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THE VALENCY OF AFFIXES AND STEMS. WORD-BUILDING PATTERNS AND THEIR MEANING




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  1. Calligraphers use their artistic skills to communicate the Word of God
  2. DENOTATIVE AND CONNOTATIVE MEANING
  3. DERIVATIONAL AND FUNCTIONAL AFFIXES
  4. Education (or equivalent institution) in their respective country of origin, in accordance with the
  5. Exercise 3. Match the names of alternative therapies in Column A with their correct definition in Column B.
  6. Find out about your group mates (their countries of residence, birthplace, nationality, age, family, etc.).
  7. Formation ofhumussoils, their morphology and agrochemical properties
  8. H. Charlotte and Viktor are waiting for their exam results.
  9. LEXICAL MEANING AND SEMANTIC STRUCTURE OF ENGLISH WORDS
  10. NEW WORD-FORMING PATTERNS IN COMPOSITION

Another essential feature of affixes that should not be overlooked is their combining power or valen and the derivational patterns in which they regularly occur.

We have already seen that not all combinations of existing morphemes are actually used. Thus, unhappy, untrue and unattractive are quite regular combinations, while seemingly analogous *unsad, *UN-FALSE, *unpretty do not exist. The possibility of a particular stem taking a particular affix depends on phono-morphological, morphological and semantic factors. The suffix -ance/-ence,1 for instance, occurs only after b, t, d, dz, v, l, r, m, n: disturbance, insistence, independence, but not after s orz: condensation, organisation.

1 These are allomorphs. See 5.7.


It is of course impossible to describe the whole system. To make our point clear we shall take adjective-forming suffixes as an example. They are mostly attached to noun stems. They are: ~ed (barbed), -en (golden), -ful (careful), -less (careless), -ly (soldierly), -like (childlike), -y (hearty) and some others. The highly productive suffix -able can be combined with noun stems and verbal stems alike (clubbable, bearable). It is especially frequent in the pattern un- + verbal stem +-able (unbearable). Sometimes it is even attached to phrases in which composition and affixation are simultaneous producing compound-derivatives (unbrushoffable, ungetatable). These characteristics are of great importance both structurally and semantically.

Their structural significance is clear if we realise that to describe the system of a given vocabulary one must know the typical patterns on which its words are coined. To achieve this it is necessary not only to know the morphemes of which they consist but also to reveal their recurrent regular combinations and the relationship existing between them. This approach ensures a rigorously linguistic basis for the identification of lexico-grammatical classes within each part of speech. In the English language these classes are little studied so far, although an inquiry into this problem seems very promising.1

It is also worthy of note that from the information theory viewpoint the fact that not every affix is capable of combining with any given stem makes the code more reliable, protects it from noise,2 mistakes, and misunderstanding.



The valency of stems is not therefore unlimited. Noun stems can be followed by the noun-forming suffixes: -age (bondage), -dom (serfdom), -eer/-ier (profiteer, collier), -ess (waitress), -ful (spoonful), -hood (childhood), -ian (physician), -ics (linguistics), -iel-y (daddy), -ing (flooring), -ism (heroism), -ist (violinist), -let (cloudlet), -ship (friendship)-, by the adjective-forming suffixes: -al/-ial (doctoral), -an (African), -ary (revolutionary), -ed (wooded), -ful (hopeful), -ic/-ical (historic, historical), -ish (childish), -like (businesslike), -ly (friendly), -ous/-ious/-eous (spacious), -some (handsome), -y (cloudy), verb-forming suffixes: -ate (aerate), -en (hearten), -fy/-ify (speechify), -ise (sympathise).

Verbal stems are almost equal to noun stems in valency. They combine with the following noun-forming suffixes: -age (breakage), -al (betrayal), -ance/-ence (guidance, reference), -ant/-ent (assistant, student), -ee (employee), -er/-or (painter, editor), -ing (uprising), -ion/-tion/-ation (action, information), -ment (government). The adjective-forming suffixes used with verbal stems are: -able/-ible (agreeable, comprehensible), -ive/-sive/-tive (talkative), -some (meddlesome).



Adjective stems furnish a shorter list: -dom (freedom), -ism (realism), -ity/-ty (reality, cruelty), -ness (brightness), -ish (reddish), -ly (firmly), ate (differentiate), -en (sharpen), -fy/-ify (solidify).

1 See the works by I.V. Arnold, T.M. Belyaeva, S.S. Khidekel, E.S. Koobryakova, O.D. Meshkov, I.K. Arhipov and others.

2 Noise as a term of the theory of information is used to denote any kind of interference with the process of communication.


The combining possibilities (or valency) are very important semantically because the meaning of the derivative depends not only on the morphemes of which it is composed but also on combinations of stems and affixes that can be contrasted with it. Contrast is to be looked for in the use of the same morpheme in different environment and also in the use of different morphemes in environments otherwise the same.

The difference between the suffixes -ity and -ism, for instance, will become clear if we compare them as combined with identical stems in the following oppositions: formality : : formalism : : humanity : : humanism; reality : : realism. Roughly, the words in -ity mean the quality of being what the corresponding adjective describes, or an instance of this quality. The resulting nouns are countable. The suffix -ism forms nouns naming a disposition to what the adjective describes, or a corresponding type of ideology. Being uncountable they belong to a different lexico-grammatical class.



The similarity on which an opposition is based may consist, for the material under consideration in the present paragraph, in the sameness of suffix. A description of suffixes according to the stem with which they are combined and the lexico-grammatical classes they serve to differentiate may be helpful in the analysis of the meanings they are used to render.

A good example is furnished by the suffix -ish, as a suffix of adjectives. The combining possibilities of the suffix -ish are vast but not unlimited. Boyish and waspish are used, whereas *enemish and *aspish are not. The constraints here are of semantic nature. It is regularly present in the names of nationalities, as for example: British, Irish, Spanish.1 When added to noun stems, it forms adjectives of the type having the nature of with a moderately derogatory colouring: bookish, churlish, monkeyish, sheepish, swinish. Childish has a derogatory twist of meaning, the adjective with a good sense is childlike. A man may be said to behave with a childish petulance, but with a childlike simplicity. Compare also womanly having the qualities befitting a woman, as in womanly compassion, womanly grace, womanly tact, with the derogatory womanish effeminate, as in: womanish fears, traitors to love and duty (Coleridge).

With adjective stems the meaning is not derogatory, the adjective renders a moderate degree of the quality named: greenish somewhat green, stiffish somewhat stiff, thinnish somewhat thin. The model is especially frequent with colours: blackish, brownish, reddish. A similar but stylistically peculiar meaning is observed in combinations with numeral stems: eightyish, fortyish and the like are equivalent to round about eighty, round about forty. E. g.: Whats she like, Min? Sixtyish. Stout. Grey hair. Tweeds. Red face. (McCrone)

In colloquial speech the suffix -ish is added to words denoting the time of the day: four-o'clockish or more often fourish means round about four o'clock. E. g.: Robert and I went to a cocktail party at Annettes. (It was called drinks at six thirty'ish the word cocktail was going out.) (W. Cooper).

1 But not all nationalities. E. g. Russian, Italian, Chinese, Japanese. 92


The study of correlations of derivatives and stems is also helpful in bringing into relief the meaning of the affix. The lexico-grammatical meaning of the suffix -ness that forms nouns of quality from adjective stems becomes clear from the study of correlations of the derivative and the underlying stem. A few examples picked up at random will be sufficient proof: good : : goodness; kind : : kindness; lonely : : loneliness; ready : : readiness; righteous : : righteousness; slow : : slowness.

The suffixes -ion (and its allomorphs -sion and -tion) and -or are noun-forming suffixes combined with verbal stems. The opposition between them serves to distinguish between two subclasses of nouns: abstract nouns and agent nouns, e. g. accumulation : : accumulator; action : : actor; election : : elector; liberation : : liberator; oppression : : oppressor; vibration : : vibrator, etc. The abstract noun in this case may mean action, state or result of action remaining within the same subclass. Thus, cultivation denotes the process of cultivating (most often of cultivating the soil) and the state of being cultivated. Things may be somewhat different with the suffix -or, because a cultivator is a person who cultivates1 and a machine for breaking up ground, loosening the earth round growing plants and destroying weeds. Thus two different subclasses are involved: one of animate beings, the other of inanimate things. They differ not only semantically but grammatically too; there exists a regular opposition between animate and inanimate nouns in English: the first group is substituted by he or she, and the second by the pronoun it. In derivation this opposition of animate personal nouns to all other nouns is in some cases sustained by such suffixes as -ard/-art (braggart), -ist (novelist) and a few others, but most often neutralised. The term neutralisation may be defined as a temporary suspension of an otherwise functioning opposition. Neutralisation, as in the word cultivator, is also observed with such suffixes as -ant, -er that also occur in agent nouns, both animate and inanimate. Cf. accountant a person who keeps accounts and coolant a cooling substance; fitter mechanic who fits up all kinds of metalwork and shutter (in photography) a device regulating the exposure to light of a plate of film; runner a messenger and a blade of a skate.

Structural observations such as these show that an analysis of suffixes in the light of their valency and the lexico-grammatical subclasses that they serve to differentiate may be useful in the analysis of their semantic properties. The notions of opposition, correlation and neutralisation introduced into linguistics by N. Trubetzkoy prove relevant and helpful in morphological analysis as well.

The term word-building or derivational pattern is used to denote a meaningful combination of stems and affixes that occur regularly enough to indicate the part of speech, the lexico-semantic category and semantic peculiarities common to most words with this particular arrangement of morphemes.1 Every type of word-building (affixation, composition, conversion, compositional derivation, shortening, etc.) as well as every part of speech have a characteristic set of

1 See also: Ginzburg R.S. etal. A Course in Modern English Lexicology. P. 103.


patterns. Some of these, especially those with the derivational suffix -ish, have already been described within this paragraph. It is also clear from the previous description that the grouping of patterns is possible according to the type of stem, according to the affix or starting with some semantic grouping.1

The grouping of patterns, their description and study may be based on the same principle of explanatory transformations that we have used for componential analysis in Chapter 3 (see 3.6).

Let us turn again to affixation and see how the dictionary defines words with the prefix un-:

unaccented a without an accent or stress

unbolt v to remove the bolt of, to unlock

unconcern n lack of concern

undo v to reverse the effect of doing

unfailing a not failing, constant

These few examples show that the negative prefix un- may be used in the following patterns:

 

I. un- + an adjective stem un- + Part. I stem un- + Part. II stem } with the meaning not, without, the opposite of'

II. un- +averbal stem with the meaning of to reverse the action as

the effect of...'

III. un- + a verbal stemwhich is derived from a noun stem with the

reversative meaning to release from'

IV. un- + a noun stemshows the lack of the quality denoted

The examples for pattern I are: uncertain, unfair, unbelievable, unconscious, unbalanced, unknown, unborn, unbecoming, for pattern II: unbend, unbind, unpack, unwrap; for pattern III: unhook, unpack, unlock, unearth.

With noun stems (pattern IV) un- is used very rarely. E. g. unpeople people lacking the semblance of humanity, unperson a public figure who has lost his influence.

These cases of semantic overlapping show that the meaning or rather the variety of meanings of each derivational affix can be established only when we collect many cases of its use and then observe its functioning within the structure of the word-building patterns deduced from the examples collected. It would be also wrong to say that there exists a definite meaning associated with this or that pattern, as they are often polysemantic, and the affixes homonymous. This may be also seen from the following examples. A very productive pattern is out-+ V = Vt. The meaning is to do something faster, better, longer than somebody or something. E. g. outdo, out-grow, out-live, outnumber,

1 As for instance, a numeral stem + -ish with ages has the meaning approximately so many years old: fiftyish, sixtyish, seventyish, and has a colloquial connotation.


outplay. The number of possible combinations is practically unlimited. The spelling, whether hyphenated, solid or separate is in many cases optional. When formed not on verbs but on names of persons it means to surpass this person in something that is known as his special property. The classical example is to out-Herod Herod (Shakespeare) to outdo sb in cruelty.1

On the other hand, the same formal pattern out-+V may occur with the locative out- and produce nouns, such as outbreak or outburst. The second element here is actually a deverbal noun of action.

The above examples do not exhaust the possibilities of patterns with out- as their first element. Out- may be used with verbal stems and their derivatives (outstanding), with substantives (outfield), with adjectives (outbound) and adverbs (outright).

The more productive an affix is the more probable the existence alongside the usual pattern of some semantic variation. Thus, -ee is freely added to verbal stems to form nouns meaning One who is V-ed, as addressee, divorcee, employee, evacuee, examinee, often paralleling agent nouns in -er, as employer, examiner. Sometimes, however, it is added to intransitive verbs; in these cases the pattern V+-ee means One who V-s or One who has V-ed, as in escapee, retiree. In the case of bargee a man in charge of a barge the stem is a noun.

It may also happen that due to the homonymy of affixes words that look like antonyms are in fact synonyms. A good example is analysed by V.K. Tarasova. The adjectives inflammable and flammable are not antonyms as might be supposed from their morphological appearance (cf. informal : : formal, inhospitable : : hospitable) but synonyms, because inflammable is easily set on fire. They are also interchangeable in non-technical texts. Inflammable may be used figuratively as easily excited. Flammable is preferred in technical writing.

The fact is that there are two prefixes in-. One is a negative prefix and the other may indicate an inward motion, an intensive action or as in the case of inflame, inflammable and inflammation have a causative function.2

It is impossible to draw a sharp line between the elements of form expressing only lexical and those expressing only grammatical meaning and the difficulty is not solved by introducing alongside the term motivation the term word-formation meaning.

To sum up: the word-building pattern is a structural and semantic formula more or less regularly reproduced, it reveals the morphological motivation of the word, the grammatical part-of-speech meaning and in most cases helps to refer the word to some lexico-grammatical class, the components of the lexical meaning are mostly supplied by the stem.

1 Herod the ruler of Judea, at the time of Christs birth was noted for his despotic nature and cruelty.

2 V.K. Tarasova studies the possibilities of this homonymy of the word inflammable when she comments on the poem by Ogden Nash entitled Philology, Etymology, You Owe Me an Apology.


5.6 CLASSIFICATION OF AFFIXES

Depending on the purpose of research, various classifications of suffixes have been used and suggested. Suffixes have been classified according to their origin, parts of speech they served to form, their frequency, productivity and other characteristics.

Within the parts of speech suffixes have been classified semantically according to lexico-grammatical groups and semantic fields, and last but not least, according to the types of stems they are added to.

In conformity with our primarily synchronic approach it seems convenient to begin with the classification according to the part of speech in which the most frequent suffixes of present-day English occur. They will be listed together with words illustrating their possible semantic force.1

Noun-forming suffixes:

-age (bondage, breakage, mileage, vicarage); -ance/-ence2(assistance, reference); -ant/-ent(disinfectant, student); -dom(kingdom, freedom, officialdom); - (employee); -eer(profiteer); -er(writer, type-writer); -ess (actress, lioness); -hood(manhood); -ing (building, meaning, washing); -ion/-sion/-tion/-ation(rebellion, tension, creation, explanation); -ism/-icism(heroism, criticism); -ist(novelist, communist); -ment(government, nourishment); -ness(tenderness); -ship(friendship); -(i)ty(sonority).

Adjective-forming suffixes:

-able/-ible/-uble(unbearable, audible, soluble); -al(formal); -ic(poetic); -ical(ethical); -ant/-ent(repentant, dependent); -ary (revolutionary); -ate/-ete(accurate, complete); -ed/-d(wooded); -ful(delightful); -an/-ian(African, Australian); -ish(Irish, reddish, childish);-ive (active); -less(useless); -like (lifelike); -ly (manly); -ous/-ious(tremendous, curious); -some(tiresome); -y (cloudy, dressy).

Numeral-forming suffixes: -fold(twofold); -teen(fourteen); -th(seventh); -ty (sixty).

Verb-forming suffixes:

-ate(facilitate); -er(glimmer); -en(shorten); -fy/-ify(terrify, speechify, solidify); -ise/-ize (equalise); -ish(establish).

Adverb-forming suffixes: -ly(coldly); -ward/-wards(upward, northwards); -wise(likewise).

If we change our approach and become interested in the lexico-grammatical meaning the suffixes serve to signalise, we obtain within each part of speech more detailed lexico-grammatical classes or subclasses.

1 It should be noted that diachronic approach would view the problem of morphological analysis differently, for example, in the word complete they would look for the traces of the Latin complet-us.

2Between forms the sign / denotes allomorphs. See 5.7.


Taking up nouns we can subdivide them into proper and common nouns. Among common nouns we shall distinguish personal names, names of other animate beings, collective nouns, falling into several minor groups, material nouns, abstract nouns and names of things.

Abstract nouns are signalled by the following suffixes: -age, -ance/ -ence, -ancy/-ency, -dom, -hood, -ing, -ion/-tion/-ation, -ism, -ment, -ness, -ship, -th, -ty.1

Personal nouns that are emotionally neutral occur with the following suffixes: -an{grammarian), -ant/-ent(servant, student), -arian(vegetarian), -(examinee), -er(porter), -ician(musician), -ist(linguist), -ite(sybarite), -or(inspector), and a few others.

Feminine suffixes may be classed as a subgroup of personal noun suffixes. These are few and not frequent: -ess(actress), -ine(heroine), -rix(testatrix), -ette(cosmonette).

The above classification should be accepted with caution. It is true that in a polysemantic word at least one of the variants will show the class meaning signalled by the affix. There may be other variants, however, whose different meaning will be signalled by a difference in distribution, and these will belong to some other lexico-grammatical class. Cf. settlement, translation denoting a process and its result, or beauty which, when denoting qualities that give pleasure to the eye or to the mind, is an abstract noun, but occurs also as a personal noun denoting a beautiful woman. The word witness is more often used in its several personal meanings than (in accordance with its suffix) as an abstract noun meaning evidence or testimony. The coincidence of two classes in the semantic structure of some words may be almost regular. Collectivity, for instance, may be signalled by such suffixes as -dom, -ery-, -hood, -ship. Itmust be borne in mind, however, that words with these suffixes are polysemantic and show a regular correlation of the abstract noun denoting state and a collective noun denoting a group of persons of whom this state is characteristic, f. knighthood.

Alongside with adding some lexico-grammatical meaning to the stem, certain suffixes charge it with emotional force. They may be derogatory: -ard(drunkard), -ling(underling); -ster(gangster), -ton(simpleton), These seem to be more numerous in English than the suffixes of endearment.

Emotionally coloured diminutive suffixes rendering also endearment differ from the derogatory suffixes in that they are used to name not only persons but things as well. This point may be illustrated by the suffix -y/-ie/-ey(auntie, cabbie (cabman), daddy), but also: hanky (handkerchief), nightie (night-gown). Other suffixes that express smallness are -kin/-kins(mannikin); -let(booklet); -ock(hillock); -ette(kitchenette).

The connotation (see p. 47ff) of some diminutive suffixes is not one of endearment but of some outlandish elegance and novelty, particularly in the case of the borrowed suffix -ette(kitchenette, launderette, lecturette, maisonette, etc.).

1 See examples on p. 96. 7


Derivational morphemes affixed before the stem are called prefixes. Prefixes modify the lexical meaning of the stem, but in so doing they seldom affect its basic lexico-grammatical component. Therefore both the simple word and its prefixed derivative mostly belong to the same part of speech. The prefix mis-, for instance, when added to verbs, conveys the meaning wrongly, badly, unfavourably; it does not suggest any other part of speech but the verb. Compare the following oppositions: behave : : misbehave, calculate : : miscalculate, inform : : misinform, lead : : mislead, pronounce : : mispronounce. The above oppositions are strictly proportional semantically, i.e. the same relationship between elements holds throughout the series. There may be other cases where the semantic relationship is slightly different but the general lexico-grammatical meaning remains, cf. giving : : misgiving foreboding or suspicion; take : : mistake and trust : : mistrust.

The semantic effect of a prefix may be termed adverbial because it modifies the idea suggested by the stem for manner, time, place, degree and so on. A few examples will prove the point. It has been already shown that the prefix mis- is equivalent to the adverbs wrongly and badly, therefore by expressing evaluation it modifies the corresponding verbs for manner.1 The prefixes pre- and post- refer to time and order, e. g. historic :: pre-historic, pay :: prepay, view :: preview. The last word means to view a film or a play before it is submitted to the general public. Compare also: graduate :: postgraduate (about the course of study carried on after graduation), Impressionism :: Post-impressionism. The latter is so called because it came after Impressionism as a reaction against it. The prefixes in-, a-, ab-, super-, sub-, trans- modify the stem for place, e. g. income, abduct to carry away, subway, transatlantic. Several prefixes serve to modify the meaning of the stem for degree and size. The examples are out-, over- and under-. The prefix out- has already been described (see p. 95). Compare also the modification for degree in such verbs as overfeed and undernourish, subordinate.

The group of negative prefixes is so numerous that some scholars even find it convenient to classify prefixes into negative and non-negative ones. The negative ones are: de-, dis-, in-/im-/il-/ir-, -, -. Part of this group has been also more accurately classified as prefixes giving negative, reverse or opposite meaning.2

The prefix de- occurs in many neologisms, such as decentralise, decontaminate remove contamination from the area or the clothes, denazify, etc.

The general idea of negation is expressed by dis-; it may mean not, and be simply negative or the reverse of, asunder, away, apart and then it is called reversative. Cf. agree : : disagree not to agree appear : : disappear (disappear is the reverse of appear), appoint : : dis-. appoint to undo the appointment and thus frustrate the expectation, disgorge eject as from the throat, dishouse throw out, evict. /n-/

1 R. Quirk rails it a pejorative prefix. (See: Quirk R. et al. A Grammar of Contemporary English. P. 384.)

2 See: Vesnik D. and Khidekel S. Exercises in Modern English Word-building. M., 1964.


im-/ir-/il have already been discussed, so there is no necessity to dwell upon them. Non- is often used in abstract verbal nouns such as noninterference, nonsense or non-resistance, and participles or former participles like non-commissioned (about an officer in the army below the rank of a commissioned officer), non-combatant (about any one who is connected with the army but is there for some purpose other than fighting, as, for instance, an army surgeon.)

Non- used to be restricted to simple unemphatic negation. Beginning with the sixties non- indicates not so much the opposite of something but rather that something is not real or worthy of the name. E. g. non-book is a book published to be purchased rather than to be read, non-thing something insignificant and meaningless.

The most frequent by far is the prefix un-; it should be noted that it may convey two different meanings, namely:

1) Simple negation, when attached to adjective stems or to participles: happy : : unhappy, kind : : unkind, even : : uneven. It is immaterial whether the stem is native or borrowed, as the suffix un- readily combines with both groups. For instance, uncommon, unimportant, etc. are hybrids.

2) The meaning is reversative when un- is used with verbal stems. In that case it shows action contrary to that of the simple word: bind : : unbind, do : : undo, mask : : unmask, pack : : unpack.

A very frequent prefix with a great combining power is re- denoting repetition of the action expressed by the stem. It may be prefixed to almost any verb or verbal noun: rearrange v, recast v put into new shape, reinstate v to place again in a former position, refitment n repairs and renewal, remarriage n, etc. There are, it must be remembered, some constraints. Thus, while reassembled or revisited are usual, rereceived or reseen do not occur at all.

The meaning of a prefix is not so completely fused with the meaning of the primary stem as is the case with suffixes, but retains a certain degree of semantic independence.

It will be noted that among the above examples verbs predominate. This is accounted for by the fact that prefixation in English is chiefly characteristic of verbs and words with deverbal stems.

The majority of prefixes affect only the lexical meaning of words but there are three important cases where prefixes serve to form words belonging to different parts of speech as compared with the original word.

These are in the first place the verb-forming prefixes be- and en-, which combine functional meaning with a certain variety of lexical meanings.1 Be- forms transitive verbs with adjective, verb and noun stems and changes intransitive verbs into transitive ones. Examples are: belittle v to make little, benumb v to make numb, befriend v to treat

1 Historically be- is a weakened form of the preposition and adverb by, the original meaning was about. The prefix en-/em-, originally Latin, is the doublet of the prefix in-/im-; it penetrated into English through French. Many English words in which this prefix is quite readily distinguished were formed not on English soil but borrowed as derivatives, as was the case with the verb enlarge<OFr enlargier.

7* 99


like a friend, becloud v (bedew v, befoam v) to cover with clouds (with dew or with foam), bemadam v to call madam, besiege v to lay siege on. Sometimes the lexical meanings are very different; compare, for instance, bejewel v to deck with jewels and behead v which has the meaning of to cut the head from. There are on the whole about six semantic verb-forming varieties and one that makes adjectives from noun stems following the pattern be- + noun stem+ -ed, as in benighted, bespectacled, etc. The pattern is often connected with a contemptuous emotional colouring.

The prefix en-/em- is now used to form verbs from noun stems with the meaning put (the object) into, or on, something, as in embed, engulf, encamp, and also to form verbs with adjective and noun stems with the meaning to bring into such condition or state, as in enable v, enslave v, encash v. Sometimes the prefix en-/em- has an intensifying function, cf. enclasp.

The prefix a- is the characteristic feature of the words belonging to statives: aboard, afraid, asleep, awake, etc.

1 As a prefix forming the words of the category of state a- represents: (1) OE preposition on, as abed, aboard, afoot; (2) OE preposition of, from, as in anew, (3) OE prefixes ge- and y- as in aware.

This prefix has several homonymous morphemes which modify only the lexical meaning of the stem, cf. arise v, amoral a.

The prefixes pre-, post-, non-, anti-, and some other Romanic and Greek prefixes very productive in present-day English serve to form adjectives retaining at the same time a very clear-cut lexical meaning, e. g. anti-war, pre-war, post-war, non-party, etc.

From the point of view of etymology affixes are subdivided into two main classes: the native affixes and the borrowed affixes. By native affixes we shall mean those that existed in English in the Old English period or were formed from Old English words. The latter category needs some explanation. The changes a morpheme undergoes in the course of language history may be of very different kinds. A bound form, for instance, may be developed from a free one. This is precisely the case with such English suffixes as -dom, -hood, -lock, -ful, -less, -like, -ship, e. g. ModE -dom < OE dom fate, power, cf. ModE doom. The suffix -hood that we see in childhood, boyhood is derived from OE had state. The OE lac was also a suffix denoting state. The process may be summarised as follows: first lac formed the second element of compound words, then it became a suffix and lastly was so fused with the stem as to become a dead suffix in wedlock. The nouns freedom, wisdom, etc. were originally compound words.

The most important native suffixes are: -d, -dom, -ed, -en, -fold, -ful, -hood, -ing, -ish, -less, -let, -like, -lock, -ly, -ness, -oc, -red, -ship, -some, -teen, -th, -ward, -wise, -y.

The suffixes of foreign origin are classified according to their source into Latin (-able/-ible, -ant/-ent), French (-age, -ance/-ence, -ancy/-ency, -ard, -ate, -sy), Greek (-ist, -ism, -ite), etc.

 


The term borrowed affixes is not very exact as affixes are never borrowed as such, but only as parts of loan words. To enter the morphological system of the English language a borrowed affix has to satisfy certain conditions. The borrowing of the affixes is possible only if the number of words containing this affix is considerable, if its meaning and function are definite and clear enough, and also if its structural pattern corresponds to the structural patterns already existing in the language.

If these conditions are fulfilled, the foreign affix may even become productive and combine with native stems or borrowed stems within the system of English vocabulary like -able < Lat -abilis in such words as laughable or unforgettable and unforgivable. The English words balustrade, brigade, cascade are borrowed from French. On the analogy with these in the English language itself such words as blockade are coined.

It should be noted that many of the borrowed affixes are international and occur not only in English but in several other European languages as well.


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