The root is conventionally indicated using the mathematical symbol √; for instance, the Sanskrit root «» means the root «».
Consider the root √š-m-n (ש-מ-נ).
Although all words vary semantically, the general meaning of a greasy, fatty material can be attributed to the root.
A word is comprised of parts and pieces that assemble the entire term. One of the components might be a root word. Root words are derived from Greek and Latin words. Many English words contain one of these root words.
The position that each morpheme makes a semantic contribution (including indirect semantic contributions in the form of syntactic signalling which itself contributes a bit to semantic interpretation – such as case marking) is a pretty weak claim, in light of the fact that we see many cases where the full meaning and use of a word cannot be computed from the purported meaning properties of the constituents. Semitic root derivation as you mention is an example. The pertinent question that theorists ask is, to what extent can decomposition into morphemes be justified when the meaning of a combination is not regularly computable from the meaning of the sub-parts? That has been a long-term unresolved squabble in linguistics.
The root of a word is a unit of meaning (morpheme) and, as such, it is an abstraction, though it can usually be represented alphabetically as a word. For example, it can be said that the root of the English verb form running is run, or the root of the Spanish superlative adjective amplísimo is ampli-, since those words are derived from the root forms by simple suffixes that do not alter the roots in any way. In particular, English has very little inflection and a tendency to have words that are identical to their roots. But more complicated inflection, as well as other processes, can obscure the root; for example, the root of mice is mouse (still a valid word), and the root of interrupt is, arguably, rupt, which is not a word in English and only appears in derivational forms (such as disrupt, corrupt, rupture, etc.). The root rupt can be written as if it were a word, but it is not.
This distinction between the word as a unit of speech and the root as a unit of meaning is even more important in the case of languages where roots have many different forms when used in actual words, as is the case in Semitic languages. In these, roots (semitic roots) are formed by consonants alone, and speakers elaborate different words (belonging potentially to different parts of speech) from the root by inserting different vowels. For example, in Hebrew, the root ג-ד-ל g-d-l represents the idea of largeness, and from it we have gadol and gdola (masculine and feminine forms of the adjective «big»), gadal «he grew», higdil «he magnified» and magdelet «magnifier», along with many other words such as godel «size» and migdal «tower».
- «Root». Glossary of Linguistic Terms. 3 December 2015.
- Kemmer, Suzanne. «Words in English: Structure». Words in English. Retrieved 2018.
Secondary roots are roots with changes in them, producing a new word with a slightly different meaning. In English, a rough equivalent would be to see conductor as a secondary root formed from the root to conduct. In abjad languages, the most familiar of which are Arabic and Hebrew, in which families of secondary roots are fundamental to the language, secondary roots are created by changes in the roots’ vowels, by adding or removing the long vowels a, i, u, e and o. (Notice that Arabic does not have the vowels e and o.) In addition, secondary roots can be created by prefixing (m−, t−), infixing (−t−), or suffixing (−i, and several others). There is no rule in these languages on how many secondary roots can be derived from a single root; some roots have few, but other roots have many, not all of which are necessarily in current use.
Consider the Arabic language:
According to Ghil’ad Zuckermann, «this process is morphologically similar to the production of frequentative (iterative) verbs in Latin, for example:
To begin with, it should be pointed out that Morphology as a branch
of Lx deals with word formation but not with word change.
Words consisting of a root and an affix (or several affixes) are called DERIVED words or DERIVATIVES and are produced in the process of word-building known as AFFIXATION (DERIVATION).
Another frequent structural type is the ROOT word. Many of these words belong to the original English stock or to earlier borrowings. In Modern English this class of words has been enlarged by the type of word-building known as CONVERSION. e.g. hand – to hand, can – to can, pale – to pale, to find – a find.
Another widely spread word-structure is a COMPOUND word consisting of two or more stems (roots): dining-room, cell phone, mother-in-law. Words of this structural type are produced in the word-building process called COMPOSITION.
This process consists in coining a new word by adding an affix or several affixes to some root morpheme. From the etymological point of view affixes are classified into native and borrowed. Consider examples of some native affixes. Noun-forming a.: -er, -ness, -ing, -dom, -hood, -ship, — th; adjective-forming a.: -ful, -less, -y, -ish, —ly, -en, -some; adverb/verb-forming: en, -ly. Cf. borrowed affixes: -um, -us, -ct – Latin; ism/ist – Greek; -ous, -able – French, etc.
Affixes can be also classified into productive and non-productive. We find productive affixes in NEOLOGISMS and NONCE-WORD: a lookER, a bed-sittER, a worriER, carpetING, partyING, comfY, boyISH, youngISH, stylISH, promotABLE, spreadABLE, achievABLE, strollABLE, activIST, situationIST, readerSHIP, etc.
Productive affixes should not be mixed up with frequents affixes, like –ful (beautiful).
It should be noted that NEGATIVE AFFIXES, PREFIXES, in particular, play a special role in English word-building. Some of them are native productive: -less, un-, in-(-il, -im,-ir), mis; others are borrowed: dis-, de-, anti-, counter-, etc.
UN- and IN- and how not to mix them up: un- is added to adjectives and adjectivised verbs ending in -able (unreadable), -ed (unabridged), -ing (unwilling, unpaying), -like (unmanlike), etc. While IN- will be typically added to words of foreign origin: curable — incurable, justice, injustice (but unjust), correct — incorrect, credible — incredible, etc.
The most productive SEMI-AFFIXES are: -proof, -wise-, -like (desert-like, prison-like), -man, man- (barman, computer-man; man-destroying, man-devised), conscious, mania (Obama-mania), phobia (technophobia), etc.
Minor types of word-building .
Although considered to be a minor type of word-building, SHORTENING/ABBREVIATING is very productive in modern English.
Morphological shortening (clipping) — new words are produced from words by omitting part of their phonemic framing: story (history), fence (defence), fancy (fantasy). They are marked as colloquial and slangy .: lab, exam, prep, group rep, lino, prof, lit, specs, teach, info, hi-fi (high fidelity), pro (professional), etc.
Abbreviating of words: bldg. for building, doz. for dozen, govt. for government;
Abbreviating of phrases/sentences: the UNO, WTO, GMT, the EU, DST, C.O.D. — cash on delivery, etc.
Acronymy (resulting in abbreviations of phrases/sentences functioning as
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The Morphological Structure of English Words
Words are made of – the smallest meaningful units of the language.
In morphological analysis a word consisting of a single morpheme is called a monomorphemic word, its opposite is called a polymorphemic word.
Thus, words like boy, true, make are monomorphemic words consisting of single root morphemes; words like are polymorphemic words containing a root morpheme and a derivational affix. A polymorphemic word may also consist of two root morphemes (e.g. a boyfriend, a workshop, snow-white).
So, there are three different structural types of words in English: root words (корневые), or simple words, derived words (производные), and compound words (сложные cлова). Thus, is a root word, is a derived word, is a compound word.
Analyzing a word structure we also distinguish the – that part of a word to which affixes are joined. Structurally, stems may be simple, or root stems, as the stem in the word as the stem in the word in the word
Stems are also classified into . Free stems are those which can occur as separate words. Bound stems are those which cannot occur so. Thus, in the verb we have a free stem , in the verb – a bound stem
A special method is applied in structural analysis – the so called analysis into immediate and ultimate constituents (анализ по непосредственно составляющим – IC-analysis and UC-analysis). The method is based on a binary principle, i.e. the whole procedure goes in stages and at each such stage the word is divided into two constituent parts. The analysis comes to an end when the word defies further division. Then, what we get are ultimate constituents.
If we analyze the word , we start the analysis by dividing this word into the prefix and the adjective stem — We cannot start the analysis by taking away the suffix , because the verb is not found in the vocabulary of the English language.
At the next stage of our analysis we get another pair of immediate constituents: the verb stem and the suffix -. Now, since is indivisible into other immediate constituents, there comes the end of the analysis. So, the ultimate constituents of the word
Sometimes the analysis into immediate and ultimate constituents is not so easy to apply. Take, e.g. the word . Though we do not have much difficulty in arriving at its ultimate constituents which will be , it is not so easy to decide which is the first pair of immediate constituents – , since both elements exist as free independent words in English. Yet, if we refer to our linguistic experience we shall come to the conclusion that the prefix — is not customarily combined with adverb stems, but is very freely added to adjective stems, e.g. . So, we will be justified in stating that the immediate constituents of the word
Морфологическая структура английских слов
Слова морфемы – наименьшие значимые единицы языка.
В морфологическом анализе слово, состоящее из одной морфемы, называется мономорфемическим словом, его противоположное-полиморфемическим словом.
Различают корневые морфемы и аффиксационные морфемы. Корневые морфемы несут лексическое значение слов, выступающих в качестве их смыслового центра. Аффиксационные морфемы бывают двух разных типов. Те, указывающих на грамматическую форму слова (напр. Кол – кошка/кошки, напряженным, голос – открыто/открыто, и так далее) называются интонациями. Те, кто принимает участие в словообразовании, называются производными аффиксами. Словообразовательные аффиксы, предшествующих корневой морфемы называются префиксами; последующие — суффиксы.
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represent the main
structural types of Modern English words, and conversion, derivation
and composition are the most productive ways of word building.
According to the number of morphemes
words can be classified into:
word fall into two subgroups according to the number of root-morphemes
they have :
These structural types
are not of equal importance. The clue to the correct understanding of
their comparative value lies in a careful consideration of:
Breaking a word into
its Immediate Constituents we observe in each cut
the structural order of the constituents.
Viewed structurally words appear to be divisible into smaller units which are called morphemes. Morphemes do not occur as free forms but only as constituents of words. The morpheme is the smallest meaningful unit of form. Morphemes cannot be segmented into smaller units without losing their constitutive essence, i.e. association of a certain meaning with a certain sound pattern. Morphemes can have different phonetic shapes, e.g. in such words as ‘please, pleasure, pleasant’ the same morpheme ‘pleas-‘ has different phonetic shapes and these various representations of the morpheme are called allomorphs, or morphemic variants.
Classification of morphemes (semantic and structural). Free and bound morphemes.
Structurally morphemes fall into three types: 1) free morphemes; 2) bound morphemes; 3) semi-bound, or semi-free, morphemes.
Free morphemes are those that coincide with the stem or a word-form. For example, the root-morpheme youth- of the adjective youthful is a free morpheme as it coincides with one of the forms of the word youth.
A bound morpheme occurs only as a constituent part of a word. Affixes are bound morphemes for they always make part of a word, e.g. the suffixes –ment, -ness in the words government, kindness, or the prefixes un-, il- in the words unreal, illegal.
Some root morphemes also belong to the class of bound morphemes. They are as a rule roots which can be found in a small number of words such as goose- in gooseberry or –ceive in conceive, or for example, the word telephone consists of two bound roots of Greek origin – tele- and –phone.
Semi-bound morphemes can function in a morphemic sequence both as an affix and as a free morpheme, e.g. the morphemes well, half, proof are free morphemes coinciding with the stem and the word-form in the word utterances to sing well, half a loaf, the proof of the pudding, on the other hand they occur as bound morphemes in the words well-educated, half-known, waterproof.
Types of words: simple, derived, compound and compound-derived.
According to the number of morphemes words are classified into monomorphic and polymorphic ones. Monomorphic, or root-words, consist only of one root-morpheme (little, doll, baby, make).
Root words mostly belong to the original English stock or to earlier borrowings, such as house, room, book, work, port, street, pen. Modern English has been greatly enlarged by the type of word-building called conversion, e.g. to hand< a hand, to can< a can, to pale < pale (adj.), a go< to go etc.
Polymorphic words according to the number of root-morphemes are classified into a) monoradical, containing one root-morpheme and b) polyradical, consisting of two or more roots.
Monoradical words fall into:
1) radical-suffixal words, such as acceptable, acceptability;
2) radical-prefixal words, such as unbutton, reread;
3) prefixo-radical-suffixal words, such as disagreeable, misinterpretation.
Words which consist of a root and an affix (or several affixes) are called derived words, or derivatives, and are produced by the process of word-building known as affixation or derivation.
Derived words are numerous in the English language successfully competing with root words.
Polyradical words fall into:
1) polyradical words consisting of two or more roots with no affixational morphemes, such as bookstall, lampshade;
2) polyradical words containing at least two roots and one or more affixational morphemes, such as safety-pin, handwriting.
This wide-spread word structure is a compound word consisting of two or more stems, i.e. part of the word formed by a root and an affix /affixes. In English words roots and stems can often coincide, e.g. dining-room, bluebell, mother-in-law etc. words of this type are produced by the word-building process called composition.
Such words as ‘pram, flu, doc, M.P., H-bomb’ are called shortenings, contractions or curtailed words and are produced by the way of word-building called shortening, or contraction.
Root-words, derivatives, compounds and shortenings represent the main structural types of modern English words and conversion, derivation and composition are the most productive ways of word-building.
Classification of compounds.
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. There are three groups in coordinative compounds:
a) reduplicative compounds which are made up by the repetition of the same base, e.g. pooh-pooh, fifty-fifty;
b) compounds formed by joining the phonetically variated rhythmic twin forms, e.g. chit-chat, zig-zag, walkie-talkie, dilly-dally, riff-raff, ping-pong;
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 IC, e.g. stone-deaf, age-long. The second IC preconditions the part-of-speech meaning of the whole compound.
According to the part of speech compounds represent, they fall into: 1) compound nouns, e.g. sunrise, housemaid; 2) compound adjectives, e.g. care-free, far-going; 3) compound pronouns, e.g. somebody, anybody; 4) compound adverbs, e.g. nowhere, inside; 5) compound verbs, e.g. to bypass, to mass-produce.
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.
According to the means of composition compound words are classified into: 1) compounds composed without connecting elements, e.g. backache, school girl; 2) compounds composed with the help of a linking vowel or consonant, e.g. salesgirl, handicraft; 3) compounds composed with the help of linking elements represented by preposition or conjunction stems, e.g. son-in-law, pepper-and-salt.
According to the type of bases that form compounds two 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. blue-eyed < (blue eyes) + -ed, a turnkey< (to turn key) + conversion. Thus derivational compounds fall into two groups: a) derivational compounds mainly formed with the help of suffixes –ed and –er applied to bases built on attributive phrases, e.g. doll-faced, left-hander; b) derivational compounds formed by conversion applied to bases built on three types of phrases – verbal-adverbial (a breakdown), verbal-nominal (a kill-joy) and attributive (a sweet-tooth).
Начало — излекций, потомАнтрушина
Word-building is the branch of lexicology, which studies the derivative structure of existing words and the patterns on which a language builds new words. There are 2 ways of studying the language material:
Synchronic approach (gr, «syn»- together, «chronos»- time) is concerned with relation between its constituents at one period of time, for example, at present time.
Ex: words to beg- beggar (beggar n was formed out of the verb to beg with the suffix- ar)
Diachronic approach (gr, «dia»- through, «chronos»- time) deals with the changes and the development of vocabulary in the coarse of time.
Ex: beggar was borrowed from OF , the verb to beg was derived from the noun beggar (всевышеизлекций).
By word-building are understood processes of producing new words from the resources of this particular language. Together with borrowing, word-building provides for enlarging and enriching the vocabulary of the language.
Before turning to the various processes of making words, it would be useful to analyse the related problem of the composition of words, i. e. of their constituent parts.
Morpheme is a language unit, an association of certain meaning with a certain sound-pattern, which an occur in speech only as a constituent part of the word and can not be segmented into smaller units.
Words which consist of a root and an affix (or several affixes) are called derived words or derivatives and are produced by the process of word-building known as affixation (or derivation).
Derived words are extremely numerous in the English vocabulary. Successfully competing with this structural type is the so-calledroot word which has only a root morpheme in its structure. This type is widely represented by a great number of words belonging to the original English stock or to earlier borrowings (house, room, book, work, port, street, table, etc.), and, in Modern English, has been greatly enlarged by the type of word-building called conversion (e. g. to hand, v. formed from the noun hand; to can, v. from can, п.; to pale, v. frompale, adj.; a find, n. from to find, v.; etc.).
Another wide-spread word-structure is a compound word consisting of two or more stems (e. g. dining-room, bluebell, mother-in-law, good-for-nothing). Words of this structural type are produced by the word-building process called composition.
The somewhat odd-looking words like flu, pram, lab, M. P., V-day, H-bomb are called shortenings, contractions or curtailed wordsand are produced by the way of word-building called shortening (contraction).
The four types (root words, derived words, compounds, shortenings) represent the main structural types of Modern English words, and conversion, derivation and composition the most productive ways of word-building.
To return to the question posed by the title of this chapter, of how words are made, let us try and get a more detailed picture of each of the major types of Modern English word-building and, also, of some minor types.
The process of affixation consists in coining a new word by adding an affix or several affixes to some root morpheme. The role of the affix in this procedure is very important and therefore it is necessary to consider certain facts about the main types of affixes. From the etymological point of view affixes are classified into the same two large groups as words: native and borrowed.
Some Native Suffixes
Borrowed affixes, especially of Romance origin are numerous in the English vocabulary.
Affixes can also be classified into productive and non-productive types. By productive affixes we mean the ones, which take part in deriving new words in this particular period of language development. The best way to identify productive affixes is to look for them among neologisms and so-called nonce words(occasionalism), i. e. words coined and used only for this particular occasion. The latter are usually formed on the level of living speech and reflect the most productive and progressive patterns in word-building. When a literary critic writes about a certain book that it is an unputdownable thriller, we will seek in vain this strange and impressive adjective in dictionaries, for it is a nonce-word coined on the current pattern of Modern English and is evidence of the high productivity of the adjective-forming borrowed suffix -able and the native prefix un-.
One should not confuse the productivity of affixes with their frequency of occurrence. There are quite a number of high-frequency affixes which, nevertheless, are no longer used in word-derivation (e. g. the adjective-forming native suffixes -ful, -ly;the adjective-forming suffixes of Latin origin -ant, -ent, -al which are quite frequent).
Some Productive Affixes
-er, -ing, -ness, -ism (materialism),-ist(impressionist),-ance
-y, -ish, -ed (learned), -able, -less
-ize/-ise (realise), -ate
un- (unhappy), re- (reconstruct), dis- (disappoint)
Some Non-Productive Affixes
-ly, -some, -en, -ous
This type of word-building, in which new words are produced by combining two or more stems, is one of the three most productive types in Modern English, the other two are conversion and affixation. Compounds, though certainly fewer in quantity than derived or root words, still represent one of the most typical and specific features of English word-structure.
There are at least three aspects of composition that present special interest.
The first is the structural aspect. Compounds are not homogeneous(однородный) in structure. Traditionally three types are distinguished: neutral, morphological and syntactic.
In neutral compounds the process of compounding is realised without any linking elements, by a mere juxtaposition (соприкосновение)of two stems, as in blackbird, shop-window, sunflower, bedroom, tallboy(бокал на высокой ножке), etc. There are three subtypes of neutral compounds depending on the structure of the constituent stems.
The examples above represent the subtype which may be described as simple neutral compounds: they consist of simple affixless stems.
Compounds which have affixes in their structure are called derived or derivational compounds. E. g. absent-mindedness(рассеянность), blue-eyed, golden-haired, broad-shouldered, lady-killer(сердцеед), film-goer(киноман), music-lover, honey-moon-er, first-nighter(постоянный посетитель театральных премьер), late-comer, newcomer, early-riser, evildoer. The productivity of this type is confirmed by a considerable number of comparatively recent formations, such as teenager, babysitter, strap-hanger, fourseater («car or boat with four seats»), doubledecker («a ship or bus with two decks»).
The third subtype of neutral compounds is called contracted compounds. These words have a shortened (contracted) stem in their structure: TV-set (-program, -show, -canal, etc.), V-day (Victory day), G-man (Government man «FBI agent», агентФедеральногобюрорасследований), H-bag (handbag), T-shirt, etc.
Morphological compounds are few in number. This type is non-productive. It is represented by words in which two compounding stems are combined by a linking vowel or consonant, e. g. Anglo-Saxon, Franko-Prussian, handiwork, handicraft, craftsmanship, spokesman(представитель, делегат), statesman(государственный деятель).
In syntactic compounds we once more find a feature of specifically English word-structure. These words are formed from segments of speech, preserving in their structure numerous traces of syntagmatic( синтагматический) relations typical of speech: articles, prepositions, adverbs, as in the nouns lily-of-the-valley(ландыш), Jack-of-all-trades(на все руки масте), good-for-nothing(бездельник), mother-in-law(свекровь), sit-at-home(сидеть сложа руки).Syntactical relations and grammatical patterns current in present-day English can be clearly traced in the structures of such compound nouns as pick-me-up(тонизирующее средство (медицинский препарат, алкогольный напиток или еда)), know-all(всезнайка), know-nothing, go-between(сводник), get-together(встреча), whodunit(детективный роман, фильм). The last word (meaning «a detective story») was obviously coined from the ungrammatical variant of the word-group who (has) done it.
Conversion consists in making a new word from some existing word by changing the category of a part of speech, the morphemic shape of the original word remaining unchanged. The new word has a meaning which differs from that of the original one though it can more or less be easily associated with it. It has also a new paradigm peculiar to its new category as a part of speech.
The question of conversion has, for a long time, been a controversial one in several aspects. The very essence of this process has been treated by a number of scholars (e. g. H. Sweet), not as a word-building act, but as a mere functional change. From this point of view the word hand in Hand me that book is not a verb, but a noun used in a verbal syntactical function, that is, hand (me) and hands (in She has small hands) are not two different words but one. According to this functional approach, conversion may be regarded as a specific feature of the English categories of parts of speech, which are supposed to be able to break through the rigid borderlines dividing one category from another thus enriching the process of communication not by the creation of new words but through the sheer flexibility of the syntactic structures.
Nowadays this theory finds increasingly fewer supporters, and conversion is universally accepted as one of the major ways of enriching English vocabulary with new words. One of the major arguments for this approach to conversion is the semantic change that regularly accompanies each instance of conversion. Normally, a word changes its syntactic function without any shift in lexical meaning. E. g. both in yellow leaves and in The leaves were turning yellow the adjective denotes colour. Yet, in The leaves yellowed the converted unit no longer denotes colour, but the process of changing colour, so that there is an essential change in meaning.
The other argument is the regularity and completeness with which converted units develop a paradigm of their new category of part of speech. As soon as it has crossed the category borderline, the new word automatically acquires all the properties of the new category, so that if it has entered the verb category, it is now regularly used in all the forms of tense and it also develops the forms of the participle and the gerund. Such regularity can hardly be regarded as indicating a mere functional change which might be expected to bear more occasional characteristics. The completeness of the paradigms in new conversion formations seems to be a decisive argument proving that here we are dealing with new words and not with mere functional variants. The data of the more reputable modern English dictionaries confirm this point of view: they all present converted pairs as homonyms, i. e. as two words, thus supporting the thesis that conversion is a word-building process.
Conversion is not only a highly productive but also a particularly English way of word-building. Its immense productivity is considerably encouraged by certain features of the English language in its modern stage of development. The analytical structure of Modern English greatly facilitates processes of making words of one category of parts of speech from words of another. So does the simplicity of paradigms of English parts of speech. A great number of one-syllable words is another factor in favour of conversion, for such words are naturally more mobile and flexible than polysyllables.
Conversion is a convenient and «easy» way of enriching the vocabulary with new words. It is certainly an advantage to have two (or more) words where there was one, all of them fixed on the same structural and semantic base.
The high productivity of conversion finds its reflection in speech where numerous occasional cases of conversion can be found, which are not registered by dictionaries and which occur momentarily, through the immediate need of the situation.
«If anybody oranges me again tonight, I’ll knock his face off”, says the annoyed hero of a story by O’Henry when a shop-assistant offers him oranges (for the tenth time in one night) instead of peaches for which he is looking («Little Speck in Garnered Fruit»). One is not likely to find the verb to orange in any dictionary, but in this situation it answers the need for brevity, expressiveness and humour.
The two categories of parts of speech especially affected by conversion are nouns and verbs. Verbs made from nouns are the most numerous amongst the words produced by conversion: e. g. to hand(вести за руку; помогать, протягивать руку), to back, to face, to eye, to mouth, to nose, to dog(выслеживать), to wolf(пожирать с жадностью), to monkey, to can, to coal, to stage, to screen, to room, to floor, to blackmail, to blacklist, to honeymoon, and very many others.
Nouns are frequently made from verbs: do (e. g. This is the queerest do I’ve ever come across. Do — event, incident), go (e. g. He has still plenty of go at his age. Go — energy), make, run, find, catch, cut, walk, worry, show, move, etc.
Verbs can also be made from adjectives: to pale, to yellow, to cool, to grey, to rough (e. g. We decided to rough it in the tents as the weather was warm), etc.
This comparatively new way of word-building has achieved a high degree of productivity nowadays, especially in American English.
Shortenings (or contracted/curtailed words) are produced in two different ways. The first is to make a new word from a syllable (rarer, two) of the original word. The latter may lose its beginning (as in phone made from telephone, fence fromdefence), its ending (as in hols from holidays, vac from vacation, props from properties, ad from advertisement) or both the beginning and ending (as in flu from influenza, fridge from refrigerator).
Both types of shortenings are characteristic of informal speech in general and of uncultivated speech particularly. The history of the American okay seems to be rather typical. Originally this initial shortening was spelt O.K. and was supposed to stand for all correct. The purely oral manner in which sounds were recorded for letters resulted in O.K. whereas it should have been AC. or aysee. Indeed, the ways of words are full of surprises.
Here are some more examples of informal shortenings. Movie (from moving-picture), gent (from gentleman), specs (fromspectacles), circs (from circumstances, e. g. under the circs), I. O. Y. (a written acknowledgement of debt, made from I owe you), lib (from liberty, as in May I take the lib of saying something to you?), cert (from certainty, as in This enterprise is a cert if you have a bit of capital), metrop (from metropoly, e. g. Paris is a gay metrop), exhibish (from exhibition), posish (from position).
Shortening is a further type of word-building which increases the number of homonyms(омонимы). E.g. fan, n. in the sense of «an enthusiastic admirer of some kind of sport or of an actor, singer, etc.» is a shortening produced from fanatic. Its homonym is a Latin borrowing fan, n. which denotes an implement for waving lightly to produce a cool current of air. The noun rep, n. denoting a kind of fabric has three homonyms made by shortening: rep, n. (< repertory), rep, n. (< representative), rep, n. (< reputation), all the three are informal words.
What is a Root Word?
Have you ever noticed that many of the words in English have many variations? For example, take the word biology. You can also have bioluminescence, biosphere, and even biodegradable. All of these words begin the same, but none of them have the same meaning.
Root words are the reason that we can have such an extensive vocabulary with millions of words to articulate exactly what we want.
Root words are the basic form of the word. This means that it cannot be further divided — it’s at its most basic form. It is the most concentrated form and provides the most meaningful value to words. They carry most of the meaning.
There are some English root words (we’ll dig into this later), but most common root words have originated from Latin and Greek words. This is what sometimes makes it hard to determine the meaning of a root. Take, for example, biology. The root bio means life, but since it is derived from the Greek word that means life. Without an understanding of root words, we wouldn’t be able to know that life and bio mean the same thing quickly.
Sometimes when dealing with root words, you will see the term “base word” being used. Since we have already established that a root word is the stem of a word, it would be easy to assume that base word is a proper way of referring to a root. Many people use these terms interchangeably, but they are different. It is essential to understand the distinction.
A base word is a word in English that can stand on its own. It can be transformed with the use of affixes. Root words specifically refer to roots that are derived from Latin and Greek.
Two Types of Root Words
As mentioned, there are two common types of root words: Latin and Greek. These root words serve as a road map of the development of these languages throughout history. If you are trying to learn a new language (especially if they are Latin based like French and Spanish), you will find that these roots will aid in the memorization of new vocabulary words.
Examples of Common Greek Roots
There are many ways that you can use root words in day-to-day English. Having an understanding of the roots will help you define on the fly, but for many, there is a more urgent need to studying root words: the .
The GRE verbal section demands that test-takers understand roots to define terms accurately. Of course, just like all vocabulary testing, it is unrealistic to think that you can dedicate all of your time to studying lists of thousands of root words and vocabulary to prepare for the exam.
The GRE will test your skills in three different sections, including Sentence Equivalence, Text Completion, and Reading Comprehension.
Many people believe the verbal section is the most challenging on the test because the volume of vocabulary knowledge is so vast that you cannot simply wing it and expect to score high on this section. That’s why we have identified the most effective ways to prepare for the verbal section using root words.
Before we dig in, let’s review one final characteristic of root words: affixes.
Why Are Roots Commonly Grouped with Affixes?
Root words and affixes are commonly grouped. There is a reason for this! Remember, we have already discussed that each word is pieced together with different parts (that include the root). Affixes are either at the beginning or end of a word. Again, these are common word parts that help us define the complete term.
Affixes can either be a prefix or a suffix, but either will help define the word. For example, un- is a prefix for remove. Just like root words can help us define the word, affixes can help us take it a step further in getting the most accurate definition possible.
Much like building a house, each brick serves a purpose in building the structure. The affixes and root words are the bricks to building a complete word and effectively build a word that accurately represents it’s intended definition.
Study High-Frequency Roots
Instead of studying 500 different root words, consider making a list of the 50 (or 100) most common. When selecting your words, think about how many words include the root, that would give you an advantage during testing if you encounter a word that you don’t know.
Once you have identified the common root words (psst, we have compiled a couple of lists for you above), write them on a flashcard (or use an app like
), and begin working through memorizing the roots.
Depending on how much time before the test you have given yourself, you may be able to repeat this process 2-3 times with new words to expand your vocabulary. Make sure that if you make multiple decks that you return to previous decks, shuffling the words, to retain the older knowledge.
If you are going to work on memorizing root words, remember sustained memorization over a lot of time is better than quick cramming right before the exam. Just like digging a trench, if you make a short length but deep, you will be more likely to keep water out over a long stretch at 1-inch deep.
Use the Waterfall Method
A popular method to study flashcards is called the waterfall method. This method requires that you create a deck of vocabulary words. To start, pass through the deck once creating two piles: known and unknown terms.
With the unknown pile, pass through the words again and make two more piles: known and unknown.
Repeat the process until you can recall every word in the deck and then start over.
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Use a Variety of Lists
When preparing for the GRE, it is essential that you do not limit yourself to studying only root words to excel on the verbal portion of the test.
Roots, while helpful in defining terms, can be problematic. Since many roots sound similar but have different meanings, it can cause test-takers to select the wrong answer, thinking they have chosen the correct one based on their knowledge about roots.
When studying for the GRE pull from different lists to get a holistic view of the terms for the test. These can include root words (of course), affixes, high-frequency vocab words, and more.
Practice Makes (Nearly) Perfect
One of the best ways to prepare for the GRE is to work through practice tests. When you practice using the format of the exam, you are less likely to be slowed down by the phrasing of questions. The most important thing to remember when practicing is to practicing in unideal environments. Getting used to processing the questions with background noise will allow you the ability to think in a large testing room.
If you are looking for a fantastic test prep workbook, ArgoPrep has you covered. With workbooks that are guaranteed to improve test scores, you will have all of the tools to prep for your GRE testing day.
Plus, each workbook includes access to ArgoPrep’s online library of video explanations, extra practice, and curated practice to challenge you.
Examples of Common Latin Roots