chapter  8
36 Pages

Derivational morphology and other word formation processes

In Sections 1-7 we have been concerned with inflectional morphology, that is with the changes which words undergo according to their different grammatical functions in a particular context (declension and conjugation). In this section we shall deal with the formation of new words by means of various morphological and other processes. We shall divide the material into (a) derivational morphology, i.e. the morphological process by which new words are formed by means of suffixation (the addition of a suffix to the end of the stem of a word, Section 8.1.1), prefixation (the addition of a prefix to the beginning of a word, Section 8.1.2) or conversion (the change in the lexical category of a word, accompanied by a subsequent change in the inflectional ending and occasionally in the stem, Section 8.1.3); and (b) compounding, i.e. the formation of new words by combining the stems of two or more independent words and/or one or more stems with one or more words (Section 8.2). Finally, we will present acronyms, i.e. words which are made up of the first letters of the words of a phrase (Section 8.3). Acronym creation is not a morphological process, but we present it here because it is highly productive in the modern language and its products are subject to phonological and morphological processes like normal words. We shall limit ourselves to a few exam ples of each type of formation, with the primary aim of facilitating the reader’s recognition of the constituent elements of a derived or compound word. Particular attention will be given to those elements which continue to be productive in the formation of new words.