffixation is the formation of words with the help of suffixes. Suffixes usually modify the lexical meaning of the base and transfer words to a, different part of speech. There are suffixes however, which do not shift words from one part of speech into another; a suffix of this kind usually transfers a word into a different semantic group, e.g. a concrete noun becomes an abstract one, as is the case with child — childhood, friend — friendship,etc.

Chains of suffixes occurring in derived words having two and more suffixal morphemes are sometimes referred to in lexicography as compound 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. Compound suffixes do not always present a mere succession of two or more suffixes arising out of several consecutive stages of derivation. Some of them acquire a new quality operating as a whole unit. Let us examine from this point of view the suffix -ationin words like fascination, translation, adaptationand the like. Adaptationlooks at first sight like a parallel to fascination, translation.The latter however are first-degree derivatives built with the suffix -ionon the bases fascinate-, translate-.But there is no base adap-tate-,only the shorter base adapt-.Likewise damnation, condemnation, formation, informationand many others are not matched by shorter bases ending in -ate, but only by still shorter ones damn-, condemn-, form-, inform-.Thus, the suffix -ationis a specific suffix of a composite nature. It consists of two suffixes -ateand -ion, but in many cases functions as a single unit in first-degree derivatives. It is referred to in linguistic literature as a coalescent suffix or a group suffix. Adaptationis then a derivative of the first degree of derivation built with the coalescent suffix on the base adapt-.

Of interest is also the group-suffix -manshipconsisting of the suffixes -man2 and -ship.It denotes a superior quality, ability of doing something to perfection, e.g. authormanship, quotemanship, Upmanship,etc. (cf. statesmanship,or chairmanshipbuilt by adding the suffix -shipto the compound base statesman-and chairman-respectively).

It also seems appropriate to make several remarks about the morphological changes that sometimes accompany the process of combining derivational morphemes with bases. Although this problem has been so far insufficiently investigated, some observations have been made and some data collected. For instance, the noun-forming suffix -essfor names of female beings brings about a certain change in the phonetic shape of the correlative male noun provided the latter ends in -er, -or,e.g. actress

1 See ‘Word-Formation’, § 13, p. 123.

2 See ‘Word-Structure’, § 3, p. 92.

(cf.actor), sculptress(cf. sculptor), tigress(cf. tiger), etc. It may be easily, observed that in such cases the sound [9] is contracted in the feminine nouns.

Further, there are suffixes due to which the primary stress is shifted to the syllable immediately preceding them, e.g. courageous(cf. courage), stability(cf. stable), investigation(cf. investigate), peculiarity(cf. peculiar), etc. When added to a base having the suffix -able/-ibleas its component, the suffix -itybrings about a change in its phonetic shape, namely the vowel [i] is inserted between [b] and [1], e.g. possible — possibility, changeable — changeability,etc. Some suffixes attract the primary stress on to themselves, there is a secondary stress on the first syllable in words with such suffixes, e.g. `employ´ee(cf. em´ploy), `govern´mental(cf. govern), `pictu´resque(cf. picture).

§ 10. Main Principles of Classification

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

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

a) noun-suffixes, i.e. those forming or occurring in nouns, e.g. -er, -dom, -ness, -ation,etc. (teacher, Londoner, freedom, brightness, justification,etc.);

b) adjective-suffixes, i.e. those forming or occurring in adjectives, e.g. -able, -less, -ful, -ic, -ous,etc. (agreeable, careless, doubtful, poetic, courageous,etc.);

c) verb-suffixes, i.e. those forming or occurring in verbs, e.g. -en, -fy, -ise (-ize) (darken, satisfy, harmonise,etc.);

d) adverb-suffixes, i.e. those forming or occurring in adverbs, e.g. -ly, -ward (quickly, eastward,etc.).

2) Suffixes may also be classified into various groups according to the lexico-grammatical character of the base the affix is usually added to. Proceeding from this principle one may divide suffixes into:

a) deverbal suffixes (those added to the verbal base), e.g. -er, -ing, -ment, -able,etc. (speaker, reading, agreement, suitable,etc.);

b) denominal suffixes (those added to the noun base), e.g. -less, -ish, -ful, -ist, -some,etc. (handless, childish, mouthful, violinist, troublesome,etc.);

c) de-adjectival suffixes (those affixed to the adjective base), e.g. -en, -ly, -ish, -ness,etc. (blacken, slowly, reddish, brightness,etc.).


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