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Morphemic types of words

Monomorphicor root-words consist of only one root-morpheme (small, dog, make). Polymorphicwords according to the number of root-morphemes are classified into: a) monoradical (one-root morpheme) and b)polyradical (words consisting of two or more roots).

Monoradicalwords fall into three subtypes:

radical-suffixal words, i.e. words consisting of one root-morpheme and one or more suffixal morphemes (e.g. acceptable, acceptability);

radical-prefixal words, i.e. words consisting of one root-morpheme and a prefixal morpheme (e.g. outdo, unbutton);

prefixo-radical-suffixal words, i.e. words which consist of one root, prefixal and suffixal morphemes (e.g. disagreeable, misinterpre­tation)

Polyradicalwords fall into two subtypes:

polyradical words which consist of two or more roots with no affixational morphemes (e.g. book-stand, lamp-shade);

polyradical words which contain at least two roots and one or more affixational morphemes (e.g. safety-pin, light-mindedness, pen-hold­er).

2.2 The most productive word-building types in English

Word-building is one of the main ways of enriching vocabulary. There are 8 ways of word-building in Modern English:

-- conversion,

-- composition,

-- affixation

-- shortening.

-- sound-interchange,

-- stress interchange,

-- sound imitation,

-- blends,

-- back formation (disaffixation).

The most productive are composition (compounding), affixation and conversion.

2.2.1 Conversion

Conversion is one of the principal ways of forming words in Modern English. It is highly productive in replenishing the English word-stock with new words. Conversion can be defined as the derivation of a new word without any over marking. In order to find cases of conversion we have to look for pairs of words that are derivationally related and are completely identical in their phonetic realization.


This immense productivity of conversion is encouraged by features in its modern stage: - analytical structure; - simplicity of paradigms; - abundance of one-syllabic words (flexibility and mobility); - convenient way of enriching the vocabulary with new words. The productivity finds its reflection in speech; abundance of nonce-words. It's a vital and developing process that penetrates colloquial language. Subconsciously every speaker understands his making a new word.


The most frequent semantically related groups in conversion are nouns and verbs derived from them.

The lexical meaning of the verb points out the instrument, the agent, the place, the cause, the result, the time of action

Instrumental meaning:

parts of human body - to finger ( to touch with fingers

tools, machines, weapons - to free- wheel ( to go with the engine switched off)


to crowd - to come together in large numbers

to ape - to imitate in a foolish way as an ape does


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