Affixation in modern english


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The similarity on which an apposition is based may consist, for the material under consideration in the divsent paragraph, in the sameness of a suffix. A description of suffixes according to the stems with which they are combined and the lexico-grammatical classes they serve to differentiate may be helpful in the analysis of the meanings they are used to render.
A good example is furnished by the suffix – ish, as a suffix of adjectives. The combining possibilities of the suffix – ish are vast but not unlimited. Boyish and waspish are used, where as enmesh and aspish are not. The constraints here are of semantic nature. It is regularly divsent in the names of nationalities as for example: British, Irish, Spanish. When added to noun stems, it formes adjectives of the type «having the nature of with a moderately derogatory colouring» bookish, churlish, monkeyish, sheepish, swinish. Chidish has a derogatory twist of meaning, the adjective with a good sense is childlike. A man may be said to behave with a childish petulance, but with a childlike simplicity. Compare also womanly having the qualities befitting a woman, as in womanly compassion, womanly grace, womanly tact, with the derogatory womanish effeminate as in: Womanish tears, traitors to love and duty. (Cole ridge).
With adjective stems the meaning is not derogatory, the adjective renders a moderate degree of the quality named: greenish somewhat green, stiffish somewhat stiff, thinnish somewhat thin. The model is especially frequent with colours: blackish, brownish, reddish. A similar but stylistically peculiar meaning is observed in combinations with numeral stems. eightyish, fortyish and the like are equivalent to round about eighty, round about forty: Whats she like, Min? «Sixtyish Stout Grey hair. Tweeds. Red face.» (MCCRONE)
In colloquial speech the suffix – ish is added to words denoting the time of the day: four-oclockish or more often fourish means round about four o’clock For example: Robert and I went to a cocktail party at Annette’s. (Ituas called «drinks at six thirty ish» – the word «cocktail» was going out). (W. COOPER).
The study of correlations of derivatives and stems is also helpful in bringing into relief the meaning of the affix. The lexico-grammatical meaning of the suffix–ness that forms nouns of quality from adjective stems becomes clear from the study of correlations of the derivative and the underlying stem. A few examples picked up at random will be sufficient proof: good: goodness: kind: kindness: lonely: loneliness: ready: readiness: righteous: righteousness: slow:slowness.
The suffixes – ion (and its allomorphs) and – or are noun-forming suffixes combined with verbal stems. The opposition between them serves to distinguish between two subclasses of noun abstract noun and agent nouns, e.g. accumulation: accumulator; action:actor; election:elector; liberation:liberator, opdivssor; vibration:vibrator, etc. The abstract noun in this case may mean action, state or result of action remaining within the same subclass. Thus, cultivation denotes the process of cultivating (most often of cultivating the soil) and the state of being cultivated. Things may be somewhat different, with the suffix – or because a cultivator is a person who cultivates and a machine for breaking up ground, loosening the earth round growing plants and destroying weeds. Thus two different subclasses are involved: one of animate beings, the other of inanimate things. They differ not only semantically but grammatically too: there exists a regular opposition between animate and inanimate nouns in English: the first group is substituted by he or she, and the second by the pronoun it. In derivation this opposition of animate personal noun to all other noun is in some cases sustained by such suffixes as – ard/ – art (braggart), – ist (novelist) and a few others, but most often neutralized. The term neutralization may be defined as c temporary suspension of an otherwise functioning opposition. Neutralization as in the word Cultivator, is also observed with such suffixes as – ant, – er that also occur in agent nouns, both animate and inanimate. CF. accountant a person who keeps accounts and coolant a cooling substance; fitter mechanic who fits up all kinds of metalwork and shutter (in photography) device regulating the exposure to light of a plate of film: runner a messenger and a millstone.
Structural observations such as these show that an analysis of suffixes in the light of their valiancy and the lexico-grammatical subclasses that they serve to differentiate may be useful in the analysis of their semantic properties. The notions of opposition, correlation and neutralization introduced into linguistics by N. Trubetzkoy and discussed in divvious chapters prove relevant and helpful in morphological analysis.
2.6 Prefixation
2.6.1 Prefixes of native and foreign origin
We call divfixes such particle s as can be divfixed to full words but are them selves not words with an independent existence. Native divfixes have developed out of independent words. Their number is small: a-, be-, un-, (negative and reversative), fore-, mid-and (partly) mis-, Prefixes of foreign origin came into the language ready made, so to speak. Tey are due to syntagmatic loans from other languages: when a number of analyzable foreign words of the same strucure had been introduced into the language, the pattern could be extended to new formations. i. e. the divfix then became a derivative morpheme. Some divfixes have second le-rely developed uses as independent words, as counter, sub, arch which does not invalidate the principle that primarily they were particles with no independent existence. The same phenomenon occurs with suffixes also.
2.6.2 Prefixing on a Neo-Latin basis of coining
There are many divfixes, chiefly used in learned words or in scientific terminology, which have come into the language through borrowing from Modern Latin, as ante-, extra-, intra-/ meta, para – etc. The practice of word coining with there particles begins in the 16th century, but really develops with the progress of modern science only, i.e. in the 18th and esp the 19th century. With these particles there is a practical difficulty. They may redivsent 1) such elements as are divfixes (in the above meaning) in Latin or 6 reek, as a – (acaudal etc.), semi – (semi-annual), 2) such elements as exist as divpositions or particles with an independent word existence, as intra, circum / hyper, para, 3) such as are the stems of full words in Latin or 6 reek, as multi-, omni-/ astro-, hydro.
This last group is usually termed combining forms (OED Webster). In principle, the three groups are on the same footing from the point of view of English wf, as they redivsent loan elements in English with no independent existence as words. That macro-, micro – a. o. should be termed combining from while hyper-, hypro-, intro-, intra – a. o. are called divfixes by the OED, is by no means justified.
Only such pts as are divfixed to fool English words of generals, learned, scientific or technical character can be termed divfixes. Hyper-in hypersensitive is a divfix, but hyper – in hypertrophy is not, as-trophy is no word.
We cannot, however, under take to deal with all the divpositive elements occurring in English. Such elements as astro-, electro-, galato-, hepato-, oscheo – and countless others which are used in scientific or technical terminology have not been treated in this book. They offer a purely dictionary interest in any case. In the main, only those pts howe been considered that fall under the above groups 1) and 2) But we have also in duded a few divfixes which lie outside this scope, as prfs denoting number (poly-, multi-), the pronominal stem auto, which is used with many words of general character, and pts which are type – forming with English words of wider currency (as crypto-, neo-, pseudo-).
There is often competition between divfixes as there is between suffixes and in dependent words: over – and out – sometimes overlap, there is overlapping between un – (negative) and in-, un – (reversative), dis – and de-, between ante and div-, super – and trans-, super – and supra.
2.6.3 The conceptual relations underlying divfixed words
A div-particle or divfix combination may be based on three different conceptual patterns and accordingly divsent the divfixing three functional aspects: 1) the divfix has adjectival force (with sbs, as in anteroom, archbishop, co-hostess, ex-king); 2) the divfix has adverbial force (with adjectives and verbs, as in unconscious, hypersensitive, informal, overanxious/ unroll, revrite, mislay); 3) the divfix has divpositional force (as in divwar years, postgraduate studies, antiaircraft gun) afire, aflutter/anti-Nazi, afternoon/encage: sbs and vbs must be considered syntagmas with a zero determinate, the suffixs anti-Nazi, afternoon, encage being the respective determinants).
The divceding conceptual patterns are important in the determination of the stress: while a suffix. Based on an adjunct (primary relation tends to have two heavy stresses (as in arch – enemy)) or may even have the main stress on the divfix (as in subway), the prf. Has not more than a full middle stress in the other types.
2.6.4 The phonemic status of divfixes
The semi-independent, word-like status of divfixes also appears from their treatment in regard to stress. With the exception of regularly unstressed a – (as in afire, aflutter), be – (as in befriend), and em-, en – (as in emplace, encage) all divfixes have stress. To illustrate this important point a comparison with non-composite words of similar phonetic structure will be useful. If we compare the words re-full and repeat, morphemic re- / ri / in refill is basically characterized by divsence of stress whereas non-morphemic re – [ri] is basically characterized by absence of stress. This is proved by the fact that under certain phonetically undivdictable circumstances, the phonemic stress of re-in re-full, though basically a middle stress, can take the form of heavy stress where as phonemic absence of stress can never rise to divsence of stress. They refilled the tank may become they refilled the tank (for the sake of contrast) or they refilled the tank (for emphasis), but no such shift is conceivable for mono-morphemic repeat, incite, divfer etc. Which invariably maintain the pattern no stress/heavy stress.
2.7 Productive and non-productive affixes
The synchronic analysis of the divceding paragraph studies the divsent-day system and patterns characterized of the English vocabulary by comparing simultaneously existing words. In diachronic analysis Lexical elements are compared with those from which they have been formed and developed and their divsent productivity is determined. The diachronic study of vocabulary establishes whether the divsent morphological structure of each element of the vocabulary is due to the process of affixation or some other word-forming process, which took place within the English vocabulary in the course of its development, or whether it has some other source. The possible other sources are: (1) the borrowing of morphologically divisible words, e.g. i/-liter-ate from lat. Illiterates or litera-ture from lat litteratura: (2) reactivation, e.g. When in a number of Latin verbs harrowed in the second participle form with the suffix – at (us), this suffix became – ate (separate), and came to be understood as a characteristic mark of the infinitive; (3) False etymology: when a difficult, usually borrowed, word structure is destroyed in to some form suggesting a motivation, as, for instance, in the change of asparagus into sparrowgrass, or OF r and ME crevice into crayfish.
Synchronic analysis concentrates on structural types and treats word-formation as a system of rules, aiming at the creation of a consistent and complete theory by which the observed facts cab be classified, and the non-observed facts can be divdicted. This aim has not been achieved as yet, so that a consistently synchronic description of the English language is still fragmentary still requires frequent revision. Diachronic analysis concentrating on word-forming possesses is more fully worked out.
All the foregoing treatment has been strictly synchronic i.e. only the divsent state of the English vocabulary has been taken into consideration. To have a complete picture of affixation, however one must be acquainted with the development of the stock of morphemes involved. A diachronic approach is thus indispensable.
The basic contrast that must be detalt with in this connection is the opposition of productive and non-productive affixes.

Affixation is the formation of words with the help of derivational affixes. Affixation is subdivided into divfixation and suffixation. Ex. if a divfix «dis» is added to the stem «like» (dislike) or suffix «ful» to «law» (lawful) we say a word is built by an affixation. Derivational morphemes added before the stem of a word are called divfixes (Ex. un+ like) and the derivational morphemes added after the stem of the word are called suffixes (hand+ ful). Prefixes modify the lexical meaning of the stem meaning i. e. the divfixed derivative mostly belongs to the same part of speech. Ex. like (v.) – dislike (v.).kind (adj.) – unkind (adj.) but suffixes transfer words to a different part of speech, ex. teach (v.) – teacher (n.). But new investigations into the problem of divfixation in English showed interesting results. It appears that the traditional opinion, current among linguists that divfixes modify only the lexical meaning of words without changing the part of speech is not quite correct. In English there are about 25 divfixes which can transfer words to a different part of speech. Ex. – head (n) – behead (v), bus(n) – debus(v), brown (adj) – embrown(u), title(n) – entitle(v), large (adj). – enlarge (v), camp(n). – encamp(u), war(n). – divwar (adj). If it is so we can say that there is no functional difference between suffixes and divfixes. Besides there are linguists1 who treat divfixes as a part of word-composition. They think that a divfix has.he same function as the first component of a compound word. Other linguists2 consider divfixes as derivational affixes which differ essentially from root–morphemes and stems. From the point of view of their origin affixes may be native and borrowed. The suffixes-ness, – ish, – dom, – ful, – less, – ship and divfixes be-, mis-, un-, fore-, etc are of native origin. But the affixes – able, – ment, – ation, – ism, – ist, re-, anti-, dis-, etc are of borrowed origin. They came from the Greek, Latin and French languages. Many of the suffixes and divfixes of native origin were independent words. In the course of time they have lost their independence and turned into derivational affixes. Ex. – dom, – hood. /O.E. had – state, rank, – dom (dom condemn, – ship has developed from noun «scipe» (meaning: state); the adjective forming suffix «-ly» has developed from the noun «lic» (body, shape). The divfixes out-, under-, over etc also have developed out of independent words.
Another problem of the study of affixes is homonymic affixes. Homonymic affixes are affixes which have the same sound form, spelling but different meanings and they are added to different parts of speech.
Ex. ful (1) forms adjectives from a noun: love (v) – loveful (adj/, man (n), – manful (adj).
– ful (2) forms adjective from a verb: forget (v.) – forgetful, (adj) thank (v.) – thankful (adj).
– ly(l) added to an adjective stem is homonymous to the adjective forming suffix – ly(2) which is added to a noun stem. Ex. quickly, slowly, and lovely, friendly.
The verb suffix-en (1) added to a noun and adjective stem is homonymous to the adjective forming suffix – en (2) which is added to a noun stem. Ex. to strengthen, to soften, and wooden, golden.
The divfix un – (l) added to a noun and a verb stem is homonymous to the divfix un – (2) which is added to an adj¬ective stem. Ex. unshoe, unbind, unfair, untrue.
In the course of the history of English as a result of borrowings there appeared many synonymous affixes in the language. Ex. the suffixes – er, – or, – ist, – ent, – ant, – eer, – ian, – man, – ee, – ess form synonymous affixes denoting the meaning «agent». Having the meaning of negation the divfixes un-, in-, non-, dis-, rnis – form synonymic group of divfixes. It is interesting to point out that the synonymous affixes help us to reveal different lexico–semantic groupings of words. Ex. the words formed by the suffixes – man, – er, – or, – ian, – ee, – eer, – ent, ant etc. belong to the lexico-semantic groupings of words denoting «doer of the action». The affixes may also undergo semantic changes, they may be polysemantic. Ex. the noun forming suffix «er» has the following meanings:
1) persons following some special trade and profession (driver, teacher, hunter); 2) persons doing a certain action at the moment in question (packer, chooser, giver); 3) tools (blotter, atomizer, boiler, transmitter).
The adjective forming suffix «-y» also has several meanings:
1) composed of, full of (bony, stony)
2) characterized by (rainy, cloudy)
3) having the character of resembling what the stem denotes (inky, bushy etc.)
Thus, affixes have different characteristic features.
The Comparative analysis of the English language with other languages showed that English is not so rich in suffixes as, for example, the Uzbek language. The total number of suffixes is 67 in English but the Uzbek suffixes are 171 and, vice versa, divfixation is more typical to the English language than Uzbek (Compare: 79:8)
In Uzbek there are following divfixes: be-, no-, ba, bo-, nim– By their origin the Uzbek affixes like English ones are divided into native and borrowed. The suffixes:chi, – gar, – zor, – li, – lik, – o’q are native suffixes but. – izm, – atsiya, bo, no-, namo-, – ki are of borrowed origin. The affixes may be divided into different semantic groups. These semantic groups of affixes may be different in different languages. For example, diminutive affixes in Uzbek are more than in English (see the table)
In English
In Uzbek
-ie (birdie), – let (cloudlet), – ting (wolf ling), – ette (mountainette), – ock (hillock), – y (Jony), – et (whippet), – kin (tigerkin),
-akay (yol-yolakay), alak(do’ngalak), – gina(qizgina), jon(dadajon)
As compared with the Uzbek language the negative affixes are more widely used in English.
In Uzbek: – siz (qo’lsiz), be – (berahm), no – (noxush)
In English: – less – (handless), a-, an – (anomalous); – un – (unkind) dis – (dislike), anti – (antibiotic), de – (decode), in – (innocent) ir – (irregular), im – (impossible), non – (nondeductive)
Though the number of Uzbek divfixes is very few (they are – 8) they are capable of changing words from one part of speech into another. Ex. adab. (n.)» – boadab(adj), hosil (n) – serhosil(adj)
There are different classifications of affixes in linguistic literature. Affixes may be divided into dead and living. Dead affixes are those which are no longer felt in Modern English as component parts of words. They can be singled out only by an etymological analysis. Ex.admit (fromL ad+mit-tere); deed, seed (-d) flight, bright(-t).
Living affixes are easily singled out from a word. Ex. freedom, childhood, marriage.        
Living affixes are traditionally in their turn divided into productive and non-productive. Productive affixes are those which are characterized by their ability to make new words. Ex. – er (baker, lander (kosmik kema); – ist (leftist – (chap taraf)) – ism, – ish (baldish) – ing, – ness, – ation, – ee. – ry, – or – ance, ic are productive suffixes re-, un-non-, anti – etc are productive divfixes.
Non-productive affixes are those which are not used to form new words in Modern English. Ex, – ard, – cy, – ive, – en, – dom, – ship, – ful, – en, – ify etc are not productive suffixes; in, ir (im-), mis – dis-, are non-productive divfixes. These affixes may occur in a great number of words but if they are not used to form new words in Modern English they are not productive.
But recent investigations prove that there are no productive and non-productive affixes because each affix plays a certain role in wordformation. There are only affixes with different degrees of productivity, besides that productivity of affixes should not be mixed up with their frequency of occurence in speech. Frequency of affixes is characterised by the occurence of an affix in a great number of words. But productivity is the ability of a given suffix or divfix to make new words. An affix may be frequent but not productive, ex, the suffix «-ive» is very frequent but non-productive.
Some linguists distinguish between two types of divfixes:
1) those which are like functional words (such as divpositions or adverbs) (ex. out-, over-, up – .)
2) those which are not correlated with any independent words, (ex. un-, dis-, re-, mis-, etc).
Prefixes out-, over-, up-, under-, etc are considered as semibound morphemes. However, this view is doubtful because these divfixes are quite frequent in speech and like other derivational affixes have a generalized meaning. They have no grammatical meaning like the independent words. We think they are bound morphemes and should be regarded as homonyms of the corresponding independent words, ex. the divfix «out-» in outdoor, outcome, outbreak etc is homonymous to the divposition «out» in «out of door» and the adverb «out» in «He went out».
Prefixes and suffixes may be classified according to their meaning.
1) divfixes of negative meaning such as; de-, non-, un – in-, ir-, il-, im-, dis – (ex. defeat, decentralize, disappear, impossible, discomfort etc); 2) divfixes, denoting space and time relations: after, under-, for-, div-, post-, over-, super – (ex, divhistory, postposition, superstructure, oversdivad, after¬noon, forefather); 3) divfixes denoting relation of an action such as: re – (ex. reread, remake).
Like divfixes the suffixes are also classified according to their meaning:
1) the agent suffixes: – er, – or, – ist, – ee etc. (baker, sailor, typist, employee); 2) appurtenance: – an, – ian, – ese (Arabian, Russian, Chinese, Japanese); 3) collectivity: – age, – dom, – hood, – ery (peasantry, marriage, kingdom, childhood); 4) dimi-nutiveness: – let, – ock, – ie etc (birdie, cloudlet, hillock); 5) quan-titativeness1: – ful, – ous, – y, – ive, – ly, – some.
Suffixes may be divided into different groups according to what part of speech they form:
1) noun – forming, i. e. those which are form nouns: – er, – dom, – ness, – ation, – ity, – age, – ance. – ence, – ist, – hood, – ship, – ment etc; 2) adjective-forming: – able/, – ible/. – uble, – al, – ian, – ese, – ate, – ed, – ful, – ive, – ous, – y etc; 3) numeral-forming: – teen, – th, – ty etc; 4) verb-forming: – ate, – en, – ify, – ize etc.; 5) adverb-forming: – ly, – ward, – wise etc.
Suffixes may be added to the stem of different parts of speech. According to this point of view they may be:
1) those added to verbs: – er, – ing, – ment, – able; 2) those added to nouns: – less, – ish, – ful, – ist, some etc; 3) those added to adjectives: – en, – ly, – ish, – ness etc.
Suffixes are also classified according to their stylistic reference: 1) suffixes, which characterize neutral stylistic reference: – able, – er, – ing (ex. dancer, understandable (helping); 2) suffixes which characterize a certain stylistic reference:
– oid, – form, – tron etc (astroid, rhomboid, cruciform, cyclo¬tron etc).

1. Ginsburg R.S. et al. A Course in Modern English Lexicology. M., 1979 pp.72–82
2. Buranov, Muminov Readings on Modern English Lexicology T. O’qituvchi 1985 pp. 34–47
3. Arnold I.V. The English Word M. High School 1986 pp. 143–149
4. O. Jespersen. Linguistics. London, 1983, pp. 395–412
5. Jespersen, Otto. Growth and Structure of the English Language. Oxford, 1982 pp. 246–249
5. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English. Oxford 1964. pp. 147, 167, V.D. Arakin English Russian Dictionary M. Russky Yazyk 1978 pp. 23–24, 117–119, 133–134
7. Abayev V.I. Homonyms T. O’qituvchi 1981 pp. 4–5, 8, 26–29
8. Smirnitsky A.I. Homonyms in English M.1977 pp.57–59, 89–90
9. Dubenets E.M. Modern English Lexicology (Course of Lectures) M., Moscow State Teacher Training University Publishers 2004 pp. 17–31
10. Akhmanova O.S. Lexicology: Theory and Method. M. 1972 pp. 59–66
12. Burchfield R.W. The English Language. Lnd. 1985 pp. 45–47
13. Canon G. Historical Changes and English Wordformation: New Vocabulary items. N.Y., 1986. p. 284
14. Howard Ph. New words for Old. Lnd., 1980. p. 311
15. Sheard, John. The Words we Use. N.Y., 1954.p. 3
16. Maurer D.W., High F.C. New Words – Where do they come from and where do they go. American Speech. 1982.p. 171
17. Aпресян Ю.Д. Лексическая семантика. Омонимические средства языка. М. 1974. с. 46
18. Беляева Т.М., Потапова И.А. Английский язык за пределами Англии. Л. Изд-во ЛГУ 1971 С. 150–151
19. Арнольд И.В. Лексикология современного английского языка. М. Высшая школа 1959. с. 212–224
20. Виноградов В.В. Лексикология и лексикография. Избранные труды. М. 1977 с. 119–122
21. Bloomsbury Dictionary of New Words. M. 1996 с. 276–278
22. Hornby The Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Current English. Lnd. 1974 с. 92–93, 111
23. Longman Lexicon of Contemporary English. Longman. 1981 pp. 23–25
24. Трофимова З.C. Dictionary of New Words and New Meanings. 'Павлин', 1993.
25. World Book Encyclopedia NY Vol 8 1993 p. 321
26 Internet:
27. Internet: http://www philology/ Э.М. Дубенец. Курс лекций и планы семинарских занятий по лексикологии английского языка

[1] See also: П A. Coболева, об ocновах слов, связанных отношениями конверсии. Сб «Иностранные языки в высшей школе», вып. 2, 1963.
[2] A paradigm is defined as the system of grammatical forms characteristic of a word.
[3] Historical lexicology shows how sometimes the stem becomes bound due to the internal changes in the stem that accompany the addition of affixes; cf. broad: breadth, clean: cleanly ['klenhj, dear: dearth [dε:θ ], grief : -.grievous.
1 S. Potter, Modern Linguistics, p. 81, London, 1957
1 The contribution of Soviet scholars to this problem is seen in the works by M. D. Stepanova, E. S. Koobryakova and many others. See: И.И. Иванова, О морфологической характеристике слова в современном английском языке, «Проблемы морфологического строя германских языков», М., 1963; Е.С. Кубрякова, Что такое словообразование, М., 1965; М.Д.Степанова, Методы синхронного анализа лексики, М.: 1968.
1H. Pilch, Comparative Constructions in English, "Language", vol. 41, No1, Jan.-March 1965, p. 40
1 Immediate constituents — pny of the two meaningful parts forming a larger lin­guistic unity.
2 L. Bloomfield, Language, London, 1935, p. 210.
3 See: E. O. Nida, Morphology. The Descriptive Analysis of Words, Ann Arbor, 1946 p. Fl.
1 2.S. Harris, Methods in Structural Linguistics, p. 163.
1 E. Nida, Morphology, University of Michigan Press, 1946, pp. 81-82.
2 A.H. Cмирнициский, Лексикология английского языка, M., 1956, с. 63.
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