Conversion is the process of coining a new word in a different part of speech and with different distribution characteristics but without adding any derivative element, so that the basic form of the original and the basic form of derived words are homonymous. work – to work, love – to love, water – to water.
Many affixes are homonymous and therefore the general sound pattern does not contain any information as to the possible part of speech. e.g.: maiden (N), darken (V), woollen (A), often (Adv).
The two categories of parts of speech especially affected by conversion are the noun and the verb. Verbs made from nouns are the most numerous among the words produced by conversion. e.g.: to hand, to face, to nose, to dog, to blackmail.
Nouns are frequently made from verbs: catch, cut, walk, move, go. Verbs can also be made from adjectives: to pale, to yellow, to cool.
Partial conversion is a kind of a double process when first a noun is formed by conversion from a verbal stem and next this noun is combined with such verbs as to give, to make, to take to form a separate phrase: to have a look, to take a swim, to give a whistle.
Reconversion is the phenomenon when one of the meanings of the converted word is a source for a new meaning of the same stem: cable (металлический проводник) – to cable (телеграфировать) – cable(телеграмма); help(помощь) – to help (помогать, угощать) – help (порция еды), deal (количество) – to deal (раздавать) – deal (раздача карт).
Substantivation can also be considered as a type of conversion. Complete substantivation is a kind of substantivation when the whole paradigm of a noun is acquired: a private - the private – privates – the privates. Alongside with complete substantivation there exists partial substantivation when a feature or several features of a paradigm of a noun are acquired: the rich.
Composition can be defined as the formation of a lexical unit out of two or more stems, usually the first differentiating, modifying or qualifying and the second identifying. The last element expresses a general meaning, whereas the prefixed element renders it less generally. Any compound word has at least two semantic centres but they are never equal in their semantic value. Thus a compound word is characterised by both structural and semantic unity. It makes them function in a sentence as a separate lexical unit.
Compound words with the solid representation: spacecraft, hardtop.
Compound words can be further classified: from the functional point of view, from the point of view of the way the components of the compounds are linked together, from the point of view of different ways of composition.
Compound words represented by a phrase: cold war, free flight.
In the English language compound words can be graded according to frequency in the following way: nouns – adjectives – verbs.
According to the type of relationship between the components compound words can be coordinativesubordinative
Coordinative are the compounds in which neither of the components dominates the other, both are structurally and semantically independent: secretary-stenographer, actor- manager.
The constituent stems belong to the same part of speech. They are divided into three groups: 1. Additive compounds denote a person or an object that is two things at the same time: actor-manager is an actor and a manager at the same time 2. Reduplicative compounds are the result of the repetition of the same stem: fifty-fifty, tick-tick. 3. Compounds which are formed by joining the phonetically variated rhythmic forms of the same stem are: drip-drop, ding-dong,
Subordinative compounds are the words in which the components are not equal either semantically or structurally. The second component is the structural centre, the grammatically dominant part of the word, which imparts its part-of- speech meaning to the whole word: stone-deaf, age-long, wrist-watch, baby-sitter.
According to the order of components subordinative compounds are divided into Syntactic are the words the components of which are placed in the order of words in free phrases: bluebell, slow-coach, know- nothing. Asyntactic are the words whose stems are not placed in the order that resembles the order of words in a free phrase: red- hot, tear-stained, oil- rich.
According to the degree of motivation compound words can be Motivated compounds are those whose meanings are the sum of meanings of their components: blackboard, classroom. Partially motivated compounds are those in which one of the components has changed its meaning: chatter-box, lady- killer. Non-motivated compounds are those in which neither of the elements preserves its meaning: ladybird, tallboy.
Structurally compounds can be classified into Neutral compounds that are formed without any linking elements are called simple neutral: sun-flower, shop-window. Morphological compounds are formed by means of some linking element: Anglo-Saxon, spokesman, handicraft. Syntactic compounds are formed from segments of speech: Jack-of-all-trades, pick-me-up, go-between, Jack-in-the-box, stay-at-home.
Word-building processes involve not only qualitative but also quantitative changes. As a type of word-building shortening of spoken words also called clipping, curtailment or contraction, is recorded in the English language as far back as 15 century. It is another fairly productive way of vocabulary enrichment. The moving force behind it is economy of effort expressed in the trend towards monosyllabism that has always been characteristic of the English vocabulary.
Among shortenings distinction should be made between lexical abbreviations clippings
Lexical abbreviations are formed by a simultaneous operation of shortening and compounding. Distinction should be made between shortening of words in written speech and in the sphere of oral intercourse. Shortening of words in written speech results in graphical abbreviations which are signs representing words and word groups of high frequency in various spheres of human activity: RD for road, St for street on envelopes. English graphical abbreviations include rather numerous shortened variants of Latin and French words and word groups: a.m. (Lat. ante meridiem) – in the morning, before noon; p.m. (Lat. post meridiem) – in the afternoon.
The second group of shortened words is represented by clippings. Clipping consists in the cutting off of one of several syllables of the word. It can be of three types: 1. aphaeresis, 2. syncope, 3. apocope.
Aphaeresis is the omission of the initial part of the word. In many cases the shortened word differs from its source only stylistically: telephone – phone, omnibus – bus.
Syncope is the omission of an unstressed middle syllable: fantasy – fancy, courtesy – curtsy. Syncopated words used to be popular with poets (een – even, neer – never) because of purely rhythmical considerations. There are some graphical abbreviations of this type: Mr, Mrs, LP.
Apocope is the omission of the final part of the word. It is the most productive type of shortening. It is mostly through apocope that stylistic synonyms are coined. It is the colloquial layer that profits from apocope: gym (gymnasium), specs (spectacles), croc (crocodile). Proper names are also apocopated: Nick (Nicholas), Ed (Edward).
Back formation is a term of diachronistic linguistics. It implies the inferring of a short word from a long one. If we take, for example, the word speaker we reasonably connect it with the verb to speak. The existence of a derivative speaker suggests that the basic word speak also exists.
5. Blending The term blending is used to designate the method of merging parts of words (not morphemes) into one new word.
A telegram sent by cable is a cablegram. The astronaut has a tool, a space hammer, which is known as spammer. News that is broadcast is a newscast. If фрукт is added to йогурт you will get фругурт.
6. Sound Interchange In English sound interchange used to play a certain role in word-building: sit – sat, fall – fell. Vowel interchange is the most widespread case: food – feed, tooth – teeth. Consonant interchange is a more rare case: advice – advise. In other cases both vowel and consonant interchange takes place: bath – to bathe, grass – to graze. Sometimes sound interchange is accompanied by affixation: deep – depth, long – length.
7. Stress Interchange Many English verbs of Latin- French origin are distinguished from the corresponding nouns by the position of the stress: 'conduct – to con'duct, 'present – to pre'sent, 'export – to ex'port, 'import – to im'port.
8. Sound Imitation Words coined by this type of word building are made by imitating different kinds of sounds that may be produced by animals, birds, human beings and inanimate objects.