Word Formation

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Word Formation


(1) The process or result of forming new words, called derived words, from words or word groups with the same root. Word formation occurs through formal means established within a given language that give a new or more precise meaning to the original elements. Such means include joining affixes to stems (Russian stol-ik, “little table”; za-stol’-n-yi, “at table”), joining several stems (uzko-kolei-nyi, “narrow-gauge”; gromko-govorit-el’, “loudspeaker”), transferring stems from one word class to another (rul’, “rudder”; rulit’, “to steer”; zoloto, “gold”; zolotoi, “golden”), and alternation within the stem (glukhoi, “remote”; glush’, “backwoods”).

Word formation is a means of deriving (generating) linguistic units in order to create a new one-word name having a semantic and formal connection with the original unit. It is an important means of supplementing vocabulary and forming specialized terms.

(2) The study of “how words are made” (L. V. Shcherba), how they are patterned, and by what unit (word or word group) their meaning is determined. Word formation is the branch of linguistics that examines derived words synchronically and diachronically and in terms of their origin and functioning, their productivity or unproductivity, and their use in different styles of speech.

Word formation has traditionally been considered a branch of lexicology or a branch of grammar equal in importance to morphology and syntax, or it has been assigned to morphology. Usually viewed as an independent linguistic (onomasiological) discipline, word formation ascertains and describes the structure and meaning of derived words, the components, classification, and patterns of derived words, and the basic devices and means of derivation. Word formation studies the alignment of derived words in series and families, as well as derivational meanings and categories. It establishes the structural and organizational principles of the derivational system as a whole. Word formation is distinct from inflection and the derivation of word forms.


Vinogradov, V. V. “Slovoobrazovanie v ego otnoshenii k grammatike i leksikologii.” In the collection Voprosy teorii i istorii iazyka v svete trudov I. V. Stalinapoiazykoznaniiu. Moscow, 1952.
Arutiunova, N. D. “O poniatii sistemy slovoobrazovaniia.” Filologicheskie nauki, 1960, no. 2.
Kubriakova, E. S. Chto takoe slovoobrazovanie. Moscow, 1965.
Obshchee iazykoznanie. Moscow, 1973.
Zemskaia, E. A Sovremennyi russkii iazyk: Slovoobrazovanie. Moscow, 1973.


References in periodicals archive ?
Chapter 4 presents the process of word formation and the morphophonemic rules associated with the process.
Each of the four cases illustrated above follows a strikingly similar pattern of lexicalization, taking full advantage of Italian's highly productive derivational morphologyo The lexicalist hypothesis puts forth the assumption that word formation (and therefore derivational) rules are integrated in the lexicon, capturing most closely the process of suffixation (Booij 1977; Scalise 1980).
There are about 7,000 languages spoken today, some with just a dozen contrastive sounds, others with more than 100, some with complex patterns of word formation, others with simple words only, some with the verb at the beginning of the sentence, some in the middle, and some at the end.
Their chapter on word formation includes reduplicatives ("fenderbender," "dilly-dally"), compound words ("handout," dating to 1882, and "jaywalker," from 1917), blended words ("telecast" from "television" and "broadcast"), conversions ("changing a word from one part of speech to another without changing the form" as in "bicycle" used either as a noun or a verb), and derivatives (adding prefixes or suffixes to change a word's meaning).
Exercises, which involve word formation, familiar phrases, definition usage, letter placement, visual logic, and logical solutions, are of different lengths and complexity and can be completed in any order.
The wooden blocks containing same pole magnets only come together making a train like structure, when the word formation is right.
The development of a computational morphological analyser for Setswana necessitates the accurate modelling and implementation of, among others, compounding as a word formation process.
Each wooden letter interacts with the apps on an iPad, helping to build a picture of the alphabet and early word formation in a child's mind.
Instituciju documents prepared by the culture of language: the language of typical errors (spelling, vocabulary, word formation, morphology, syntax) review.
Consequently, the word formation of inscriptions was not an exception as far as the term morphology is generally used as a cover term for inflection (declension, conjugation, gradation) and word formation (derivation and compounding) (Schmitter, 2008).
These variations provide evidence about the word formation process of early ASL, further supported by data collected from dictionaries of the 19th and early 20th centuries.