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Morphological derivation, in
linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo ...

linguistics
, is the process of forming a new word from an existing word, often by adding a
prefix A prefix is an affix In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) ...
or
suffix In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languag ...
, such as For example, ''unhappy'' and ''happiness'' derive from the
root word A root (or root word) is the core of a word that is irreducible into more meaningful elements. In morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines * Morphology (archaeology), study of the shapes or ...
''happy.'' It is differentiated from
inflection In linguistic morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines * Morphology (archaeology), study of the shapes or forms of artifacts * Morphology (astronomy), study of the shape of astronomical ob ...
, which is the modification of a word to form different
grammatical categories A grammatical category or grammatical feature is a property of items within the grammar of a language. Within each category there are two or more possible values (sometimes called grammemes), which are normally mutually exclusive. Frequently encou ...
without changing its core meaning: ''determines'', ''determining'', and ''determined'' are from the root ''determine''.


Derivational patterns

Derivational
morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines *Morphology (archaeology) In archaeology, morphology is the study of the shape of Artifact (archaeology), artefacts and ecofacts. Morphology is a major consid ...
often involves the addition of a derivational suffix or other
affix In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the met ...
. Such an affix usually applies to
word In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most lang ...

word
s of one
lexical category In traditional grammar, a part of speech or part-of-speech ( abbreviated as POS or PoS) is a category of words (or, more generally, of lexical items) that have similar grammatical properties. Words that are assigned to the same part of speech g ...
(part of speech) and changes them into words of another such category. For example, one effect of the
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
derivational suffix ''-ly'' is to change an
adjective In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most langu ...
into an
adverb An adverb is a word or an expression that modifies a verb A verb () is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (''bring'', ''read'', ''walk'', ''run'', ''learn''), an occurrence (''happen'', ''become''), or a state of being ...

adverb
(''slow'' → ''slowly''). Here are examples of English derivational patterns and their suffixes: * adjective-to-
noun A noun () is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), meaning. In many l ...

noun
: ''-ness'' (''slow'' → ''slowness'') * adjective-to-
verb A verb () is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (''bring'', ''read'', ''walk'', ''run'', ''learn''), an occurrence (''happen'', ''become''), or a state of being (''be'', ''exist'', ''stand''). In the usual description of E ...
: ''-en'' (''weak'' → ''weaken'') * adjective-to-adjective: ''-ish'' (''red'' → ''reddish'') * adjective-to-
adverb An adverb is a word or an expression that modifies a verb A verb () is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (''bring'', ''read'', ''walk'', ''run'', ''learn''), an occurrence (''happen'', ''become''), or a state of being ...

adverb
: ''-ly'' (''personal'' → ''personally'') * noun-to-
adjective In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most langu ...
: ''-al'' (''recreation'' → ''recreational'') * noun-to-verb: ''-fy'' (''glory'' → ''glorify'') * verb-to-adjective: ''-able'' (''drink'' → ''drinkable'') * verb-to-noun ( abstract): ''-ance'' (''deliver'' → ''deliverance'') * verb-to-noun (
agent Agent may refer to: Espionage, investigation, and law *, spies or intelligence officers * Law of agency, laws involving a person authorized to act on behalf of another ** Agent of record, a person with a contractual agreement with an insuran ...
): ''-er'' (''write'' → ''writer'') However, derivational affixes do not necessarily alter the lexical category; they may change merely the meaning of the base and leave the category unchanged. A prefix (''write'' → '' re-write''; ''lord'' → ''over-lord'') rarely changes the lexical category in English. The prefix ''un-'' applies to adjectives (''healthy'' → ''unhealthy'') and some verbs (''do'' → ''undo'') but rarely to nouns. A few exceptions are the derivational prefixes ''en-'' and ''be-''. ''En-'' (replaced by ''em-'' before labials) is usually a transitive marker on verbs, but it 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). When derivation occurs without any change to the word, such as in the conversion of the noun ''breakfast'' into the verb ''to breakfast'', it's known as
conversion Conversion or convert may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Conversion (Doctor Who audio), "Conversion" (''Doctor Who'' audio), an episode of the audio drama ''Cyberman'' * Conversion (Stargate Atlantis), "Conversion" (''Stargate Atlantis ...
, or zero derivation. Derivation that results in a noun may be called
nominalization In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic br ...
. It may involve the use of an affix (such as with ''employ → employee''), or it may occur via conversion (such as with the derivation of the noun ''run'' from the verb ''to run''). In contrast, a derivation resulting in a verb may be called verbalization (such as from the noun ''butter'' to the verb ''to butter'').


Derivation and inflection

Derivation can be contrasted with
inflection In linguistic morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines * Morphology (archaeology), study of the shapes or forms of artifacts * Morphology (astronomy), study of the shape of astronomical ob ...
, in that derivation can produce a new word (a distinct
lexeme A lexeme () is a unit of lexical meaning that underlies a set of words that are related through inflection In linguistic morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines * Morphology (archaeol ...
) but isn't required to change this, whereas inflection produces grammatical variants of the same word. Generally speaking, inflection applies in more or less regular patterns to all members of a
part of speech In traditional grammar A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about the world is truth, true. In epistemology, philosophers use the term "belief" to refer t ...
(for example, nearly every
English verb Verb A verb, from the Latin ''wikt:verbum#Latin, verbum'' meaning ''word'', is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (''bring'', ''read'', ''walk'', ''run'', ''learn''), an occurrence (''happen'', ''become''), or a state of ...
adds ''-s'' for the third person singular present tense), while derivation follows less consistent patterns (for example, the nominalizing suffix ''-ity'' can be used with the adjectives ''modern'' and ''dense'', but not with ''open'' or ''strong''). However, it is important to note that derivations and inflections can share homonyms, that being,
morphemes A morpheme is the smallest meaningful lexical itemIn lexicography, a lexical item (or lexical unit / LU, lexical entry) is a single word, a part of a word, or a chain of words ( catena) that forms the basic elements of a language's lexicon A l ...
that have the same sound, but not the same meaning. For example, when the affix -er, is added to an adjective, as in ''small-er'', it acts as an inflection, but when added to a verb, as in ''cook-er'', it acts as a derivation. As mentioned above, a derivation can produce a new word (or new part of speech) but is not required to do so. For example, the derivation of the word "common" to "uncommon" is a derivational morpheme but doesn't change the part of speech (adjective). An important distinction between derivational and inflectional morphology lies in the content/function of a listeme. Derivational morphology changes both the meaning and the content of a listeme, while inflectional morphology doesn't change the meaning, but changes the function. A non-exhaustive list of derivational morphemes in English: -ful, -able, im-, un-, -ing, -er A non-exhaustive list of inflectional morphemes in English: -er, -est, -ing, -en, -ed, -s


Derivation and other types of word formation

Derivation can be contrasted with other types of word formation such as compounding. For full details see
Word formation In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic ...
. Note that derivational affixes are
bound morpheme In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the meth ...
s – they are meaningful units, but can only normally occur when attached to another word. In that respect, derivation differs from
compounding In the field of pharmacy, compounding (performed in compounding pharmacies) is preparation of a custom formulation of a medication to fit a unique need of a patient that cannot be met with commercially available products. This may be done for med ...
by which ''free'' morphemes are combined (''lawsuit'', ''Latin professor''). It also differs from
inflection In linguistic morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines * Morphology (archaeology), study of the shapes or forms of artifacts * Morphology (astronomy), study of the shape of astronomical ob ...
in that inflection does not create new
lexeme A lexeme () is a unit of lexical meaning that underlies a set of words that are related through inflection In linguistic morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines * Morphology (archaeol ...
s but new
word form In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include ...
s (''table'' → ''tables''; ''open'' → ''opened'').


Productivity

Derivational patterns differ in the degree to which they can be called
productive Productivity describes various measures of the efficiency Efficiency is the (often measurable) ability to avoid wasting materials, energy, efforts, money, and time in doing something or in producing a desired result. In a more general sense, i ...
. A productive pattern or affix is one that is commonly used to produce novel forms. For example, the negating prefix ''un-'' is more productive in English than the alternative ''in-''; both of them occur in established words (such as ''unusual'' and ''inaccessible''), but faced with a new word which does not have an established negation, a native speaker is more likely to create a novel form with ''un-'' than with ''in-''. The same thing happens with suffixes. For example, if comparing two words ''Thatcherite'' and ''Thatcherist'', the analysis shows that both suffixes ''-ite'' and ''-ist'' are productive and can be added to proper names, moreover, both derived adjectives are established and have the same meaning. But the suffix ''-ist'' is more productive and, thus, can be found more often in word formation not only from proper names.


See also

*
Agglutination The middle sign is in Hungarian, which agglutinates extensively. (The top and bottom signs are in Romanian and German, respectively, both Fusional language, inflecting languages.) The English translation is "Ministry of Food and Agriculture: Sa ...
*
Collocation In corpus linguistics Corpus linguistics is the study of language as a language is expressed in its text corpus (plural ''corpora''), its body of "real world" text. Corpus linguistics proposes that reliable language analysis is more feasible ...
*
Inflection In linguistic morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines * Morphology (archaeology), study of the shapes or forms of artifacts * Morphology (astronomy), study of the shape of astronomical ob ...
*
Nominalization In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic br ...
*
Word formation In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic ...
*
Word root A root (or root word) is the core of a word that is irreducible into more meaningful elements. In morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines * Morphology (archaeology), study of the shapes or f ...


References

{{reflist *Speech and Language Processing, Jurafsky, D. & Martin J.,H. Linguistic morphology