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Productive Types of Compound Nouns 4 страница



1 The analysis mentioned above shows that out of the 498 new units under consideration 373 (i.e. about 75%) are nouns and nominal word-groups, 61 (or about 12%) are adjectives and only 1 (or 0,25%) adverbs. The counts conducted in recent years give an approximately the same ratio — out of 122 new units 82 (i. e. 67%) are nouns, 22 (or 18%) are verbs, 18 (i. e. about 14%) are adjectives and only one (0,8%) adverb.

2 See ‘Word-Structure’, § 12, p. 104.


attributive-nominal type built on the A + N and N + N formulas, e.g. frequency modulation, jet engine, total war, Common Marketeer, machine time,etc.

Word-groups and different types of words are unequally distributed among various lexical stylistic groups of the vocabulary, with a predominance of one or another type in every group. For example, new words in the field of science are mostly of derived and compound structure but the technical section of the vocabulary extension is characterised by simple words. The greater part of word-groups is found among scientific and technical terms; the political layer of vocabulary is rather poor inword-groups. Besides this peculiar distribution of different types of words, every type acquires its own specific peculiarity in different lexical stylistic groups of the vocabulary, for example, although derived words are typical both of scientific and technical terms, words formed by conversion are found mostly among technical terms.

WAYS AND MEANS OF ENRICHING THE VOCABULARY

There are two ways of enriching the vocabulary as has been mentioned above: A. vocabulary extension — the appearance of new lexical items. New vocabulary units appear mainly as a result of: 1. productive or patterned ways of word-formation; 2. non-patterned ways of word-creation; 3. borrowing from other languages. B. semantic extension — the appearance of new meanings of existing words which may result in homonyms.

§ 8. Productive Word-Formation

Productive1 word-formation is the most effective means of enriching the vocabulary. The most widely used means are affixation (prefixation mainly for verbs and adjectives, suffixation for nouns and adjectives), conversion (giving the greatest number of new words in verbs and nouns) and composition (most productive in nouns and adjectives).

'New’ words that appear as a result of productive word-formation are not entirely new as they are all made up of elements already available in the language. The newness of these words resides in the particular combination of the items previously familiar to the language speaker. As has already been mentioned productivity of derivative devices that give rise to novel vocabulary units is fundamentally relative and it follows that there are no patterns which can be called ‘fully’ productive.

Productive patterns in each part of speech, with a set of individual structural and semantic constraints, serve as a formal expression of the regular semantic relationship between different classes or semantic groupings of words. Thus the types of new words that may appear in this or that lexical-grammatical class of words can be predicted with a high degree of probability. The regularity of expression of the underlying semantic relations, firmly rooted in the minds of the speakers, make

1 See ‘Word-Formation’, § 4, p. 112. 184


the derivational patterns bidirectional rules, that is, the existence of one class of words presupposes the possibility of appearance of the other which stands in regular semantic relations with it. This can be clearly observed in the high degree of productivity of conversion.1 For instance the existence and frequent use of the noun denoting an object presupposes the possibility of the verb denoting an action connected with it, e.g. the nouns stream, sardine, hi-fi, timetable,lead to the appearance of verbs to stream — ‘to divide students into separate classes according to level of intelligence’, to sardine — ‘to pack closely’; to hi-fi — ‘to listen to hi-fi recordings’; to timetable — ‘to set a timetable’. Similarly a verb denoting an action presupposes a noun denoting an act, result, or instance of this action as in the new words, e.g. a holdup, a breakdown, a layout,etc.

The clarity and stability of the structural and semantic relations underlying productive patterns allows of certain stretching of individual constraints on the structure and meaning of the derivational bases making the pattern highly productive. Highly productive patterns of this type are not many. The derivational affixes which are the ICs of these patterns such as -ness, -er, mini-, over-become unusually active and are felt according to some scholars “productive as individual units” as compared to affixes “productive in a certain pattern, but not in another.” The suffixal nominal patterns with suffixes -nessand -erdeserve special mention. The suffix -nessis associated with names of abstract qualities and states. Though it is regularly added to adjectival bases, practically the range of bases the suffix can be collocated with is both structurally and semantically almost unlimited, e.g. otherness, alone-ness, thingness, oneness, well-to-doness, out-of-the-placeness,etc. The only exception is the verbal bases and the sphere of the derivational pattern a + -ity -> N.

The nominal suffix -erdenoting an active doer may serve as another example. The suffix gives numerous suffixal and compound nouns and though it is largely a deverbal suffix as in brain-washer, a double-talker, a sit-innernew nouns are freely formed from bases of other parts of speech, e.g. a roomer, a YCLer, a one-winger, a ganger,etc.

Yet the bulk of productive patterns giving rise to freely-formed and easily predictable lexical classes of new words have a set of rigid structural and semantic constraints such as the lexical-grammatical class and structural type of bases,2 the semantic nature of the base, etc. The degree of productivity is also connected with a certain power of analogy attached to each pattern.

The following productive types giving the greatest number of new vocabulary items may be mentioned: deverbal suffixal adjectives denoting passive possibility of the action (v + -able -> A), e.g. attachable, acceptable, livable-in, likeable,etc.; prefixal negative adjectives formed after two patterns: 1) (un- + part I/II-> A), e.g. unguarded, unheard-of, unbinding,etc., 2) (un- + a -> A), e.g. unsound, uncool, especially

1 See ‘Word-Formation’, § 21, p. 138. 2 See ‘Word-Structure’, § 8, p. 97,


with deverbal adjectival bases as in unthinkable, unquantifiable, unavoidable, unanswerable,etc.; prefixal verbs of repetitive meaning (re- + + v -> V), e.g. rearrange, re-train, remap,etc.; prefixal verbs of reversative meaning (un- + v -> V), e.g. uncap, unbundle, unhook, undock,etc.; derivational compound adjectives denoting possession [(a/n + n) + + -ed -> A], e.g. flat-bottomed, long-handled, heavy-lidded,etc. The greater part of new compound nouns are formed after n + n -> N pattern, e.g. wave-length, sound-track,etc.

The bidirectional nature of productive derivational patterns is ofspecial interest in connection with back-derivation as a source of new verbs. The pattern of semantic relationship of the action and its active doer, the action and the name of the process of this action are regularly represented in Modern English by highly productive nominal patterns with suffixes -erand -ing(v + -er -> N, v+ -ing -> N). Hence the noun whose structure contains this suffix or may be interpreted as having it is understood as a secondary unit motivated by a verb even if the verb does not actually exist. This was the case with editor, baby-sitter, housekeeping,a new “simpler” verb was formed to fill the gap. The noun was felt as derived and the “corresponding” verb was formed by taking the suffix or the suffix-like sound-cluster away. The following verbs, e.g. to beg, to edit, to stage-manage, to babysit, to dress-makeare the results of back-formation. Back-derivation as a re-interpretation of the derivational structure is now growing in productivity but it functions only within the framework of highly productive patterns with regular and transparent derivative relations associated formally with a certain suffix. Many new backderived verbs are often stylistically marked as colloquial, e.g. enthusefrom enthusiasm, playactfrom play-acting, tongue-tiefrom tongue-tied, sight-seefrom sight-seeing.

The correct appraisal of the role of productive word-formation and

its power to give analogic creations would be incomplete if one does

not take into account the so-called occasional or potential

wоrds. Built on analogy with the most productive types of derived

and compound words, easily understood and never striking one as “un-

"usual” or “new” they are so numerous that it is virtually impossible to

make conversation to-day, to hear a speech or to read a newspaper with-

out coming across a number of words which are new to the language.

Occasional words are especially connected with the force of analogous

creations based on productive word-formation patterns. It often happens

that one or another word becomes, sometimes due to social and political

reasons, especially prominent and frequent. One of its components ac-

quires an additional derivative force and becomes the centre of a series

of lexical items. It can be best illustrated by new words formed on anal-

ogy with the compound noun sit-inwhich according to A Dictionary

of New English gave three sets of analogic units. The noun sit-inis

traced back to 1960 when it was formed from the verb sit-inintroduced

by the Negro civil-rights movement. In the first series of analogic crea-

tions the -inwas associated with a public protest demonstration and

gave rise to sit-inand sit-inner, kneel-in, ride-in,all motivated by the

underlying verbal units. The original meaning was soon extended to


the staging of any kind of public demonstration and resulted in a new series of nouns like a teach-in, study-in, talk-in, read-in,etc. which became independent of the existence of the corresponding phrasal verbs. A third development was the weakening of the earlier meanings to cover any kind of social gathering by a group, e.g. think-in, sing-in, fish-in, laugh-in,etc.

The second components of compound nouns often become such centres of creations by analogy as for instance the component -sick-in seasickand homesickgave on analogy car-sick, air-sick, space-sick.The compound noun earthquakeled to birthquake(= population explosion), youthquake(= a world-wide agitation caused by student uprisings), starquake(= a series of rapid changes in the shape of the star). The noun teenagerled to golden-ager, skyscraperto thighscraper(= a mini-skirt), house-wifeto house-husband.The derivative component -proofgave sound-proof, bullet-proof, fool-proof, kiss-proof, love-proof,etc.

Productive word-formation has a specific distribution in relation to different spheres of communication, thematic and lexical stylistic groups of new words. New terminological vocabulary units appear mainly as a result of composition making extensive use of borrowed root-morphemes, and affixation with sets of affixes of peculiar stylistic reference,1 often of Latin-Greek origin which are scarcely ever used outside this group of words, for example suffixes -ite, -ine- -tron,etc. The suffixes -in, -gen, -ogenare productive in the field of chemistry and biochemistry, e.g. citrin, penicillin, carcinogen; -icsin the naming of sciences as in radionics, bionics;the prefixes non-, pan-,suffixes -ism, -istare most productive in political vocabulary, e.g. Nixonomics, Nixonomist,etc.

In comparison with specialised vocabulary items, lexical units of standard-colloquial layer are more often created by affixes of neutral stylistic reference, by conversion and composition.

§ 9. Various Ways of Word-Creation

New words in different notional classes appear also as a result of various non-patterned ways of word creation. The two main types of non-patterned word-creation are: I. Various ways of transformation of a word-form into a word usually referred to as lexicalisation and II. Shortening which consists in substituting a part for a whole. Shortening comprises essentially different ways of word creation. It involves 1. transformation of a word-group into a word, and 2. a change of the word-structure resulting in a new lexical item, i.e. clipping.

I. Lexicalisation. Due to various semantic and syntactic reasons the grammatical flexion in some word-forms, most often the plural of nouns, as in, e.g. the nouns arms, customs, colours,loses its grammatical meaning and becomes isolated from the paradigm of the words arm, custom, look.As a result of the re-interpretation of the plural suffix the word-form arms, customsdeveloped a different lexical meaning ‘weapons’ and ‘import duties’ respectively. This led to a complete break of semantic links with the semantic structure of the words arm, custom

1 See ‘Word-Formation’, § 13, p. 123,


and thus to the appearance of new words with a different set of grammatical features. It must be noted that there is no unanimity of opinion on whether all such items should be viewed as new words or only as new meanings. Different approaches to the problem are connected with the border-line between polysemy and homonymy1 and many individual cases are actually open to doubt.

Essentially the same phenomenon of lexicalisation is observed in the transition of participles into adjectives. The process is also known as adjectivisation. It may be illustrated by a number of adjectives such as tired, devoted, interesting, amusing,etc. which are now felt as homonymous to the participles of the verbs to tire, to marry,etc.

Lexicalisation is a long, gradual historical process which synchronically results in the appearance of new vocabulary units.

II. Shortening. Distinction should be made between shorten-” ing which results in new lexical items and a specific type of shortening proper only to written speech resulting in numerous graphical abbreviations which are only signs representing words and word-groups of high frequency of occurrence in various spheres of human activity as for instance, RDfor Roadand Stfor Streetin addresses on envelopes and in letters; tufor tube, aerfor aerialin Radio Engineering literature, etc. English graphical abbreviations include rather numerous shortened ‘ variants of Latin and French words and word-groups, e.g.: i.e. (L. id est) — ‘that is’; R.S.V.P.(Fr. — Repondez s'il vous plait) — ‘reply please’, etc.

Graphical abbreviations are restricted in use to written speech, occurring only in various kinds of texts, articles, books, advertisements, letters, etc. In reading, many of them are substituted by the words and phrases that they represent, e.g. Dr.= doctor, Mr.=mister, Oct.= October,etc.; the abbreviations of Latin and French words and phrases are usually read as their English equivalents. It follows that graphical abbreviations cannot be considered new lexical vocabulary units.

It is only natural that in the course of language development some graphical abbreviations should gradually penetrate into the sphere of oral intercourse and, as a result, turn into self-contained lexical units used both in oral and written speech. That is the case, for instance, with a.m. ['ei'em] — ‘in the morning, before noon’; p.m. ['pi:'em] — ‘in the afternoon’; S.O.S.['es ‘ou ‘es] (=Save Our Souls) — ‘urgent call for help’, etc.

1. Transformations of word-groups into words involve different types of lexical shortening: ellipsis or substantivisation, initial letter or syllable abbreviations (also referred to as acronyms), blendings, etc.

Substantivisation consists in dropping of the final nominal member of a frequently used attributive word-group. When such a member of the word-group is dropped as, for example, was the case with a documentary filmthe remaining adjective takes on the meaning and all the syntactic functions of the noun and thus develops into a new

1 See ‘Semasiology’, § 36, p. 42; ‘Various Aspects...’, § 12, p. 194 — 195, 188


word changing its class membership and becoming homonymous to theexisting adjective. It may be illustrated by a number of nouns that appeared in this way, e.g. an incendiarygoes back to an incendiary bomb, the finalsto the final examinations, an editorialto an editorial article,etc. Other more recent creations are an orbital(Br. ‘a highway going around the suburbs of a city’), a verbal(‘a verbal confession introduced as evidence at a trial’), a toplesswhich goes to three different word-groups and accordingly has three meanings: 1) a topless dress, bathing suit, etc., 2) a waitress, dancer, etc. wearing topless garments, 3) a bar, night-club featuring topless waitresses or performers.

Substantivisation is often accompanied by productive suffixation as in, e.g., a one-wingerfrom one-wing plane, a two-deckerfrom two-deck busor ship;it may be accompanied by clipping and productive suffixation, e.g. flickers(coll.) from flicking pictures, a smokerfrom smoking carriage,etc.

Acronyms and letter abbreviations are lexical abbreviations of a phrase. There are different types of such abbreviations and there is no unanimity of opinion among scholars whether all of them can be regarded as regular vocabulary units. It seems logical to make distinction between acronyms and letter abbreviations. Letter abbreviations are mere replacements of longer phrases including names of well-known organisations of undeniable currency, names of agencies and institutions, political parties, famous people, names of official offices, etc. They are not spoken or treated as words but pronounced letter by letter and as a rule possess no other linguistic forms proper to words. The following may serve as examples of such abbreviations: CBW= chemical and biological warfare, DOD= Department of Defence (of the USA), 1TV= Independent Television, Instructional Television, SST= supersonic transport, etc. It should be remembered that the border-line between letter abbreviations and true acronyms is fluid and many letter abbreviations in the course of time may turn into regular vocabulary units. Occasionally letter abbreviations are given ‘pronunciation spelling’ as for instance dejay(= D.J. = disc jokey), emce(= M.C. = master of ceremonies) in which case they tend to pass over into true acronyms.

Acronyms are regular vocabulary units spoken as words. They are formed in various ways:

1) from the initial letters or syllables of a phrase, which may be pronounced differently a) as a succession of sounds denoted by the constituent letters forming a syllabic pattern, i.e. as regular words, e.g. UNO['ju:nou] = United Nations Organisations; NATO['neitou] = North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, UNESCO[ju:'neskou]; laser['leisa] = = light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation; radar['reidэ] = =radio detection and ranging; BMEWS ['bi:mju:z] = Ballistic Missile Early Warning System; b) as a succession of the alphabetical readings of the constituent letters as in, e.g., YCL['wai’si:'el] = Young Communist League; BBC['bi:'bi:’si:] = British Broadcasting Corporation; MP ['em'pi:] = Member of Parliament; SOS['es'ou'es] = Save Our Souls.


2) Acronyms may be formed from the initial syllables of each wordof the phrase, e.g. Interpol= inter/national pol/ice; tacsatcom= Tactical Satellite Communications: Capcom= Capsule Communicator (the person at a space flight centre who communicates with the astronauts during a space flight).

3) Acronyms may be formed by a combination of the abbreviation of the first or the first two members of the phrase with the last member undergoing no change at all, e.g. V-day= Victory Day; H-bomb= = hydrogen bomb; g-force= gravity force, etc.

All acronyms unlike letter abbreviations perform the syntactical functions of ordinary words taking on grammatical inflexions, e.g. MPs(will attack huge arms bill), M.P’s(concern at . . .). They also serve as derivational bases for derived words and easily collocate with derivational suffixes as, e.g. YCLer(= member of the YCL); MPess(= woman-member of Parliament); radarman,etc.

Вlendings are the result of conscious creation of words by merging irregular fragments of several words which are aptly called “splinters.” 1 Splinters assume different shapes — they may be severed from the source word at a morpheme boundary as in transceiver(=transmitter and receiver), transistor (= transfer and resistor) or at a syllable boundary like cute (from execute) in electrocute, medicare(from medical care), polutician (from pollute and politician) or boundaries of both kinds may be disregarded as in brunch(from breakfast and lunch), smog(from smokeand fog), ballute(from baloon and parachute), etc. Many blends show some degree of overlapping of vowels, consonants and syllables or echo the word or word fragment it replaces. This device is often used to attain punning effect, as in foolosopherechoing philosopher; icecapade(= spectacular shows on ice) echoing escapade; baloonatic(= baloon and lunatic).

Blends are coined not infrequently in scientific and technical language as a means of naming new things, as trade names in advertisements. Since blends break the rules of morphology they result in original combinations which catch quickly. Most of the blends have a colloquial flavour.

2. Clippingrefers to the creation of new words by shortening a word of two or more syllables (usually nouns and adjectives) without changing its class membership. Clipped words, though they often exist together with the longer original source word function as independent lexical units with a certain phonetic shape and lexical meaning of their own. The lexical meanings of the clipped word and its source do not as a rule coincide, for instance, docrefers only to ‘one who practices medicine’, whereas doctordenotes also ‘the higher degree given by a university and a person who has received it’, e.g. Doctor of Law, Doctor of Philosophy.Clipped words always differ from the non-clipped words in the emotive charge and stylistic reference. Clippings indicate an attitude of familiarity on the part of the user either towards the object denoted or towards the audience, thus clipped words are characteristic of

1 See V. Adams. An Introduction to Modern English Word-Formation, L., 1973. 190


colloquial speech. In the course of time, though, many clipped words find their way into the literary language losing some of their colloquial colouring. Clippings show various degrees of semantic dissociation from their full forms. Some are no longer felt to be clippings, e.g. pants (cf. pantaloons), bus (cf. omnibus), bike (cf. bicycle),etc. Some of them retain rather close semantic ties with the original word. This gives ground to doubt whether the clipped words should be considered separate words. Some linguists hold the view that in case semantic dissociation is slight and the major difference lies in the emotive charge and stylistic application the two units should be regarded as word-variants (e.g. examand examination, laband laboratory,etc.).1

Clipping often accompanies other ways of shortening such as substantivisation, e.g. perm(from permanent wave), op(from optical art), pop(from popular music, art, singer, etc.), etc.

As independent vocabulary units clippings serve as derivational bases for suffixal derivations collocating with highly productive neutral and stylistically non-neutral suffixes -ie, -er,e.g. nightie (cf. nightdress), panties, hanky (cf. handkerchief).Cases of conversion are not infrequent, e.g. to taxi, to perm,etc.

There do not seem to be any clear rules by means of which we might predict where a word will be cut though there are several types into which clippings are traditionally classified according to the part of the word that is clipped:

1) Words that have been shortened at the end—the so-called apocope, e.g. ad(from advertisement), lab(from laboratory), mike(from microphone), etc.

2) Words that have been shortened at the beginning—the so-called aphaeresis, e.g. car(from motor-car), phone(from telephone), copter(from helicopter), etc.

3) Words in which some syllables or sounds have been omitted from the middle—the so-called syncope, e.g. maths(from mathematics), pants(from pantaloons), specs(from spectacles), etc.

4) Words that have been clipped both at the beginning and at the end, e.g. flu(from influenza), tec(from detective), fridge(from refrigerator), etc.

It must be stressed that acronyms and clipping are the main ways of word-creation most active in present-day English. The peculiarity of both types of words is that they are structurally simple, semantically non-motivated and give rise to new root-morphemes.

§ 10. Borrowing

Borrowing as a means of replenishing the vocabulary of present-day English is of much lesser importance and is active mainly in the field of scientific -terminology. It should be noted that many terms are often made up of borrowed morphemes, mostly morphemes from classical languages.2

1) The present-day English vocabulary, especially its terminological layers, is constantly enriched by words made up of morphemes of Latin

1 See 'Introduction', § 5, p. 10; 'Various Aspects ...', § 12, p. 196.

2 See 'Etymological Survey', § 5, p. 164.




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