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Morphology, Part 3: Word-Formation Processes October 1, 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Morphology, Part 3: Word-Formation Processes October 1, 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Morphology, Part 3: Word-Formation Processes October 1, 2012

2 Some Announcements #1: There will be no office hours this afternoon. Set up an appointment with me, if you need to chat. #2: The Morphology homework will be due on Wednesday of next week. I will probably post the homework to the course web page on Wednesday afternoon. Note that I have posted the practice exercises (and answers) from last Friday’s class, for reference’s sake. Let’s walk through the last two sets of problems…

3 The Class System In English, there are two types of derivational affixes: 1. Class 1 (or Level 1) Often cause phonological (sound) changes in the root Also cause more profound semantic (meaning) changes to the root Can combine with bound roots, too. Ex: -ity, -y, -ion For instance: Electric  electricity; stupid  stupidity democrat  democracy; nation

4 The Class System Class 2 (or Level 2) Don’t cause phonological (sound) changes in root. Less of a semantic (meaning) effect, too. Ex: -ness, -less, -er, -ish Normally, Class 1 affixes attach to the root before Class 2 affixes. relational-ion (1), -al (1) divisiveness-ive (1), -ness (2) *fearlessity-less (2), -ity (1) fearlessness-less (2), -ness (2)

5 Productivity Productivity = the extent to which a word-formation rule can be applied to new morphemes, to form new words Class 2 affixes tend to be more productive than Class 1 affixes. -ness vs. -ity both attach to: adjectives both form: nouns both mean: the quality of the adjective blindnessstupidity happinessvalidity goodnesscomplexity

6 Productiveness -ness is very productive, so it can expand its reach to other words: stupidness, validness, complexness The same is not true of -ity: *blindity, *happity, *goodity -ness is so productive, it can also be affixed to new words: truthy + -ness  truthiness chair + -ness  chairness productive + -ness  productiveness

7 Finiteness Note that “finitude” is the (awkward?) alternative. Another (formerly?) productive affix: -age wordage, sleepage, etc.

8 Unproductivity -able is another very productive morpheme: make-fun-of-able Other morphemes are not so lucky: -th:warm + -th=warmth wide + -th=width deep + -th=depth cool + -th=*coolth -en:moist + -en=moisten red + -en=redden cute + -en=?cuten abstract + -en =*abstracten

9 An Intermediate Case -ify attaches to adjectives to form verbs just + -ify=justify pure + -ify=purify quick + -ify=?quickify smart + -ify=?smartify An anecdotal case busy + -ify=busify ugly + -ify=uglify -ify has limited productivity

10 Blocking Productivity can sometimes be limited by the existence of other words intelligent + -ness=*intelligentness “intelligence” gets in the way it blocks intelligentness from existence true + -ness = *trueness(truth) inhabit + -er=*inhabiter(inhabitant) guide + -er=*guider(guide) In other cases, a new word gets created anyway: pride + -ful =prideful(proud)

11 Content and Function Words One last distinction: there are both content and function words. Content words = have some semantic content (meaning) nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs ex: politics, baseball, socks, green, create Function words = specify grammatical relations have little or no semantic content prepositions, pronouns, conjunctions

12 Content and Function Words Content words are an “open class”-- we can add new members anytime we want. Function words are a “closed class”-- it’s not easy (or possible?) to add new members. When was the last time you heard a new pronoun? Or new preposition? (thoughts on the quick write?) Our minds also process function words differently from content words. For instance, how many ‘F’s are in the following passage?…


14 More Word Formation Processes So far, we’ve only looked at one type of word-formation process: affixation = concatenating morphemes in a row Prefixation, suffixation, infixation, circumfixation… There are many different ways to make new words without concatenating morphemes together. compounding internal change reduplication blending, etc.

15 Compounding In compounding, two or more free morphemes combine to make a new word Ex: baseball, blackboard, lightbulb, podcast Compounding is very common in the world’s languages. German is particularly fond of compounding: Donaudampfschiffahrtgesellschaft Donau“danube” Dampf“steam” Schiff“ship” Fahrt“excursion” Gesellschaft“company”

16 Compounding Tests Stress Shifts bird lightbulbvs.light bulb Adverbs can’t modify compound nouns: *extremely gentlemanvs. extremely gentle man *the very White Housevs. the very white house Note: it’s also possible to form verb and adjective compounds: Verbs: dropkick, spoonfeed, whitewash… Adjectives: nationwide, redhot…

17 Back Formations Back formations: removal of an (incorrectly perceived) affix to form a new word Ex: “edit” “editor” perceived as /edit/ + /-er/ Other examples: peddle (from peddler)swindle (from swindler) burgle (from burglar)pea (from pease) laze (from lazy)liaise (from liaison) A “reverse” backformation: Chinese (from Chinee + /-s/)

18 A Sipid Story of Requited Love “It had been a rough day, so when I walked into the party I was very chalant, despite my efforts to appear gruntled and consolate. I was furling my wieldy umbrella...when I saw her...She was a descript person...Her hair was kempt, her clothing shevelled, and she moved in a gainly way.” --from “How I Met My Wife”, by Jack Winter Check out more at: Or consider:

19 Reduplication Reduplication: repetition of all or part of the stem Indonesian: (total reduplication) rumah‘house’rumahrumah‘houses’ ibu‘mother’ibuibu‘mothers’ lalat‘fly’lalatlalat‘flies’ Tagalog: (partial reduplication) bili‘buy’bibili‘will buy’ kain‘eat’kakain‘will eat’ pasok‘enter’papasok‘will enter’

20 Reduplication in English? There are a few examples of reduplication in English. Can you think of any? Individual words/phrases: “bling bling”, “very very”, “teeny weeny”, “a little somethin’ somethin’”… There is also one reduplicative process in English… schm- reduplication: fancy schmancy tired schmired football schmootball Nobel Prize schmobel prize...etc.

21 Internal Change A (slightly) more common word-formation process in English is internal change. = changing sounds inside a root creates a new word. Also known as alternations sing~sangpresent/past drive~drovepresent/past foot~feetsingular/plural mouse~micesingular/plural import~importnoun/verb present~presentnoun/verb

22 By the way... Some internal change processes have (limited) productivity in English What’s the past tense of “sing”? sangsung ring? rangrung bring? brang?brung?brought?

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