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Словообразование. Синхронический и диахронический подходы к словообразованию. Различные типы словообразования в английском языке

Word-Formation is the system of derivative types of words and the process of creating new words from the material available in the language after certain structural and semantic formulas and patterns. For instance, the noun driver is formed after the pattern v+-er, i.e. a verbal stem +-the noun-forming suffix -er. The meaning of the derived noun driver is related to the meaning of the stem drive- ‘to direct the course of a vehicle’ and the suffix -er meaning ‘an active agent’: a driver is ‘one who drives’ (a carriage, motorcar, railway engine, etc.). Likewise compounds resulting from two or more stems joined together to form a new word are also built on quite definite structural and semantic patterns and formulas, for instance adjectives of the snow-white type are built according to the formula n+а, etc. It can easily be observed that the meaning of the whole compound is also related to the meanings of the component parts. The structural patterns with the semantic relations they signal give rise to regular new creations of derivatives, e.g. sleeper, giver, smiler or soat-blасk, tax-free, etc.

In conformity with structural types of words described above the following two types of word-formation may be distinguished, word-derivation and word-composition (or compounding). Words created by word-derivation have in terms of word-formation analysis only one derivational base and one derivational affix, e.g. cleanness (from clean), to overestimate (from to estimate), chairmanship (from chairman), openhandedness (from openhanded), etc. Some derived words have no derivational affixes, because derivation is achieved through conversion, e.g. to paper (from paper), a fall (from to fall), etc. Words created by word-composition have at least two bases, e.g. lamp-shade, ice-cold, looking-glass, daydream, hotbed, speedometer, etc.

Within the types, further distinction may be made between the ways of forming words. The basic ways of forming words in word-derivatiоn', for instance, are

§ affixation

§ conversion.

It should be noted that the understanding of word-formation as expounded here excludes semantic word-building as well as shortening, sound- and stress-interchange which traditionally are referred, as has been mentioned above, to minor ways of word-formation. By semantic word-building some linguists understand any change in word-meaning, e.g. stock — ‘the lower part of the trunk of a tree’; ’something lifeless or stupid’; ‘the part of an instrument that serves as a base’, etc.; bench — ‘a long seat of wood or stone’; ‘a carpenter’s table’, etc. The majority of linguists, however, understand this process only as a change in the meaning of a word that may result in the appearance of homonyms, as is the case with flower — ‘a blossom’ and flour— ‘the fine meal’, ‘powder made from wheat and used for making bread’; magazine — ‘a publication’ and magazine — ‘the chamber for cartridges in a gun or rifle’, etc. The application of the term word-formation to the process of semantic change and to the appearance of homonyms due to the development of polysemy seems to be debatable for the following reasons:

As semantic change does not, as a rule, lead to the introduction of a new word into the vocabulary, it can scarcely be regarded as a wordbuilding means. Neither can we consider the process a word-building means even when an actual enlargement of the vocabulary does come about through the appearance of a pair of homonyms. Actually, the appearance of homonyms is not a means of creating new words, but it is the final result of a long and labourious process of sense-development. Furthermore, there are no patterns after which homonyms can be made in the language. Finally, diverging sense-development results in a semantic isolation of two or more meanings of a word, whereas the process of word-formation proper is characterised by a certain semantic connection between the new word and the source lexical unit. For these reasons diverging sense-development leading to the appearance of two or more homonyms should be regarded as a specific channel through which the vocabulary of a language is replenished with new words and should not be treated on a par with the processes of word-formation, such as affixation, conversion and composition.

The shortening of words also stands apart from the above two-fold division of word-formation. It cannot be regarded as part of either word-derivation or word-composition for the simple reason that neither the derivational base nor the derivational affix can be singled out from the shortened word (e. g. lab, exam, Euratom, V-day, etc.).

Nor are there any derivational patterns new shortened words could be farmed on by the speaker. Consequently, the shortening of words should not be regarded as a way of word-formation on a par with derivation and compounding.

For the same reasons, such ways of coining words as acronymy, blending, lexicalisation and some others should not be treated as means of word-formation. Strictly speaking they are all, together with word-shortening, specific means of replenishing the vocabulary different in principle from affixation, conversion and compounding.

What is said above is especially true of sound- and stress-interchange (also referred to as distinctive stress). Both sound- and stress-interchange may be regarded as ways of forming words only diachronically, because in Modern English not a single word can be coined by changing the root-vowel of a word or by shifting the place of the stress. Sound-interchange as well as stress-interchange in fact has turned into a means of distinguishing primarily between words of different parts of speech and as such is rather wide-spread in Modern English, e.g. to sing — song, to live — life, strong — strength, etc. It also distinguishes between different word-forms, e.g. man — men, wife — wives, to know — knew, to leave — left, etc. Sound-interchange falls into two groups: vowel-interchange and consonant-interchange.

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