By Catherine Lawson,2014-12-19 13:00
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Chapter ? (Page 19---31)



     1. Three major processes of word-formation Compounding or composition

    Derivation or affixation


     2. Eight minor processes of word-formation

    ? Acronymy (Initialisms / acronyms)

    ? Clipping (back clippings, front clippings, front & back clippings, phrase


    ? Blending (head+tail, head+head, whole + tail, head+whole) ? Back-formation (created by analogy)

    ? Words from Proper Nouns (names from scientist, politician, statesmen,

    palces; words from trademarks, literature) ? Reduplcation (compounding by repeating one word) ? Newclassical formation

    ? Coinage, Analogy, Backronym (Miscellaneous)

    3. Some basic concepts of word-formation Root : not further analysable, the basic part, the part remained when all the

    affixes are removed.

     e.g. desirable,



    Stem : concern only with inflectional affixes, the (词干?part remains when all the inflectional affixes are removed.

    e.g. greenhouses, readers,

    Base : any kind of affixes can be added, a ,词基? derivationally analysable form to which derivational affixes are added.

     see figures on P34

    Ex. on P66-1(2)



    Stem or base inflectional suffix

     denationalize -(e)d


    derivational prefix analysable base

     de- nationalized

1. Compounding 复合构词法

    A word-formation process combining two or more words which functions as a single word.

     ----Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching & Applied linguistics

    The relative criteria of a compound word suggested by linguists: Orthographic criterion 书写标准

    Phonological criterion 语音标准

    Semantic criterion 语义标准

1. Orthographic criterion 书写标准

     Solid: airtight (密封的), blackboard

     Hyphenated: air-conditioning, self-made

     Open: air force, flower shop, police station

     Compound words bocome solid when they have gained permanent status;

     otherwise they are written open.

    Some compositions can be written in all the 3 forms (but with the same meaning)

     Solid Hyphenated Separate

     flowerpot, flower-pot, flower pot

     airline air-line air line

    acidhead acid-head acid head

     Some compositions can be written in two forms with different meanings: blue fish ,海豚? blue-fish (鲑鱼)

sundown (日落时分) sun-down (扩边女帽)

     Principles for writing compound words: 1) Personal preference

    2) British hyphenated compounds

     American open compounds

    3) solid ? open ? hyphenated

2. Phonological criterion (stress) 语音标准

    stCompounds (Mostly the stress or the primary stress is on the 1 syllable) bluebird ,鸫鸟? blackboard ,教学黑板?

    blue?bottle (蓝丽蝇) blue?fish ,鲑鱼、海豚?

    ndFree Phrases (Usually the stress or the primary stress in on the 2 syllable) a ?blue bird

     a ?black board

     a ?blue bottle

     ?blue fish

    3. Semantic criterion 语义标准

    workday backdoor sunset The meaning of the compound is derived from the combined meanings of its



    dog days ,三伏天? flatfooted ,扁平足的? blue blood ,贵族血统?

    Semantically, compounds can be said to have a meaning which may be

    related to but cannot always be inferred from the meaning of its component


4. Grammatical Criterion 语法标准

    Compounds can add inflectional affixes ? -ed e.g. He bad-mouthed me. past-tense marker?

    ? -s e.g. new-borns, three-year-olds (plural form of nouns) Exception: brothers-in-law, lookers-on

But ? in adjective-plus-noun compounds, the adjective element cannot take

    inflectional suffix.

     Compound Free phrase

     fine arts(雕刻、绘画艺术) finer art,更精细的工艺?

     red tape(官僚作风, 繁文缛节 ) reddest tape

     hot line () hotter line 两国首脑热线:电台咨询热线

To sum up,

    None of these markers can be used as strict criteria of compounds.

    Orthographic criterion Phonological criterion Semantic criterion Grammatical criterion

    We may say that a compound conveys a single idea, and functions as a

    separate lexical unit.

5. Classification of compounds

    Let‟s first look at some compounds.

    raindrop, crybaby (n.) Noun compounds 复合名词

    fire-proof, hardworking (adj.) Adjective compounds 复合形容词

    housekeep, mass-produce (v.) Verb compounds 复合动词



     darkroom Noun compounds


     ? Subclassification of N compounds housekeeping, pickpocket, birthcontrol Verb and object动宾关系?

    steamboat, honeybee Subject and object主宾关系?

    moonwalk, tablecloth evening school Restrictive relation偏正修饰关系?

    peasant girl, pine tree Appositive relation同位说明关系?

    toothache, revolving door Subject and verb主谓关系?

    comeback, showoff, setup Verb and adverbial 偏正动补/ 状关系?

dead-letter office, testtube baby ------> String (linear) compound

    sit-in, breakdown, setback ------> Be formed by phrasal verbs

? Subclassification of A compounds

    ;Subject and verb (past participle)

     thunder-struck, suntanned

;Verb and object (present participle)

     peaceloving, record-breaking

    ;Verb and adverbial (present or past participle)

     hard-working, everlasting, well-behaved, new-laid ;Noun and adj.

     taxfree; ocean green; Anglo-French relation [see P40]

? Subclassification of V compounds

    Formed by back-formation

    e.g. house-keep; tape-record; babysit; mass produce Formed by conversion

    e.g. to honeymoon, to outline, to nickname

    To conclude,

    Today the largest number of new words are formed by compounding. The characteristics of compounds are as follows:





2. Derivation 派生法

    Derivation or affixation may be defined as a process of forming new words by

    the addition of a word element, such as a prefix, suffix or combining form, to an

    already existing word.

    It is subdivided into prefixation & suffixation [See P-43] 1) Prefixation 加前缀 It is the formation of new words by adding a prefix or combining form to the


     Prefixes modify the lexical meaning of the base.

    They do not generally alter the word-class of the base. e.g. Pre-, sub-,


    2) Suffixation加后缀

     It is the formation of a new word by adding a suffix or a combining form to



They usually change the word-class of the base. e.g. -tion, -er, -ly


    be- adj. ? v. becalm, belittle;

    de- n. ? v. deform, debug;

    en- n. ? v. enslave, endanger

    un- n. ? v. unleash, unearth

    anti- n. ? adj. anti-war,

    inter- n. ? adj. inter-state,

    post- n. ? adj. postwar,

    pre- n. ? adj. preplant;

    Classification of prefixes

    Eight categories classified according to the meaning:

    “Negative” prefixes un-, in-, an- (否定 unfinished, incomplete, anarchy) “Reversative or privative” prefixes dis- , un-, anti-, de- (相反动作/ 缺乏,


    unroll, disagree, disable, antiwar, antibiotic, decode, defrost, detach ??


    “Pejorative” prefixesmis-, mal-, (贬义 misdeed, mistrust, malicious, maltreat)

    Prefixes of “degree or size”macro-,micro-,super-, mini-(尺寸、程度


    macro-economics, supermarket, miniskirt, maxiskirt) Prefixes of “attitude”anti-, pro-, (态度 anti-Japanese war, pro-American) “Locative” prefixespre-, post-, out-, over-, under-, intra/o-, inter-, circum-,

    sub-, (位置 preface, post-war, outdoor, outside, overbridge?overpass,


    underage, underground, intra-school?intramural, intraparty, introvert , internet, ,

    intermediate, circumstance, circulate, submarine, subconscious, subway.)

    Prefixes of “time and order”pre-, post, sub-(时间顺序preexist, prejudice,

    pre-school, post-graduate, postnatal (出生后的), posthumously (死后的) .

    “Number”prefixesmono-,uni-,bi-,di-,tri-,pent-, semi-, hemi-, milli-, kilo-,


    (数量 monogamy, unique, unicorn, bi-monthly, bipartisan, dilemma, diphthong,

    trilingual, pentagon, hemisphere, semifinal, millimeter, kilogram, megaton

万吨) [ see P44]

    Classification of suffixes

    Noun(-forming) suffixes (-ship, -ment, -age, -ance, -ry, -ory, -ure, -ist,-ation,


    Verb (-forming) suffixes (-en, -ify, -ize, -ate)

    Adjective(-forming) suffixes (-ish, -y, -al, -ent, -ate, -ly, -able, -ful, -ic, -ive,


    Adverb(-forming) suffixes (-ly, -ward, -wise)


    Study the examples of prefixes and suffixes on the textbook.

3. Conversion 词类转换法 / 转换构词法

    verb deverbal noun

    invade invasion ?suffixation

    attack attack ?conversion


    Conversion is a word-formation process whereby a word of a certain word-class is shifted into a word of another word-class without the addition of an affix.

    After the conversion

    1) Semantic change in conversion:

     mushroom n. The fast growing fungus that can be eaten

     v. to gather mushroom ; to spread or grow rapidly

     e.g. New housing estates have mushroomed on the edge of the town.

    2) Phonological change in conversion:

    Different stress ,重音不同?

    compound (n.) ? com pound (v.)

    contract (n.) ? con tract (v.)

     produce (n.) ? pro duce (v.)

    permit (n.) ? per mit (v.)

    Different pronunciation ,发音不同?

    house / haus/ (n.) ? /hauz/ (v.)

    close /klƏuz/ (v.) ? /klƏus/ (n.)

Other terms for conversion

    Conversion 转换构词法 = Functional shift功能转移

    = Derivation by zero suffix 零位后缀派生法

    Why are there so many words converted from one word class to another ?

     This is so mainly because English had lost most of its inflectional endings by the end of Middle English period, which facilitated the use of words interchangeably as verbs or nouns, verbs or adjectives, and vice versa. For example

    The second round was exciting. ( n .)

    Any round plate will do. ( adj. )

    Some drivers round corners too rapidly. ( v.)

    The sound goes round and round. ( adv.)

    He lives round the corner. ( prep.)

    3) Types of conversion

    Noun ?verb conversion 名词转换成动词

    Verb ?noun conversion 动词转换成名词

    Adj ?verb conversion 形容词转换成动词

    Adj ?noun conversion 形容词转换成名词

    ? Noun verb conversion 名词转换成动词

    Today the largest number of words formed by conversion is constituted by verbs from nouns.

    Reason 1:

    There is a tendency of “a preponderance of nouns over verbs.”

     [see the table on P-58 and the conclusion] Reason 2

    There are only few verb-forming affixes in English.

    They are be-, en-, -ify, -ize, and -en.

    N-verb conversion may be subdivided into the following groups ? “to put in/on N.”:

    The nouns are usually locative nouns denoting a place, a container or a special location.

     e.g. The workers canned apples.

     This is where they bottled the milk.

     The rooms in the hotel are all floored with the boards.

    ? “To give N, to provide N”

     e.g. They sheltered the orphans.

     Did you sugar my tea?

    ? “To deprive of N; or to remove the object denoted by the noun from sth.”

     e.g. Bill weeded the garden.

     Don‟t forget to dust the shelves.

     “I‟ll skin you alive, the terrorist threatened the boy.

    ? “To…with N”:

    The meaning of the verb is “to use the referent of the noun as an instrument for whatever activity particularly associated with it”.

     e.g. John braked the car.

     I glued the broken pieces together.

     We nailed up the windows of the old house. (v. 用钉子封死:钉住) ? “To be / to act as N with respect to …” ;

    Verbs from human nouns:

     She mothered the orphan.

     She spends her time nursing her old father. Verbs from animal nouns

    e.g. Tom parroted what the boss had said.

     He wolfed his meal down.

    Verbs from inanimate nouns

     e.g. The police shadowed the suspected spy. v. 跟踪:盯梢?

     Every spring the river floods the valley. ? “to make / to change… into N” ;

    e.g. Please cash this cheque for me.

     The accident crippled him for life. ? “ to send / to go by N” ;

    e.g. Will you mail the parcel?

     The news was telegraphed across the Atlantic.

     We bicycled to the Summer Palace? ? “To spend the period of time denoted by N”

    e.g. We summered in Qingdao.

     Our family wintered in Hawaii.

? Verb- noun conversion 动词转换成名词

    A/ Conversion from V to N is not as numerous as from N to V, because

    people are more inclined to employ derivation by means of deverbal suffixes

    e.g. (arrangement, ratification, disparity, fishing, hunting)

Subdivision of v --n. conversion

    ? State (generally “state of mind or state of sensation”)

    e.g. He had a desire to be a scientist.

     I have grave doubts about his competence. (grave doubts深切的担心)

    ? Event / activity( from dynamic verbs), Sometimes the converted noun indicates a single instance or occasion, usually

    occur following such verbs as give, have, make or take, and are preceded by the indefinite article.

    e.g. give a cry, have a look, make an attempt, take a turn

     He took a close look at the machine.

     She had a delightful bathe in the river.

    ? Object or result of V

    e.g. This little restaurant is quite a find.

    The doctor came at once in answer to our telephone call. ? Agent of V

    e.g. He is a great bore. ,令人讨厌的人,领导、主考、编辑?

     She is a cheat.

    ? Instrument of V

     e.g. The cloth is a good cover for the table.

     Music is a good cure for those who failed in love. ? Place of V

    e.g. This is the divide between the two rivers.

    You should make a turn at the corner.

B/ Among the commonest of recent conversions are those of phrasal verbs

    into nouns.

     e.g. Scientists have made a major breakthrough in the treatment of cancer.

     Bill Gates was a dropout in college.

     His behavior is a sellout of the nation‟s interest.

     [Exercise on P 70-7]

    ? Adj --verb conversion形容词转换成动词

    To be, become;

    To cause sb. or sth. to be, become the quality denoted by the adj.

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