Comparative Analysis of Word Building in Prose and Poetry on the basis of E.A. Poe's works
Word Building as a part of Lexicology. The Ways of Word Building: affixation, conversion, abbreviation, composition. Role of word building a relevant in prose and poetry in E. Poe’s works; to investigate which of them are the most frequent and productive.
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Chapter One. Word Building as Lexicological Phenomenon
1.1 Word Building as a part of Lexicology
1.2 The Ways of Word Building
Chapter Two. Analysis of the Examples from E. A. Poe's Prose and Poetry
2.1 Derivation by means of Affixation
The theme of our diploma paper is “Comparative Analysis of Word Building in Prose and Poetry” (on the basis of E.A. Poe's works). The cause of this selecting is the linguistic importance of this subject because word building is a major part of morphology representing the study of construction rules of words and comparative analysis of its usage in a few different kinds of literature (prose and poetry in our case) can bring a particular linguistic value. Our investigation is connected with E.A. Poe's works because both prose and poetry are represented in his literary creation and they give a vast field for the linguistic research due to high quality and innovation.
The main goal is to prove that major processes of word building play a relevant role in prose and poetry in E. A. Poe's works and to investigate which of them are the most frequent and productive.
It leads to several objectives:
a) to select theoretical sources connected with the subject-matter;
b) to study these theoretical sources;
c) to learn what ways of word building exist;
d) to find out which of these ways are the most productive;
e) to investigate the works of E. Poe (in poetry and prose);
f) to pick out and analyze a certain amount of examples in order to prove the hypothesis of the diploma;
g) to come to certain conclusions;
h) to present the results of the investigation
The hypothesis of the work is that affixation is the most productive process of word building in E. A. Poe's prose and poetry.
(Actuality of the diploma is in the importance of the subject and practical investigation of the novels written in British English and American English)
Actuality of this paper is in the importance of the subject of the research that opens prospects in further studying of this aspect, because knowledge of word-formation is one of the most effective aids to the expanding of one's vocabulary, and is of great value in inferring word meaning.
The following methods of investigation have been used, such as: selective, syntactical, and comparative (different methods of translation). The structure of the work is the following: Introduction, Chapter One, Chapter Two, Conclusions, Bibliography, and two Appendixes.
Chapter One is called “Word Building as a Lexicological Phenomenon”. It contains many theoretical data on different ways of word building as affixation, conversion, abbreviation, and dealing with compounds - composition. We see that there are numerous different patterns of compound formations, which can be distinguished, based on formal and semantic criteria. It represents the theoretical material for studying of such authors as: V. Adams, Ginsburg R.S., Arnold I.V, H. Marchand, and O. Meshkov O.D. etc.
Chapter Two is entitled “Analysis of the Examples on the Basis of E.A. Poe's Prose and Poetry”. It represents about 200 examples picked out of E. Poe's prose and poetry, which are collected, classified, analyzed, and presented in different tables. The chapter is divided into several subchapters. Each of them gives the detailed analysis of the examples picked out of E.A. Poe's prose and poetry of each above mentioned word formation pattern.
Conclusions is the part of the diploma in which the results of the investigation as well as the confirmation of the hypothesis of the work is shown to our satisfaction, that is, affixation is the most productive process of word building in E.A. Poe's prose and poetry.
Bibliography presents a good and important selection of the authors dealing with the subject of the investigation and some internet sites connected with the same subject. It also presents the list of dictionaries used in the course of work and literary sources by E.A. Poe.
Appendix 1 shows the examples, which were not included in Chapter Two.
Appendix 2 presents the statistic data of the research.
Chapter One. Word Building as a Lexicological Phenomenon
Word building is the study of words, dealing with the construction or formation rules of words in a certain language. This paper studies and analyses various ways of word-building two kinds of literature (prose and poetry) so that similarities and differences are found between them through comparison. This will be done in the following, theoretically-oriented chapter, where we present some theories that have explicitly aimed at modeling these relationships.
We have studied the theoretical sources dealing with numerous affixation processes in English in this part of the diploma. We saw that it is not always easy to differentiate affixes from other morphological entities, and then after investigating some general characteristics of English affixation, we see that suffixation and prefixation are very common and extremely restricted phenomenon in English word-formation. In the next section of this chapter we will have a closer look at the characteristics of some non-affixational processes by which new words can be derived. First, three major problems of conversion will be discussed and, then abbreviations will be investigated. We have touched upon one of the most productive means of creating new words in English, compounding, in the final subparagraph of our work. We have seen that there are numerous different patterns of compound or composed formations which can be distinguished on the basis of formal and semantic criteria.
Nowadays, the term “word building” does not have a clear cut, universally accepted usage. It is sometimes referred to all processes connected with changing the form of the word by, for example, affixation, which is a matter of morphology. In its wider sense word formation denotes the processes of creation of new lexical units. Although it seems that the difference between morphological change of a word and creation of a new term is quite easy to perceive, there is sometimes a dispute as to whether blending is still a morphological change or making a new word. There are, of course, numerous word formation processes that do not arouse any controversies and are very similar in the majority of languages. [12, 34]
One of the distinctive properties of human language is creativity, by which we mean the ability of native speakers of a language to produce and understand new forms in their language. Even though creativity is most apparent when it comes to sentence formation, it is also manifest in our lexical knowledge, where new words are added to our mental lexicon regularly. The most comprehensive expositions of word formation processes that speakers of a language regularly use both consciously and unconsciously to create new words in their language are presented in this paper. [9, 56]
1.1 Word building as part of lexicology
The term word-building or derivational pattern is used to denote a meaningful combination of stems and affixes that occur regularly enough to indicate the part of speech, the lexico-semantic category and semantic peculiarities common to most words with this particular arrangement of morphemes. Every type of word building (affixation, conversion, abbreviation, and composition for compound words) as well as every part of speech has a characteristic set of patterns. [3, 81]
By word-building are understood processes of producing new words from the resources of this particular language. Together with borrowing, word building provides for enlarging and enriching the vocabulary of the language.
The English language is in a permanent state of renewal and change. Language is the mirror of society and the English vocabulary reflects the quick social, cultural, and scientific changes undergone by modern society. New entries are constantly added, as speakers have to refer to new concepts, objects, and ideas. In the English vocabulary verbs, nouns, adjectives and adverbs belong to open classes, that is to say, they are open because they can be extended indefinitely by the addition of new items. [4, 45]
But these new words, save exceptions, are not created from nowhere, but are either borrowed or formed by combining words or parts of words which already exist in the language, abbreviating them or changing their word class Speakers of English can easily coin new terms to suit their needs. Journalists, in particular, take advantage of the power that the English language has to generate new terms. When we read a newspaper or a magazine we are likely to come across words which we have never seen or heard before because they have just been coined by a creative speaker or writer. However, native speakers are perfectly able to process innovative word uses, and these words can be easily understood because they share the pattern of established words in the vocabulary. If alcoholic is familiar, then other words formed on the same pattern, such as “workaholic or shopaholic”, are also comprehensible. Knowledge of word-formation is, therefore, one of the most effective aids to the expanding of one's vocabulary, and is of great value in inferring word meaning. [1, 79]
There are various ways of forming words, but largely, the various processes can be classified based on frequency of usage, into major and minor processes. There are three major processes, namely, affixation, conversion, abbreviation and compounding. There are eight minor processes, namely, blending, clipping, acronymy, back-formation, words from proper names, reduplication, neo-classical formation and miscellaneous. We will only touch upon major processes of word building because the attempt to pick out and analyze all the processes in E. Poe's prose and poetry turned out to be fruitless due to their specificity. [5, 26]
Before dealing with word-formation proper, we will first explain some of the terminology to use in the study and discussion of word building. The rule of word-formation define the scope and methods whereby speakers of language may create new words; for instance, the “-able” word-formation rule says, “-able is to be added form an adjective meaning “fit to be “, or to nouns to form an adjective with the sense showing the quality of”. In addition, one of the noun compound formations is noun plus noun. However, it should be pointed out that any rule of word-formation is: “of limited productivity in the sense that not all words which result from the rule of the rule are acceptable: they are only acceptable only when they have gained an institutional currency in the language” [11, 15]
“Root “, “stem “, and «base «are terms used in linguistics to designate that part of a word that remains when all affixes have been removed. If we describe a word as an autonomous unit of language in which a particular meaning is associated with a particular sound complex and which is capable of a particular grammatical employment and able to form a sentence by itself we have the possibility to distinguish it from the other fundamental language unit, namely, the morpheme. According to the role they play in constructing words, morphemes are subdivided into roots and affixes. The latter are further subdivided, according to their position, into prefixes, suffixes and infixes, and according to their function and meaning, into derivational and functional affixes, the latter also called endings or outer formatives. [10,40]
A root is a form, which is further analyzable, either in terms of derivational or inflectional morphology. It is that part of a word -form reform that remains when the inflectional and derivational suffixes have been removed. “A stem is of concern only when dealing with inflectional morphology inflectional (but not derivational) affixes are added to it: it is the part of the word-form which remains when all inflectional affixes have been removed.” [12, 47] When a derivational or functional affix is stripped from the word, what remains is a stem. The stem expresses the lexical and the part of speech meaning. This stem is a single morpheme; it contains nothing but the root, so it is a simple stem. [11, 25]
For example, in the word desirable, “desire” is the base to which a suffix “-able” is added or in order words, an “-able” word-formation rule is applied; but “-desire” is also the root because it is not further analyzable. However, when “un-»is then added to desirable the whole of this item “desirable” would be referred to as the base, but it could not be considered a root because it is analyzable in terms of derivational morphology, nor is it a stem since it does not permit the adding of inflectional affixes.
As a subject of study, word-formation is that branch of lexicology, which studies the pattern on which a language, in this cases the English language, coins new word. Thus, affixation, conversion and compounding or composition, are the three major types of word-formation in contemporary English.
All morphemes are subdivided into two large classes: roots (or radicals) and affixes. The latter, in their turn, fall into prefixes which precede the root in the structure of the word (as in “re-read”, “mis-pronounce”, “unwell”) and suffixes which follow the root (as in “teach-er”, “cur-able”, “diet-ate”). [5, 70]
Words, which consist of a root and an affix (or several affixes), are called derived words or derivatives and are produced by the process of word building known as affixation (or derivation).Derived words are extremely numerous in the English vocabulary. Successfully competing with this structural type is the so-called root word, which has only a root morpheme in its structure. This type is widely represented by a great number of words belonging to the original English stock or to earlier borrowings (“house”, “room”, “book,” work”, “port”, “street”, “table”, etc.). Modern English, has been greatly enlarged by the type of word-building called conversion (e. g. to hand, v. formed from the noun hand; to can, (v). from can, (ï).; to pale, (v). from pale, (adj).; a find, (n). from to find, (v).; etc.). [1, 59]
Another widespread word-structure is a compound word consisting of two or more stems (e. g. “dining-room”, “bluebell”, and “mother-in-law”, “good-for-nothing”). The word-building process called “composition” produces words of this structural type.
The somewhat odd-looking words like flu, pram, lab, M. P., V-day, H-bomb are called shortenings, contractions or curtailed words and are produced by the way of word-building called shortening (contraction).
These minor types of word-formation, together with the four major types of word-formation (affixation, conversion, abbreviation and compounding) are the means by which new words are created in the English language. Genuine coinages are rare. [6, 56]
1.2 The Ways of Word building
In this subparagraph, we present a number of word-formation processes that involve affixes as their primary or only means of deriving words from other words or morphemes and the processes, which derived words without any graphical changes. The four types (root words, derived words, compounds, shortenings) represent the main structural types of Modern English words, and conversion, derivation and composition the most productive ways of word-building. [2,45]
Affixation consists in adding derivational affixes (i.e., prefixes and suffixes) to roots and stems to form new words. For example, if the suffix -able is added to the word pass, the word passable is created. Likewise, if to the word passable the prefix “in-“is attached, another word is formed, namely impassable. Affixation is a very common and productive morphological process in synthetic languages. In English, derivation is the form of affixation that yields new words.
Affixation is one of the most productive ways of word building throughout the history of English. It consists in adding an affix to the stem of a definite part of speech. Affixation is divided into suffixation and prefixation. The process of affixation consists in coining a new word by adding an affix or several affixes to some root morpheme. The role of the affix in this procedure is very important and therefore it is necessary to consider certain facts about the main types of affixes. [2, 62]
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 how-ever, 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.
The main function of suffixes in Modern English is to form one part of speech from another; the secondary function is to change the lexical meaning of the same part of speech. (e.g. «educate» is a verb, “educatee” is a noun, and “music” is a noun, “musicdom” is also a noun). [5, 56]
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”, “-ize” (darken, satisfy, harmonize, etc.);
d) Adverb-suffixes, i.e. those forming or occurring in adverbs, e.g.”-ly”, “-ward”. (quickly, eastward, etc.). [8, 76]
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.). [11, 80]
3) A classification of suffixes may also be based on the criterion of sense expressed by a set of suffixes. Proceeding from the principle suffixes are classified into various groups within the bounds of a certain part of speech. For instance, noun-suffixes fall into those denoting:
a) the agent of an action, e. g. -er,”-ant” (baker, dancer, defendant, etc.);
b) Appurtenance, e. g. “-an”, “-ian”, -ese, etc. (Arabian, Elizabethan, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, etc.);
c) Collectivity, e.g. “-age”, “-dom”, “-ery” (“-ry”), etc. (freightage, officialdom, peasantry, etc.); d) diminutiveness, e. g. “-ie”, “-let”, “-ling”, etc. (birdie, girlie, cloudlet, squirreling, wolfing, etc.). [11, 82]
4) Suffixes are also classified as to the degree of their productivity.
Distinction is usually made between dead and living affixes. Dead affixes are described as those which are no longer felt in Modern English as component parts of words; they have so fused with the base of the word as to lose their independence completely. It is only by special etymological analysis that they may be singled out, e. g. “-d” in “dead”, “seed”, “-le”, “-l”,”-el” in “bundle”, “sail”, “hovel”; “-ock” in “hillock”; “-lock” in “padlock”; “-t” in “flight”, “gift”, “height”. It is quite clear that dead suffixes are irrelevant to present-day English word building; they belong in its diachronic study.
Living affixes may be easily singled out from a word, e. g. the noun- forming suffixes “-ness”, “-dom”, “-hood”, “-age”, “-ance”, as in “darkness”, “freedom”, “childhood”, “marriage”, “assistance”, etc. or the adjective-forming suffixes “-en”, “-ous”, “-ive”, “-ful”, “-y” as in “wooden”, “poisonous”, “active”, “hopeful”, “stony”, etc. [15,32]
However, not all living derivational affixes of Modern English possess the ability to coin new words. Some of them may be employed to coin new words on the spur of the moment; others cannot, so that they are different from the point of view of their productivity. Accordingly they fall into two basic classes - productive and non-productive word-building affixes.
It has been pointed out that linguists disagree as to what is meant by the productivity of derivational affixes. Following the first approach all living affixes should be considered productive in varying degrees from highly productive (e. g. “-er”, “-ish”,”-less” etc.) to non-productive (e. g. “-ard”, “-cy”, “-ive” etc.).
Consequently, it becomes important to describe the constraints imposed on and the factors favoring the productivity of affixational patterns and individual affixes. The degree of productivity of affixational patterns very much depends on the structural, lexico-grammatical and semantic nature of bases and the meaning of the affix. For instance, the analysis of the bases from which the suffix -ize can derive verbs reveals that it is most productive with noun-stems, adjective-stems also favor ifs productivity, whereas verb-stems and adverb-stems do not, e. g.” criticize”(critic),”organize “(organ), “itemize” (item), “mobilize” (mobile), “localize”(local), etc. [2,51]
Comparison of the semantic structure of a verb in “-ize” with that of the base it is built on shows that the number of meanings of the stem usually exceeds that of the verb and that its basic meaning favors the productivity of the suffix “-ize” to a greater degree than its marginal meanings, e. g. “to characterize - character”, “to moralize - moral”, “to dramatize - drama”, etc.
The treatment of certain affixes as non-productive naturally also depends on the concept of productivity. The current definition of non-productive derivational affixes as those which cannot hg used in Modern English for the coining of new words is rather vague and maybe interpreted in different ways. Following the definition the term non-productive refers only to the affixes un-likely to be used for the formation of new words, e.g. “-ous", “-th”, “fore-“and some others (famous, depth, foresee).
If one accepts the other concept of productivity mentioned above, then non-productive affixes must be defined as those that cannot be used for the formation of occasional words and, consequently, such affixes as»-dom”,“-ship”,“-ful”,“-en”,“-ify”,“-ate” and many others are to be regarded as non-productive. The theory of relative productivity of derivational affixes is also corroborated by some other observations made on English word-formation.
For instance, different productive affixes are found in different periods of the history of the language. It is extremely significant, for example, that out of the seven verb-forming suffixes of the Old English period only one has survived up to the present time with a very low degree of productivity, namely the suffix “-en” (e. g. to soften, to darken, to whiten). [6,39]
Furthermore, there are cases when a derivational affix being nonproductive in the non-specialized section of the vocabulary is used to coin scientific or technical terms. This is the case, for instance, with the suffix “-ance” which has been used to form some terms in Electrical Engineering, e.g. capacitance, impedance, reactance. The same is true of the suffix “-ity” which has been used to form terms in physics, and chemistry such as alkalinity, luminosity, emissivity and some others. [10,67]
Derivational morphemes affixed before the stem are called prefixes. Prefixes modify the lexical meaning of the stem, but in so doing them seldom affect its basic lexico-grammatical component. Therefore, both the simple word and its prefixed derivative mostly belong to the same part of speech. The prefix “mis-“, for instance, when added to verbs, conveys the meaning “wrongly”, “badly”, “unfavorably”; it does not suggest any other part of speech but the verb. Compare the following oppositions: behave - misbehave, calculate - miscalculate, inform - misinform, lead - mislead, pronounce - mispronounce. The above oppositions are strictly proportional semantically, i.e. the same relationship between elements holds throughout the series. There may be other cases where the semantic relationship is slightly different but the general lexico-grammatical meaning remains, (cf. giving - misgiving, take - mistake and trust - mistrust.) [16, 65]
Prefixation is the formation of words by means of adding a prefix to the stem. In English it is characteristic for forming verbs. Prefixes are more independent than suffixes. Prefixes can be classified according to the nature of words in which they are used: prefixes used in notional words and prefixes used in functional words. Prefixes used in notional words are proper prefixes which are bound morphemes, e.g. “un-»(unhappy). Prefixes used in functional words are semi-bound morphemes because they are met in the language as words, e.g. “over-“(overhead).
The main function of prefixes in English is to change the lexical meaning of the same part of speech. But the recent research showed that about twenty-five prefixes in Modern English form one part of speech from another (“bebutton, “interfamily”, “postcollege” etc). [8,124]
Prefixes can be classified according to different principles:
1. Semantic classification:
The semantic effect of a prefix may be termed adverbial because it modifies the idea suggested by the stem for manner, time, place, degree and so on. A few examples will prove the point. It has been already shown that the prefix “mis-»is equivalent to the adverbs wrongly and badly, therefore by expressing evaluation it modifies the corresponding verbs for manner.1 The prefixes pre- and post- refer to time and order, e. g. historic - pre-historic, pay - prepay, view -preview. The last word means “to view a film or a play before “it is submitted to the general public'. Compare also: graduate: postgraduate (about the course of study carried on after graduation), Impressionism: Post-impressionism. The latter is so called because it came after Impressionism as a reaction against it. The prefixes “in-“,” a-“,” ab-“, “super-“, “sub-“, “trans-»modify the stem for place, e. g. income, abduct `to carry away', subway, transatlantic. Several prefixes serve to modify the meaning of the stem for degree and size. [15,137] the examples are “out-“, “over-“and “under-“.
a) Prefixes of negative meaning, such as: “in-“(invaluable),” non-“(nonformals),” un-“(unfree) etc,
The group of negative prefixes is so numerous that some scholars even find it convenient to classify prefixes into negative and non-negative ones. The negative ones are: “de-“, “dis”-,“in-»“im-“,” il-“, “ir-“. Part of this group has been also more accurately classified as prefixes giving negative, reverse or opposite meaning. [6, 165]
The general idea of negation is expressed by “dis-” it may mean “not”, and be simply negative or “the reverse of, “asunder”, “away”, “apart” and then it is called reversative. Cf. agree - disagree (not to agree) appear - disappear (disappear is the reverse of appear), appoint - disappoint (to undo the appointment and thus frustrate the expectation), “disgorge” (eject as from the throat), “dishouse “(throw out, evict).
b) Prefixes denoting repetition or reversal actions, such as: “de-“(decolonize) “re-“(revegetation), “dis-“(disconnect)
c) Prefixes denoting time, space, degree relations, such as: “inter-“(interplanetary), “hyper-“(hypertension), “ex-“(ex-student), “pre-“(pre-election), “over-“(over drugging) etc.
2. Origin of prefixes:
From the point of view of etymology, affixes are subdivided into two main classes: the native affixes and the borrowed affixes. By native affixes, we shall mean those that existed in English in the Old English period or were formed from Old English words. The latter category needs some explanation. The changes a morpheme undergoes in the course of language history may be of very different kinds. A bound form, for instance, may be developed from a free one. This is precisely the case with such English suffixes as “-dom”, “-hood”, “-lock”, “-ful”, “-less”, “-like”, “-ship”, The suffix»-hood” that we see in childhood, boyhood is derived from Old English had “state”. The OE “-dom “was also a suffix denoting state. The process may be summarized as follows: first “-dom “formed the second element of compound words, and then it became a suffix and lastly was so fused with the stem as to become a dead suffix in wedlock. The nouns freedom, wisdom, etc. were originally compound words. The most important native suffixes are: “-d”, “-dom”, “-ed”, “-en”, “-fold”, “-ful”, “-hood”, “-ing”, “-ish”, “-less”, “-let”, “-like”, “-lock”, “-ly”, “-ness”, “-oc”, “-red”, “-ship”, “-some”,“-teen”,” -th”, “-ward”, “-wise”,”-y”. [9, 77]
a) Native (Germanic), such as: “un-“, “over-“, “under-“etc.
b) Romanic, such as: “in-“, “de-“,”ex-“, “re-“etc.
c) Greek, such as: “sym-“, “hyper-“etc.
When we analyze such words as: “adverb”, “accompany” where we can find the root of the word (verb, company) we may treat “ad-“,“ac-“as prefixes though they were never used as prefixes to form new words in English and were borrowed from Romanic languages together with words. In such cases we can treat them as derived words. But some scientists treat them as simple words. Another group of words with a disputable structure are such as: “contain”, “retain”, “detain” and “conceive”, “receive”, “deceive” where we can see that “re-“, “de-“, “con-»act as prefixes and “-tain”, “-ceive” can be understood as roots. But in English these combinations of sounds have no lexical meaning and are called pseudo-morphemes. Some scientists treat such words as simple words, others as derived ones. [11, 56]
The majority of prefixes affect only the lexical meaning of words but there are three important cases where prefixes serve to form words belonging to different parts of speech as compared with the original word. These are in the first place the verb-forming prefixes “be-»and “en-“, which combine functional meaning with a certain variety of lexical meanings. “Be-“forms transitive verbs with adjective, verb and noun stems and changes intransitive verbs into transitive ones. Examples are: belittle (v) “to make little”, benumb (v) “to make numb”, befriend (v) “to treat” [3, 182]
Conversion is the derivational process whereby an item changes its word class without the addition of an affix. [1,89 ] Thus, when the noun “sign” shifts to the verb “sign(ed)” without any change in the word form we can say this is a case of conversion. However, it does not mean that this process takes place in all the cases of homophones [3, 68]. Sometimes, the connection has to do with coincidences or old etymological ties that have been lost. For example, “mind” and “matter” are cases of this grammatical sameness without connection by conversion-the verbs have nothing to do today with their respective noun forms in terms of semantics.
Conversion is particularly common in English because the basic form of nouns and verbs is identical in many cases. It is usually impossible in languages with grammatical genders, declensions or conjugations. [11, 43]
The status of conversion is a bit unclear. It must be undoubtedly placed within the phenomena of word-formation; nevertheless, there are some doubts about whether it must be considered a branch of derivation or a separate process by itself (with the same status as derivation or compounding). [5, 88]
Despite this undetermined position in grammar, some scholars assert that conversion will become even more active in the future because it is a very easy way to create new words in English. There is no way to know the number of conversions appearing every day in the spoken language, although we know this number must be high. As it is a quite recent phenomenon, the written evidence is not a fully reliable source. We will have to wait a little longer to understand its whole impact, which will surely increase in importance in the next decades.
Conversion is a characteristic feature of the English word-building system. It is also called affixless derivation or zero-suffixation. Saying that, however, is saying very little because there are other types of word building in which new words are also formed without affixes (most compounds, contracted words, sound-imitation words, etc.). [3,150] the notion of conversion is to re-classification of secondary word classes within one part of speech, a phenomenon also called transposition.
Conversion consists in making a new word from some existing word by changing the category of a part of speech, the morphemic shape of the original word remaining unchanged. The new word has a meaning, which differs from that of the original one though it can more or less be easily associated with it. It has also a new paradigm peculiar to its new category as a part of speech. The term «conversion» first appeared in the book by Henry Sweet «New English Grammar» in 1891. Conversion is treated differently by different scientists, e.g. prof. A.I. Smirntitsky treats conversion as a morphological way of forming words when one part of speech is formed from another part of speech by changing its paradigm, e.g. to form the verb «to dial» from the noun «dial» we change the paradigm of the noun (“a dial”,”dials”) for the paradigm of a regular verb (I dial, he dials, dialed, dialing). A. Marchand in his book “The Categories and Types of Present-day English” treats conversion as a morphological-syntactical word-building because we have not only the change of the paradigm, but also the change of the syntactic function, e.g. I need some good paper for my room. (The noun «paper» is an object in the sentence). I paper my room every year. (The verb «paper» is the predicate in the sentence) [1, 90]
Apart from the perhaps more obvious possibility to derive words with the help of affixes, there are a number of other ways to create new words on the basis of already existing ones. We have already illustrated these in the first chapter of this book, when we briefly introduced the notions of conversion, truncations, clippings, blends, and abbreviations. In this chapter we will have a closer look at these non-concatenative processes. We will begin with conversion. Conversion can be defined as the derivation of a new word without any overt marking. In order to find cases of conversion we have to look for pairs of words that are derivationally related and are completely identical in their phonetic realization.
As can be seen from the organization of the data, different types of conversion can be distinguished, in particular noun to verb, verb to noun, adjective to verb and adjective to noun. Other types can also be found, but seem to be more marginal (e.g. the use of prepositions as verbs, as in to down the can). Conversion raises three major theoretical problems that we will discuss in the following: the problem of directionality, the problem of zero-morphs and the problem of the morphology-syntax boundary. [11, 92]
The question of conversion has, for a long time, been a controversial one in several aspects. The essence of this process has been treated by a number of scholars (e. g. H. Sweet), not as a word-building act, but as a mere functional change. From this point of view the word hand in Hand me that book is not a verb, but a noun used in a verbal syntactical function, that is, hand (me) and hands (in She has small hands) are not two different words but one. Hence, the ñàså cannot be treated as one of word-formation for no new word appears. [15,128]
According to this functional approach, conversion may be regarded as a specific feature of the English categories of parts of speech, which are supposed to be able to break through the rigid borderlines dividing one category from another thus enriching the process of communication not by the creation of new words but through the sheer flexibility of the syntactic structures.
Nowadays this theory finds increasingly fewer supporters, and conversion is universally accepted as one of the major ways of enriching English vocabulary with new words. One of the major arguments for this approach to conversion is the semantic change that regularly accompanies each instance of conversion. Normally, a word changes its syntactic function without any shift in lexical meaning. E. g. “both in yellow leaves and in the leaves were turning yellow the adjective denotes color”. Yet, in the leaves yellowed the converted unit no longer denotes color, but the process of changing color, so that there is an essential change in meaning. The change of meaning is even more obvious in such pairs as “hand” - “to hand”, “face” - “to face”, “to go” - “a go”, “to make” -»a make”, etc. [15,180]
The two categories of parts of speech especially affected by conversion are nouns and verbs. Verbs made from nouns are the most numerous amongst the words produced by conversion: e. g. “to hand”, “to back”, “to face”, “to eye”, “to mouth”, “to nose”, “to dog”, “to wolf”, “to monkey”, “to can”,” to coal”, “to stage”, “to screen”, “to room”, “to floor”, “to blackmail”, “to blacklist”, “to honeymoon”, and very many others.
Nouns are frequently made from verbs: do (e. g. “This is the queerest do I've ever come across. Do -- event, incident”), go (e. g.” He has still plenty of go at his age. Go -- energy”), “make”, “run”, “find”, “catch”, “cut”, “walk”, “worry”, “show”, “move”, etc.
Verbs can also be made from adjectives: “to pale”, “to yellow”, “to cool”, “to grey', “to rough” (e. g. “We decided to rough it in the tents as the weather was warm”), etc.
Verbs can be formed from nouns of different semantic groups and have different meanings because of that, e.g.
a) Verbs have instrumental meaning if they are formed from nouns denoting parts of a human body e.g. to eye, to finger, to elbow, to shoulder etc. They have instrumental meaning if they are formed from nouns denoting tools, machines, instruments, weapons, e.g. to hammer, to machine-gun, to rifle, to nail,
b) Verbs can denote an action characteristic of the living being denoted by the noun from which they have been converted, e.g. to crowd, to wolf, to ape,
c) Verbs can denote acquisition, addition or deprivation if they are formed from nouns denoting an object, e.g. to fish, to dust, to peel, to paper,
d) Verbs can denote an action performed at the place denoted by the noun from which they have been converted, e.g. to park, to garage, to bottle, to corner, to pocket,
e) Verbs can denote an action performed at the time denoted by the noun from which they have been converted e.g. to winter, to week-end. [11, 94]
Verbs can be also converted from adjectives, in such cases they denote the change of the state, e.g. “to tame” (“to become or make tame”), “to clean”, “to slim” etc. Nouns can also be formed by means of conversion from verbs.
Converted nouns can denote:
a) instant of an action e.g. “a jump”, “a move”,
b) process or state e.g. “sleep”,” walk”,
c) agent of the action expressed by the verb from which the noun has been converted, e.g. “a help”, “a flirt”,” a scold”,
d) object or result of the action expressed by the verb from which the noun has been converted, e.g. “a burn”, “a find”, “a purchase”,
e) place of the action expressed by the verb from which the noun has been converted, e.g. “a drive”, “a stop”, “a walk”. Many nouns converted from verbs can be used only in the Singular form and denote momentaneous actions. In such cases we have partial conversion. Such deverbal nouns are often used with such verbs as: “to have”, “to get”, “to take” etc., e.g. “to have a try”, “to give a push”, “to take a swim”. [10, 95]
Less frequent but also quite possible is conversion from form words to nouns. e. g. “He liked to know the ins and outs.” “Shan't go into the whys and wherefores.” “He was familiar with ups and downs of life.” Use is even made of affixes. Thus, ism is a separate word nowadays meaning `a set of ideas or principles', e. g. “Freudism”, existentialism and all the other “-isms”.
In all the above examples the change of paradigm is present and helpful for classifying the newly coined words as cases of conversion. But it is not absolutely necessary, because conversion is not limited to such parts of speech which possess a paradigm. That, for example, may be converted into an adverb in informal speech: I was that hungry I could have eaten a horse. [3,189]
English speaker realizes the immense potentiality of making a word into another part of speech when the need arises. One should guard against thinking that every case of noun and verb (verb and adjective, adjective and noun, etc.) with the same morphemic shape results from conversion. There are numerous pairs of words (e. g. love, n. -- to love, v.; work, n. -- to work, v.; drink, n. -- to drink, v., etc.) which did, not occur due to conversion but coincided as a result of certain historical processes (dropping of endings, simplification of stems) when before that they had different forms. On the other hand, it is quite true that the first cases of conversion (which were registered n the 14th c.) imitated such pairs of words as love, n. -- to love, v. for they were numerous in the vocabulary and were subconsciously accepted by native speakers as one of the typical language patterns [6, 167]
In the process of communication, words and word-groups can be shortened. The causes of shortening can be linguistic and extra-linguistic. By extra- linguistic causes, changes in the life of people are meant. In Modern English many new abbreviations, acronyms, initials, blends are formed because the tempo of life is increasing and it becomes necessary to give more and more information in the shortest possible time. There are also linguistic causes of abbreviating words and word-groups, such as the demand of rhythm, which is satisfied in English by monosyllabic words. When borrowings from other languages are assimilated in English, they are shortened. Here we have modification of form on the basis of analogy, e.g. the Latin borrowing “fanaticus” is shortened to «fan» on the analogy with native words: man, pan, tan etc. There are two main types of shortenings: graphical and lexical. [2,209]
1. If the abbreviated written form lends itself to be read as though it were an ordinary English word and sounds like an English word, it will be read like one. The words thus formed are called acronyms (from Gr. “acros“- end +”onym “- name). This way of forming new words is becoming more and more popular in almost all fields of human activity, and especially in political and technical vocabulary: “U.N.O”., also” UNO - United Nations Organization”, “NATO -- the North Atlantic Treaty Organization”, “SALT--Strategic Arms Limitation Talks”. The last example shows that acronyms are often homonymous to ordinary words; sometimes intentionally chosen so as to create certain associations. Thus, for example, the National Organization for Women is called NOW. Typical of acronymic coinages in technical terminology are JATO, laser, maser and radar. JATO or “jato” means “jet-assisted take-off”; “laser” stands for “light amplification by stimulated emission radiation”; “maser”- for “micro-wave amplification and stimulated emission radiation”;” radar” -“for radio detection and ranging, it denotes a system for ascertaining direction and ranging of aircraft, ships, coasts and other objects by means of electro-magnetic waves which they reflect”. Acronyms became so popular that their number justified the publication of special dictionaries, such as D.D. Spencer's “Computer Acronym Handbook”. [5,189] Acronyms present a special interest because they exemplify the working of the lexical adaptive system. In meeting the needs of communication and fulfilling the laws of information theory requiring a maximum signal in the minimum time the lexical system undergoes modification in its basic structure: namely it forms new elements not by combining existing morphemes and proceeding from sound forms to their graphic representation but the other way round - coining new words from the initial letters of phrasal terms originating in texts.
2. The other subgroup consists of initial abbreviation with the alphabetical reading retained, i.e. pronounced as a series of letters. They also retain correlation with prototypes. The examples are well known: “B.B.C. - the British Broadcasting Corporation”; “G.I. - for Government Issue”, a widely spread metonymical name for American soldiers on the items of whose uniforms these letters are stamped. The last abbreviation was originally an Americanism but has been firmly established in British English as well. “M.P” is mostly used as an initial abbreviation for Member of Parliament, also military police, whereas “P.M.” stands for Prime Minister.
Abbreviations are freely used in colloquial speech as seen from the following extract, in which ÑÐ. Snow describes the House of Commons gossip: They were swapping promises to speak for one another: one was bragging how two senior Ministers were “in the bag” to speak for him. Roger was safe, someone said, he'd give a hand. “What has the P.M. got in mind for Roger when we come back?” The familiar colloquial quality of the context is very definitely marked by the set expressions: in the bag, give a hand, get in mind, etc. [12, 34]
3. The term abbreviation may be also used for a shortened form of a written word or phrase used in a text in place of the whole for economy of space and effort. Abbreviation is achieved by omission of letters from one or more parts of the whole, as for instance “abbr” for abbreviation, “bldg”- for building, “govt”- for government, “wd”- for word, “doz” or “dz” for dozen, “ltd” for limited, “B.A”.- for Bachelor of Arts, “N.Y”.- for New York State. Sometimes the part or parts retained show some alteration, thus, “oz” denotes ounce and “Xmas” denotes Christmas. [15, 34]
4. An interesting feature of present-day English is the use of initial abbreviations for famous persons' names and surnames. Thus, George Bernard Shaw is often alluded to as G.B.S., Herbert George Wells as H.G. The usage is clear from the following example: “Oh, yes... where was I?” “With H.G.'s Martians,” [7,137]
There is no uniformity in semantic relationships between the elements: Z-bar is a metallic bar with a cross section shaped like the letter “Z”, while “Z-hour” is an abbreviation of “zero-hour” meaning “the time set for the beginning of the attack”, “U” is standing for upper classes in such combinations as “U-pronunciation”, “U-language”. Cf. “U-boat” (a submarine). Non-U is its opposite.
It will have been noted that all kinds of shortening are very productive in present-day English. They are especially numerous in colloquial speech, both familiar colloquial and professional slang. They display great combining activity and form bases for further word-formation and inflection.
Abbreviation of words consists in clipping a part of a word. As a result we get a new lexical unit where either the lexical meaning or the style is different from the full form of the word. In such cases as »fantasy» and «fancy», «fence» and «defence» we have different lexical meanings. In such cases as «laboratory» and «lab», we have different styles. [2,112]
Abbreviation does not change the part-of-speech meaning, as we have it in the case of conversion or affixation, it produces words belonging to the same part of speech as the primary word, e.g. “prof” is a noun and professor is also a noun. Mostly nouns undergo abbreviation, but we can also meet abbreviation of verbs, such as to rev from to revolve, to tab from to tabulate etc. But mostly abbreviated forms of verbs are formed by means of conversion from abbreviated nouns, e.g. “to taxi”, “to vac” etc. Adjectives can be abbreviated but they are mostly used in school slang and are combined with suffixation, e.g. comfy, dilly, mizzy etc. As rule pronouns, numerals, interjections, conjunctions are not abbreviated. The exceptions are: “fif” (fifteen), “teenager”, in one's teens [7,189]
Lexical abbreviations are classified according to the part of the word which is clipped. Mostly the end of the word is clipped, because the beginning of the word in most cases is the root and expresses the lexical meaning of the word.
This type of abbreviation is called “deflexion” or“apocope”. Here we can mention a group of words ending in “o”, such as disco (dicotheque), expo (exposition), intro (introduction) and many others. On the analogy with these words there developed in Modern English a number of words where «o» is added as a kind of a suffix to the shortened form of the word, e.g. combo (combination),” Afro” (African) etc. In other cases the beginning of the word is clipped. In such cases we have apheresis, e.g. “chute” (parachute), “varsity” (university), “copter” (helicopter), “thuse” (enthuse) etc. Sometimes the middle of the word is clipped, e.g. “mart” (market), “fanzine” (fan magazine) “maths” (mathematics). Such abbreviations are called syncope. Sometimes we have a combination of apocope with apheresis,when the beginning and the end of the word are clipped, e.g. tec (detective), van (avanguard) etc. [8,176] Sometimes shortening influences the spelling of the word, e.g. «c» can be substituted by «k» before «e» to preserve pronunciation, e.g. mike (microphone), Coke (coca-cola) etc. The same rule is observed in the following cases: fax (facsimile), teck (technical college), trank (tranquilizer) etc. The final consonants in the shortened forms are substituted by letters characteristic of native English words.
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