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WAYS OF FORMING COMPOUND WORDS.

Compound words in English can be formed not only by means of composition but also by means of :

a) reduplication, e.g. too-too, and also by means of reduplicatin combined with sound interchange , e.g. rope-ripe,

b) conversion from word-groups, e.g. to micky-mouse, can-do, makeup etc,

c) back formation from compound nouns or word-groups, e.g. to bloodtransfuse, to fingerprint etc ,

d) analogy, e.g. lie-in ( on the analogy with sit-in) and also phone-in, brawn-drain (on the analogy with brain-drain) etc.

CONVERSIONConversion is a characteristic feature of the English word-building system. It is also called affixless derivation or zero-suffixation. 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). Conversion is the main way of forming verbs in Modern English. 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 .

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 .

SHORTENING(or contracted/curtailed words) are produced in two different ways. The first is to make a new word from a syllable (rarer, two) of the original word. The latter may lose its beginning (as in phone made from telephone, fence from defence), its ending (as in hols from holidays, vac from vacation, props from properties, ad from advertisement) or both the beginning and ending (as in flu from influenza, fridge from refrigerator).

The second way of shortening is to make a new word from the initial letters of a word group: U.N.O. from the United Nations Organisation, B.B.C. from the British Broadcasting Corporation, M.P. from Member of Parliament. This type is called initial shortenings. They are found not only among formal words, such as the ones above, but also among colloquialisms and slang. So, g. f. is a shortened word made from the compound girl-friend.

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).

The shortening of words involves the shortening of both words and word-groups. Distinction should he made between shortening of a word in written speech (graphical abbreviation) and in the sphere of oral intercourse (lexical abbreviation). Lexical abbreviations may be used both in written and in oral speech. Lexical abbreviation is the process of forming a word out of the initial elements (letters, morphemes) of a word combination by a simultaneous operation of shortening and compounding.

 

6. Non-productive ways of word-formation in English: back-formation, blending, sound-imitation, sound & stress interchange.

Back-Formation (Reversion)

The earliest examples of this type of word-building are the verb to beg that was made from the French borrowing beggar, to burgle from burglar, to cobble from cobbler. In all these cases the verb was made from the noun by subtracting what was mistakenly associated with the English suffix -er. The pattern of the type to work worker was firmly established in the subconscious of English-speaking people at the time when these formations appeared, and it was taken for granted that any noun denoting profession or occupation is certain to have a corresponding verb of the same root. So, in the case of the verbs to beg, to burgle, to cobble the process was reversed: instead of a noun made from a verb by affixation (as in painter from to paint), a verb was produced from a noun by subtraction. That is why this type of word-building received the name of back-formation or reversion.

Later examples of back-formation are to butle from butler, to baby-sit from baby-sitter, to force-land from forced landing, to blood-transfuse from blood-transfuing sorry for everybody who isn't a girl and who can't come here, I am sure the college you attended when you were a boy couldn't have been so nice.

Blending is a word-formation process of forming a new lexeme from parts of two or more other words.

E.g. smog < smoke + fog, brunch < breakfast + lunch, tranceiver < transmitter + receiver, bit < binary digit, chunnel < channel + tunnel

Sound-imitation It is the way of word-building when a word is formed by imitating different sounds. There are some semantic groups of words formed by means of sound imitation a sounds produced by human beings, such as to whisper, to giggle, to mumble, to sneeze, to whistle etc. b sounds produced by animals, birds, insects, such as to hiss, to buzz, to bark, to moo, to twitter etc. c sounds produced by nature and objects, such as to splash, to rustle, to clatter, to bubble, to ding-dong, to tinkle etc.

Sound interchange Sound interchange is the way of word-building when some sounds are changed to form a new word. It is non-productive in Modern English, it was productive in Old English and can be met in other Indo-European languages.

The causes of sound interchange can be different. It can be the result of Ancient Ablaut which cannot be explained by the phonetic laws during the period of the language development known to scientists., e.g. to strike - stroke, to sing - song etc. It can be also the result of Ancient Umlaut or vowel mutation which is the result of palatalizing the root vowel because of the front vowel in the syllable coming after the root ( regressive assimilation), e.g. hot - to heat (hotian), blood - to bleed (blodian) etc.

Stress interchange can be mostly met in verbs and nouns of Romanic origin : nouns have the stress on the first syllable and verbs on the last syllable, e.g. `accent - to ac`cent. This phenomenon is explained in the following way: French verbs and nouns had different structure when they were borrowed into English, verbs had one syllable more than the corresponding nouns. When these borrowings were assimilated in English the stress in them was shifted to the previous syllable (the second from the end) . Later on the last unstressed syllable in verbs borrowed from French was dropped and after that the stress in verbs was on the last syllable while in nouns it was on the first syllable. As a result of it we have such pairs in English as : to af`fix -`affix, to con`flict- `conflict, to ex`port -`export, to ex`tract - `extract etc.

 

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