formative(redirected from formatives)
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a component of a word that is isolated when a word is divided into meaningful units, or morphemes, but that does not itself have any independent meaning. A formative may be used to connect morphemes in a word, as in the connecting vowel -o- in Russian compound words, for example, vod-o-voz (“water carrier”). Formatives also form stems with a regular morphophonemic structure; in Russian, for example, a jot is added to foreign stems ending in a front vowel, as in the adjectives šosse-j-nyj (“highway”) and čili-j-skij (“Chilean”). Formatives may also be used to impart a regular phonological structure to a word; in Bidjandjara, an Australian language, the formative -ra- is added to stems ending in a consonant, since words may not end in a consonant in this language. The term “formative” is sometimes used in a broader sense as a synonym of “affix.”