Derivation (linguistics)


Derivation (linguistics)

In linguistics, derivation is the process of forming a new word on the basis of an existing word, e.g. happi-ness and un-happy from happy, or determination from determine. Derivation stands in contrast to the process of inflection, which uses another kind of affix in order to form grammatical variants of the same word, as with determine/determine-s/determin-ing/determin-ed.[1] Generally speaking, inflection applies to all members of a part of speech (e.g., every English verb has a past-tense form), while derivation applies only to some members of a part of speech (e.g., the nominalizing suffix -ity can be used with the adjectives modern and dense, but not with open or strong).

A derivational suffix usually applies to words of one syntactic category and changes them into words of another syntactic category. For example, the English derivational suffix -ly changes adjectives into adverbs (slowslowly).

Examples of English derivational patterns and their suffixes:

  • adjective-to-noun: -ness (slowslowness)
  • adjective-to-verb: -ise (modernmodernise) in British English or -ize (archaicarchaicize) in American English and Oxford spelling
  • adjective-to-adjective: -ish (redreddish)
  • adjective-to-adverb: -ly (personalpersonally)
  • noun-to-adjective: -al (recreationrecreational)
  • noun-to-verb: -fy (gloryglorify)
  • verb-to-adjective: -able (drinkdrinkable)
  • verb-to-noun (abstract): -ance (deliverdeliverance)
  • verb-to-noun (concrete): -er (writewriter)

Although derivational affixes do not necessarily alter the syntactic category, they do change the meaning of the base. In many cases, derivational affixes change both the syntactic category and the meaning: modernmodernize ("to make modern"). The change of meaning is sometimes predictable: Adjective + nessthe state of being (Adjective); (whitewhiteness).

A prefix (writere-write; lordover-lord) will rarely change syntactic category in English. The inflectional prefix un- applies to adjectives (healthyunhealthy)and some verbs (doundo), but rarely to nouns. A few exceptions are the derivational prefixes en- and be-. En- (em- before labials) is usually used as a transitive marker on verbs, but can also be applied to adjectives and nouns to form transitive verbs: circle (verb) → encircle (verb); but rich (adj) → enrich (verb), large (adj) → enlarge (verb), rapture (noun) → enrapture (verb), slave (noun) → enslave (verb).

Note that derivational affixes are bound morphemes. In that respect, derivation differs from compounding by which free morphemes are combined (lawsuit, Latin professor). It also differs from inflection in that inflection does not create new lexemes but new word forms (tabletables; openopened).

Derivation can occur without any change of form, for example telephone (noun) and to telephone. This is known as conversion or zero derivation.

References

  1. ^ Crystal, David (1999): The Penguin Dictionary of Language. - Penguin Books - England.

See also

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Derivation — may refer to: Derivation (abstract algebra), a function on an algebra which generalizes certain features of the derivative operator Derivation (linguistics) Derivation in differential algebra, a unary function satisfying the Leibniz product law… …   Wikipedia

  • linguistics — /ling gwis tiks/, n. (used with a sing. v.) the science of language, including phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and historical linguistics. [1850 55; see LINGUISTIC, ICS] * * * Study of the nature and structure of… …   Universalium

  • derivation — derivational, adj. derivationally, adv. /der euh vay sheuhn/, n. 1. the act or fact of deriving or of being derived. 2. the process of deriving. 3. the source from which something is derived; origin. 4. something that is or has been derived;… …   Universalium

  • Linguistics and the Book of Mormon — Part of a series on The Book of Mormon …   Wikipedia

  • derivation — Synonyms and related words: IC analysis, acceptance, accidence, acquisition, admission, admittance, adoption, affiliation, affix, affixation, allomorph, ancestry, apparentation, appropriation, assumption, beginning, birth, blood, bloodline,… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • linguistics — Synonyms and related words: bowwow theory, comparative linguistics, derivation, descriptive linguistics, dialectology, dingdong theory, etymology, glossematics, glossology, glottochronology, glottology, grammar, graphemics, historical linguistics …   Moby Thesaurus

  • derivation — [ˌderɪˈveɪʃ(ə)n] noun [C/U] linguistics the original form from which something such as a word developed …   Dictionary for writing and speaking English

  • History of linguistics — Linguistics as a study endeavors to describe and explain the human faculty of language.Historically, linguistic study was motivated by the correct description of a liturgical language, notably that of Sanskrit grammar by IAST|Pāṇini (fl. 4th… …   Wikipedia

  • List of linguistics topics — Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Someone who engages in this study is called a linguist. See also the List of basic linguistics topics, the List of phonetics topics, the List of linguists, and the List of cognitive science… …   Wikipedia

  • Morphology (linguistics) — For other uses, see Morphology. Linguistics …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.