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Productivity of word-formation means

According to Смирницкий, word-formation is the system of derivative types of words and the process of creating new words from the material available in the language. Words are formed after certain structural and semantic patterns. The main two types of word-formation are: word-derivation and word-composition (compounding).

The degree of productivity of word-formation and factors that favor it make an important aspect of synchronic description of every derivational pattern within the two types of word-formation. The two general restrictions imposed on the derivational patterns are: 1. the part of speech in which the pattern functions; 2. the meaning which is attached to it.

Three degrees of productivity are distinguished for derivational patterns and individual derivational affixes: highly productive, productive or semi-productive and non-productive.

Productivity of derivational patterns and affixes shouldn't be identified with frequency of occurrence in speech (e.g.-er - worker, -ful – beautiful are active suffixes because they are very frequently used. But if -er is productive, it is actively used to form new words, while -ful is non-productive since no new words are built).





Morphological, phonetical and semantic motivation

A new meaning of a word is always motivated. Motivation - is the connection between the form of the word (i.e. its phonetic, morphological composition and structural pattern) and its meaning. Therefore a word may be motivated phonetically, morphologically and semantically.

Phonetically motivated words are not numerous. They imitate the sounds (e.g. crash, buzz, ring). Or sometimes they imitate quick movement (e.g. rain, swing).

Morphological motivation is expressed through the relationship of morphemes => all one-morpheme words aren't motivated. The words like " matter" are called non-motivated or idiomatic while the words like " cranberry" are partially motivated because structurally they are transparent, but " cran" is devoid of lexical meaning; " berry" has its lexical meaning.

Semantic motivation is the relationship between the direct meaning of the word and other co-existing meanings or lexico-semantic variants within the semantic structure of a polysemantic word (e.g. " root" — " roots of evil" - motivated by its direct meaning, " the fruits of peace" - is the result).

Motivation is a historical category and it may fade or completely disappear in the course of years.


Classification of compounds

The meaning of a compound word is made up of two components: structural meaning of a compound and lexical meaning of its constituents.

Compound words can be classified according to different principles.

1. According to the relations between the ICs compound words fall into two classes: 1) coordinative compounds and 2) subordinative compounds.

In coordinative compounds the two ICs are semantically equally important. The coordinative compounds fall into three groups:

a) reduplicative compounds which are made up by the repetition of the same base, e.g. pooh-pooh (пренебрегать), fifty-fifty;

b) compounds formed by joining the phonically variated rhythmic twin forms, e.g. chit-chat, zig-zag (with the same initial consonants but different vowels); walkie-talkie (рация), clap-trap (чепуха) (with different initial consonants but the same vowels);

c) additive compounds which are built on stems of the independently functioning words of the same part of speech, e.g. actor-manager, queen-bee.

In subordinative compounds the components are neither structurally nor semantically equal in importance but are based on the domination of the head-member which is, as a rule, the second IС, e.g. stone-deaf, age-long. The second IС preconditions the part-of-speech meaning of the whole compound.

2. According to the part of speech compounds represent they fall into:

1) compound nouns, e.g. sunbeam, maidservant;

2) compound adjectives, e.g. heart-free, far-reaching;

3) compound pronouns, e.g. somebody, nothing;

4) compound adverbs, e.g. nowhere, inside;

5) compound verbs, e.g. to offset, to bypass, to mass-produce.

From the diachronic point of view many compound verbs of the present-day language are treated not as compound verbs proper but as polymorphic verbs of secondary derivation. They are termed pseudo-compounds and are represented by two groups: a) verbs formed by means of conversion from the stems of compound nouns, e.g. to spotlight (from spotlight); b) verbs formed by back-derivation from the stems of compound nouns, e.g. to babysit (from baby-sitter).

However synchronically compound verbs correspond to the definition of a compound as a word consisting of two free stems and functioning in the sentence as a separate lexical unit. Thus, it seems logical to consider such words as compounds by right of their structure.

3. According to the means of composition compound words are classified into:

1) compounds composed without connecting elements, e.g. heartache, dog-house;

2)compounds composed with the help of a vowel or a consonant as a linking element, e.g. handicraft, speedometer, statesman;

3) compounds composed with the help of linking elements represented by preposition or conjunction stems, e.g. son-in-law, pepper-and-salt.

4. According to the type of bases that form compounds the following classes can be singled out:

1) compounds proper that are formed by joining together bases built on the stems or on the word-forms with or without a linking element, e.g. door-step, street-fighting;

2) derivational compounds that are formed by joining affixes to the bases built on the word-groups or by converting the bases built on the word-groups into other parts of speech, e.g. long-legged —> (long legs) + -ed; a turnkey —> (to turn key) + conversion. Thus, derivational compounds fall into two groups: a) derivational compounds mainly formed with the help of the suffixes -ed and -er applied to bases built, as a rule, on attributive phrases, e.g. narrow-minded, doll-faced, left­hander; b) derivational compounds formed by conversion applied to bases built, as a rule, on three types of phrases — verbal-adverbial phrases (a breakdown), verbal-nominal phrases (a kill-joy) and attributive phrases (a sweet-tooth).





Diachronic and synchronic approaches to polysemy

Diachronically, polysemy is understood as the growth and development of the semantic structure of the word. Historically we differentiate between the primary and secondary meanings of words.

The relation between these meanings isn't only the one of order of appearance but it is also the relation of dependence = > we can say that secondary meaning is always the derived meaning (e.g. dog – 1. animal, 2. despicable person)

Synchronically it is possible to distinguish between major meaning of the word and its minor meanings. However it is often hard to grade individual meaning of the word in order of their comparative value (e.g. to get the letter - получить письмо; to get to London - прибыть в Лондон - minor).

The only more or less objective criterion in this case is the frequency of occurrence in speech (e.g. table – 1. furniture, 2. food). The semantic structure is never static and the primary meaning of a word may become synchronically one of the minor meanings and vice versa. Stylistic factors should always be taken into consideration

Polysemy of words: " yellow" - sensational (Am., sl.)

The meaning which has the highest frequency is the one representative of the whole semantic structure of the word. The Russian equivalent of " a table" which first comes to your mind and when you hear this word is 'cтол" in the meaning " a piece of furniture". And words that correspond in their major meanings in two different languages are referred to as correlated words though their semantic structures may be different.

Primary meaning - historically first.

Major meaning - the most frequently used meaning of the word synchronically.




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