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Word Formation

 Etymology
The study of the origin and history of a word is known as its etymology. When we look closely at the etymologies of
less technical words, we soon discover that there are many different ways in which new words can enter the
 Coinage
Coinage is the invention of totally new terms. The most typical sources are invented trade names for commercial
products that become general terms (usually without capital letters) for any version of that product. For example:
aspirin, nylon, google, ebay and ebaying.
New words based on the name of a person or a place are called eponyms. For example: sandwich and jeans.
 Borrowing
Borrowing is the process by which English adopts words from other languages. For example: piano and sofa. For
example: arena, macho, déjà vu, algebra.
A special type of borrowing is described as loan-translation/calque. In this process, there is a direct translation of the
elements of a word into the borrowing language.
 Compounding
Compounding is the joining of two separate words to produce a single form. Common English compounds are nouns,
but we can also create compound adjectives and compounds of adjective plus noun. For example: fast-food, full-time,
home-made and first class.
 Blending
Blending is the combination of two separate forms to produce a single new term. Typically accomplished by taking
only the beginning of one word and joining it to the end of the other word. For example: brunch, motel, smog and
In a few blends, we combine the beginnings of both words, as in terms from information and technology. For
example: telex (teleprinter/exchange) and modem (modulator/demodulator).
 Clipping
Clipping is when a word of more than one syllable is reduced to a shorter form, usually beginning in casual speech.
English speakers also like to clip each other’s names. For example: (facsimile) fax, (gasoline) gas and (Tomas) Tom.
Hypocorism is the process by which a longer word is reduced to a single syllable, then -y or -ie is added to the end. For
example: (moving pictures) movies and (television) telly.
 Backformation
Backformation is when a word of one type (usually a noun) is reduced to form a word of another type (usually a verb).
For example: (television) televise, (option) opt and (worker) work.
 Conversion
Conversion is when there is a change in the function of a word. The conversion can involve:
1. Verbs becoming nouns. For example: guess, must and spy.
2. Phrasal verbs also become nouns. For example: (to print out) a printout and (to take over) a takeover.
3. Complex verb combination has become a new noun. For example: (want to be) wannabe.
4. Verbs (see through, stand up) also become adjectives. For example: (see through) a see-through material and
(stand up) a stand-up comedian.
5. Adjectives can become verbs or nouns For example: (dirty) to dirty, (empty) to empty, (crazy) crazy and
(nasty) nasty.
6. Other forms, such as up and down, can also become verbs. For example: (up and down) up and down,
(doctor) to doctor and (run around) run around.

 Acronyms
Acronyms are new words formed from the initial letters of a set of other words. For example: laser (“light
amplification by stimulated emission of radiation”), radar (“radio detecting and ranging”), ATM (“automatic teller
machine”) and the required PIN (“personal identification number”).

 Derivation
Derivation is accomplished by means of a large number of small “bits” of the English language, known as affixes. For
example: un-, mis-, pre-, -ful, -less, -ish, -ism and –ness.
Prefixes and suffixes
Some affixes have to be added to the beginning of the word. These are called prefixes. For example: un-, mis- .
Other affixes have to be added to the end of the word and are called suffixes. For example: -less, -ish.
There is a third type of affix called infixes, these are incorporated inside another words. For example:
Hallebloodylujah!, Absogoddamlutely! and Unfuckinbelievable
 Lexical relations

Words can also have “relationships” with each other. In everyday talk, we often explain the meanings of words in
terms of their relationships. In doing so, we are characterizing the meaning of each word, not in terms of its
component features, but in terms of its relationship to other words. This approach is used in the semantic description
of language and treated as the analysis of lexical relations.

Two or more words with very closely related meanings are called synonyms. They can often, though not always, be
substituted for each other in sentences.
Synonymous forms may also differ in terms of formal versus informal uses. For example: almost/nearly, big/large,
broad/wide, buy/purchase, cab/taxi, car/automobile, couch/sofa, and freedom/liberty.

Two forms with opposite meanings are called antonyms. For example: alive/dead, big/small, fast/slow, happy/sad,
hot/cold, long/short, male/female, married/single, old/new, rich/poor, true/false.
Antonyms are usually divided into two main types:
 Gradable: (opposites along a scale) can be used in comparative constructions. For example: big/ small.
 Non-gradable: (direct opposites) comparative constructions are not normally used. For example:
male/female, married/single and true/false.
 Reversives: For example: enter/exit, pack/unpack, lengthen/shorten, raise/lower and tie/untie.

When the meaning of one form is included in the meaning of another, the relationship is described as hyponymy. For
example: animal/dog, dog/poodle, vegetable/ carrot, flower/rose, and tree/banyan.
They can be divided into:
 Superordinate terms: They are the higher level. For example: animal and insect.
 Co-hyponyms: Two or more words that share the same superordinate term. For example: dog and horse.

Words describing “actions,” can all be treated as co-hyponyms of the superordinate terms.

The concept of a prototype helps explain the meaning of certain words, not in terms of component features, but in
terms of resemblance to the clearest example.
It is clear that there is some general pattern to the categorization process involved in prototypes and that it
determines our interpretation of word meaning. For example: furniture/chair, vegetables/tomato and clothing/shirt.

Homophones and homonyms

When two or more different (written) forms have the same pronunciation, they are described as homophones. For
example: see/sea, hair/heir and mail/male.

We use the term homonyms when one form (written or spoken) has two or more unrelated meanings. Homonyms are
words that have separate histories and meanings, but have accidentally come to have exactly the same form. For
example: pupil (at school) – pupil (in the eye) and race (contest of speed) – race (ethnic group).

When we encounter two or more words with the same form and related meanings, we have what is technically known
as polysemy. Polysemy can be defined as one form (written or spoken) having multiple meanings that are all related
by extension.
For example: head (used to refer to the object on top of your body, froth on top of a glass of beer, person at the top
of a company or department).

There is another type of relationship between words, based simply on a close connection in everyday experience. That
close connection can be based on:
1. a container–contents relation (bottle/water, can/juice),
2. a whole–part relation (car/wheels, house/roof)
3. a representative–symbolic relationship (king/crown, the President/the White House).

Using one of these words to refer to the other is an example of metonymy.

 Collocation

Words that often occur together.

These could be:

• Verb + nouns
• Adjective + noun
• Adverb + adjective
• Prepositional phrase
• Noun phrases
• Similes
• Idiomatic expressions

 Reference
We have to define reference as an act by which a speaker (or writer) uses language to enable a listener (or reader) to
identify something. To perform an act of reference, we can use proper nouns, other nouns in phrases or pronouns.
We sometimes assume that these words identify someone or something uniquely, but it is more accurate to say that,
for each word or phrase, there is a “range of reference.”
a. Anaphoric: that is, the referring pronoun is after the referent.
b. Cataphoric: that is, the referring pronoun is before the referent.
c. Exophoric: that is, the referent is not in the text but in the context.
Discourse analysis
The word “discourse” is usually defined as “language beyond the sentence” and so the analysis of discourse is typically
concerned with the study of language in texts and conversations. We have the ability to create complex discourse
interpretations of fragmentary linguistic messages.

Texts must have a certain structure that depends on factors quite different from those required in the structure of a
single sentence. Some of those factors are described in terms of cohesion, or the ties and connections that exist
within texts.
A number of those types of cohesive ties can be identified in the following paragraph.
 There are connections present here in the use of words to maintain reference to the same people and things
throughout: father – he – he – he; my – my – I; Lincoln – it.
 There are connections between phrases such as: a Lincoln convertible – that car – the convertible.
 There are more general connections created by a number of terms that share a common element of meaning,
such as “money” (bought – saving – penny – worth a fortune – sold – pay) and “time” (once – nowadays –
 There is also a connector (However) that marks the relationship of what follows to what went before.
 The verb tenses in the first four sentences are all in the past, creating a connection between those events, and
a different time is indicated by the present tense of the final sentence.

By itself, cohesion would not be sufficient to enable us to make sense of what we read. It is quite easy to create a
highly cohesive text that has a lot of connections between the sentences, but is very difficult to interpret.
It becomes clear from this type of example that the “connectedness” we experience in our interpretation of normal
texts is not simply based on connections between the words. There must be some other factor that leads us to
distinguish connected texts that make sense from those that do not. This factor is usually described as “coherence.”
The key to the concept of coherence (“everything fitting together well”) is not something that exists in words or
structures, but something that exists in people.

Schemas and scripts

A schema is a general term for a conventional knowledge structure that exists in memory. We were using our
conventional knowledge of what a school classroom is like, or a “classroom schema,” as we tried to make sense of the
previous example. We have many schemas (or schemata) that are used in the interpretation of what we experience
and what we hear or read about.
Similar in many ways to a schema is a script. A script is essentially a dynamic schema. That is, a series of conventional
actions that take place. You have a script for “Going to the dentist” and another script for “Going to the movies.”
Indeed, crucial information is sometimes omitted from important instructions on the assumption that everybody
knows the script.
To understand more about the connection between these two things, we have to take a close look at the workings of
the human brain.

Relative clauses identify or give information about someone or something in the main clause. They are introduced by
relative pronouns such as that, which and who.
 Defining relative clauses identify or classify a noun or a pronoun in the main clause. The information given in
this type of clause is necessary, which is why there is not a comma between the clauses.
 Non-defining relative clauses give extra information which is not defining.
 Comment clauses: we can add a non-defining relative clause to the end of the sentence to make a comment
about the information in the main clause. These types of clauses are common in spoken language.
 Reduced relative clauses: Participle clauses are an efficient way of giving information about a noun and can
often be used to replace a defining relative clause.

Participle clauses use participle forms to give more information about someone or something in the main clause. We
usually use a comma to separate the participle clause from the main clause. They have active or passive forms but they
do not have a tense.
Participle clauses give information about a noun in the main clause, so they don’t usually contain a subject.
 Reason: not being qualified, not having been asked, having forgotten to take my keys
 Condition: if treated, treated gently
 Result: leaving many workers without...

An infinitive clause can act as a subject or complement of the verb be or identify a noun. Infinitives can be active or
passive but they do not have a tense. We make infinitives negative by putting “not” in front of them.
 Defining: we can use an infinitive clause to identify or classify a person or thing in the main clause. We can do
this after a superlative or an ordinal number. We don’t usually use an infinitive clause to replace relative
clauses containing modal verbs.
 Purpose and result clauses: We often use an infinitive clause to describe a deliberate purpose or aim.
“David took a year out to travel to see the world.


A wh- clause can replace a noun or noun phrase.
A noun clause can start with that, if or whether, or a wh-. The clause acts like a noun.
“I’ll never understand why he did it” “I’ll never understand his reasons for doing it”


We usually use these clauses when something happens at around the same time
“Turning around the corner, we saw the hospital in front of us”
In written English, in -ing participle clauses often describes the setting or background.
We link sentences and clauses with conjunctions:
 Coordinating conjunctions: and, but, or. These link clauses of equal value, usually main clauses. The order of
the clauses is not important.
 Subordinating conjunctions link clauses that are not of equal value, i.e. a main clause and a subordinate

when, as, before, until, immediately, the moment, by the time, as soon as, once, whenever, now (time)
since (time, reason)
because, as, for, given that (reason)
so that, in order that (not),
in fear that, in order to, so as to (purpose)
so, because, so+adj/adv+that+... such… that... , too... + inf, adj+enough…, so much that (result)
if, unless, as long as, in case, on condition that, providing (condition),
as if, as go, to say how someone behaves or does something, but, why, whereas, whilst (contrast)
although, though, much as, even though, however+adj+much/many. Prepositions of concession: in spite of, despite,
tho, in spite of the fact that. These are always followed by a noun or an -ing form (concession)

The conjunction indicates the type of relationship between the main and the subordinate clause. When we want to
show a relation between two sentences rather than two clauses within one sentence, we use a linking adverbial. We
usually put this at the start of the second sentence, followed by a comma. after that (time), etc.

Linking sentences and clauses:

Linking two main clauses:
Linking a main and a subordinate clause
Wh- clause, adverbial clauses of time “when, before and after” adverbial clauses of condition “if” “unless” adverbial
clauses of contrast “although” “why”
 Linking adverbs of time and sequence: afterwards, beforehand, after that, then, next, following that,
eventually, finally, in the end, firstly, secondly, thirdly, finally.
 Linking adverbs of addition: in addition, similarly, furthermore, what is more, moreover, approximately, also.
 Linking adverbs of result and reason: therefore, consequently, accordingly, as a consequence/result, so, for
that reason
 Linking adverbs of contrast and concession: However, nevertheless, nonetheless, on the other hand, even so,
on the contrary, all the same, still, mind you, tho.
 N.N in conclusion, in brief, overall, all in all (to summarize) for example, for instance, such as (to give
examples) notably, namely (to name and/or explain something), in other words, to put it another way, that is
to say, that is, to mark a transition, by the way, come to think of it, incidentally (to mark a transition)
 Relative clauses: we usually put the subordinate clause after the main clause. We can reverse the order of the
clauses if we want to emphasize the information in the subordinate clause and we put a comma between the
Types of sentences:

 Simple Sentence: One independent clause (underlined).

"I love chocolate."
 Compound Sentence: Two or more independent clauses.
"I love chocolate, and I love eating chocolate."
 Complex Sentence: One independent clause and one or more dependent clauses (italicized).
"I love chocolate because it's sweet."
 Complex-Compound Sentence: Two or more independent clauses and one or more dependent clauses.
"I love chocolate because it's sweet, however I hate white chocolate because it's fattening."

Types of cohesive devices

Lexical cohesion
 Substitution with one: It is replacement of one linguistic item by another i.e. replacement of one word/phrase
with another word/phrase.
 Lexical items: Lexical cohesion is established through vocabulary. While reference, ellipsis and conjunction
tend to link clauses which are near each other in the text, lexical cohesion tends to link much larger parts of
the text.
 Collocation; is the way in which particular words tend to occur or belong together.
 Repetition, it is used to create emphasis.
 Informal vocabulary is used to create a closer relationship between the reader/listener and the
 Lists
 Synonyms/antonyms
 Quotation

Grammatical cohesion
 Reference (ana, cata, exo)
 Substitution of clauses with do, does, not and so.
 Ellipsis: It is the omission of a linguistic item in order to sound more fluent.
 Conjunctions: A word which joins words and sentences such as but, when, and, so, or, unless etc.
- Additive (substance added to another)
- Adversative (contrary to expectations)
-Causal (relations expressed by so, hence, therefore, thus) -
-Temporal (relation expressed by “then”)
 Nominalization
 Comparatives
 Tense
 Articles
 Inversion
 Cleft sentences
 Fronting

Rhetorical cohesion
 Parallelism
 Question - answer