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I am familiar to the concept of Part of Speech changing from one grammatical category to another grammatical category. However, my question is, why would I need to change an existing word from one grammatical category to another??

Why changing words from nouns to verbs are important? Why changing nouns into adjectives etc?

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  • What you you mean by "changing an existing word from one grammatical category to another"? Could you give an example?
    – lemontree
    Sep 24 '16 at 17:47
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    I think he might mean zero derivation Sep 25 '16 at 2:35
  • What do you mean 'why'? Are you asking what the purpose is for using one word, which is normally a noun, and using that same word as a verb?
    – Mitch
    Sep 29 '16 at 15:11
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I'm assuming you're talking about derivational morphology: adding prefixes and suffixes to words to change their part of speech.

The answer is: because it gives you more words! Take the word "dependency" for example. This is a noun derived from the adjective "dependent", which is derived from the verb "depend". So learning the one word "depend" and its meaning, lets you create several other related words as well.

For another example, let's say I'd never seen the word "judgmentally" before. But I know the verb "judge", and I know that "-ment" turns a verb into a noun (the result of _____ing), and that "-al" turns a noun into an adjective (pertaining to _____), and that "-ly" turns an adjective into an adverb (in a _____ manner).

In short, derivational morphology lets you say more things, without memorizing too many more words.

Other interpretation: if you're talking about "verbing", where a word is treated as a different part of speech without changing its appearance at all, that's interesting morphologically because it changes the other morphemes you can use with that word. You wouldn't expect to be putting "-ing" on nouns, for example.

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