Word formation processes

Word Formation Processes | 9 Essential WFP

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The ‘Word Formation Process’ is regarded as the branch of Morphology. It has a significant role to expand the vocabulary that helps us to communicate very smoothly. The main objectives of the word-formation process are to form new words with the same root by deploying different rules or processes.

In other words, we can say that the word-formation process is a type of process in which new words are formed by modification of the existing words or completely changing of those words.

9 Essential Word Formation Processes

Let us see the fundamental word-formation processes in linguistics:

Derivation

‘Derivation’ is one of the major word-formation processes that attach derivation affixes to the main form of a word to create a new word. Affixes (prefix or suffix) are regarded as bound morphemes.

A morpheme is the smallest meaningful syntactical or grammar unit of a language that cannot be divided without changing its actual meaning. In contrast to the free morpheme, a bound morpheme doesn’t have any independent meaning. It needs the help of a free morpheme to form a new word.

Let us see some examples of derivation in the below table:

Base FormsNew Words
AppearDisappear
JusticeInjustice
LightenEnlighten
FriendFriendship
HappyHappiness

Back Formation

‘Back-Formation’ is a word-formation process that eliminates the actual derivational affix from the main form of a word to create a new word. However, Back-Formation is contrary to derivation in terms of forming new words. Let us see some examples of Back-Formation in the below table:

Base FormsBack Formation
InsertionInsert
DonationDonate
PrecessionProcess
ObsessiveObsess
ResurrectionResurrect

Conversion

In conversion, a word of one grammatical form converts into another grammatical form without changing any spelling or pronunciation. For example, the word ‘Google’ is originated as a noun before the verb.

A few years ago we use the term as a noun only (search it on Google) but now we simply say ‘Google it. Let us see some examples of conversion in the below table:

Noun To Verb
Access– to access
Google– to google
Email– to email
Name– to name
Host– to host
VerbTo Noun
To hopeHope
To coverCover
To increaseIncrease
To attackAttack

Compounding

‘Compounding’ is a type of word formation process that allows words to combine to make a new word. Compounding words can be formed as one or as two words joined with a hyphen. Let us see some examples in the below table:

WordsCompounding Words
Class+roomClassroom
Note+bookNotebook
Break+upBreakup
Brother+in+lawBrother in law
High+lightHighlight

Clipping

‘Clipping’ is another important word-formation process. It reduces or shortens a word without changing the exact meaning. In contrast to the back-formation process, it reserves the original meaning.

Clipping is divided into four types. They are:

  1. Back Clipping
  2. Fore Clipping
  3. Middle Clipping
  4. Complex Clipping

Every Clipping has different roles in words when they are assigned. Back Clipping removes the end part of a word, Fore Clipping removes the beginning part of a word, Middle Clipping reserves the middle part of a word and finally, Complex Clipping removes multiple parts from multiple words.

Let us see some examples in the below table:

WordsClippings
AdvertisementAd
PhotographPhoto
TelephonePhone
InfluenzaFlue
CabletelegramCablegram

Blending

In the ‘Blending’ word-formation method, the parts of two or more words combine to form a new word. Let us see some examples in the below table:

WordsBlendings
Breakfast+lunchBrunch
Biographical+pictureBiopic
Motor+hotelMotel
Spanish+EnglishSpanglish
Telephone+marathonTelethon

Abbreviation

‘Abbreviation’ is another famous and widely used word-formation method that is used to shorten a word or phrase. In the modern era ‘Abbreviation is becoming more popular. Nowadays people used to use it everywhere. Let us see some examples in the below table:

Words/PhrasesAbbreviation
JuniorJr.
MisterMr.
MistressMiss.
DoctorDr.
DepartmentDept.
Bachelor of ArtsB.A.
Master of ArtsM.A.
Master of Business AdministrationMBA

Acronyms

An Acronym is a popular word-formation process in which an initialism is pronounced as a word. It forms from the first letter of each word in a phrase. The newly formed letters create a new word which helps us for speedy communication. For example, ‘PIN’ is an initialism for Personal Identification Number that is used as the word ‘pin’.

However, let us see some other popular examples of acronyms in the below table for better understanding:

Acronyms Words/Phrases
HIVHuman Immunodeficiency Virus
AIDSAcquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
NASANational Aeronautics and Space Administration
ASAPAs Soon As Possible
AWOLAbsent Without Leave

Borrowing

‘Borrowing’ is another word-formation process in which a word from one language is borrowed directly into another language. Let us see some English words which are borrowed from another language:

AlgebraArabic
CherubHebrew
MurderFrench
PizzaItalian
TamaleSpanish

Conclusion

Now we come to know that Word-Formation Processes are the methods in which words are formed by deploying different types of rules. This is how we can be able to form new words by following the above word-formation methods.

We need to do one thing that is we have to follow the fundamental rules or processes of word-formation.

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