Questions tagged [word-formation]

For questions on how words in a language are formed.

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27 views

Is there a modification of Bloomfield's (1926) definition of a word that would include function words?

Bloomfield (1926) defined a word as the following: A form which may be uttered alone (with meaning) but cannot be analyzed into parts that may (all of them) be uttered alone (with meaning) (p. 156) ...
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1answer
93 views

Is *grandmother* a compound?

"Grand is used in a specialized sense in kin terms like grandmother or grandson to indicate a further degree of lineal distance beyond that expressed in the head. Such forms can themselves be modified ...
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1answer
67 views

Identify the status of the word-final -s

I don't understand this question, but we have to classify if each word-final -s or -er is not a suffix or if it is an inflectional or derivational suffix. I specifically don't understand the wording "...
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63 views

What do you call the revival of an obsolete word for a new meaning

Let's say carrot for a shade of orange. Suppose carrot is not used for the color and I wanted one to describe the vegetable's color. So, I revive the displaced more for the color. What do you call ...
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1answer
47 views

What is the term for a word made from a sentence?

I thought the term was 'periphrase', but looking that up it that apparently isn't the case. I don't know how I got my terms mixed up. By 'words made from a sentence', I mean such words as 'forget-me-...
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166 views

Genocide vs. genticide [closed]

I was interested in understanding the origin and meaning of the word "genocide" and went to the Online Etymology Dictionary where it says that "The proper formation would be genticide." Why would the ...
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1answer
77 views

Why is it usually not ambiguous to nominalize a verb, but it is to verbalize a noun? [closed]

As in "eat > eating", the meaning of the generated word would not make confusion, but if I make a word formation like "lamp(N) > *lamp(V)", it doesn't make sense, unless the generated word is ...
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40 views

(How) Can one create a language in a classroom setting?

My wife questioned me if there's a subject that I cannot teach effectively (per my standards of making the students salivate for more). I mentioned my weakness at teaching languages, English for ...
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2answers
147 views

How is chapter related to head?

In several languages, the word for "chapter" (a self-contained unitary text of a book) comes from the word for "head": In Latin, "capitulum" (literally "small head") comes from caput (head). This ...
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1answer
110 views

What's the difference between לזכור and להיזכר in Modern Hebrew? [closed]

In Modern Hebrew, the words לזכור and להיזכר both mean "to remember" and they both come from the root 'זכר'. As an English speaker, it's as if there were two words, "remember" and "remomber" and there ...
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1answer
120 views

Inventing a word?

Can I just string a couple letters together, slap on a meaning and call it a word? Or is their a process it has to go through to be considered a word? Do all new words need to be traced back to an ...
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33 views

Verbs and onomatopeias for knocking

I was reading the Wikipedia article regarding Cross-linguistic onomatopoeias. It struck me that the verb for knocking is similar to the onomatopoeia of knocking in various languages. To knock and ...
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1answer
100 views

What determines how a language creates new words? For example, is it likely for English to continue to create new words from Latin in future?

In particular, I'm curious about the phenomenon where a language creates most new, modern words using a dead ancient language, rather than its existing, living original word roots. One example is ...
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2answers
1k views

Morphology vs Etymology

Morphology is the component of grammar that builds words out of units of meaning(morphemes) where a morpheme is the smallest meaningful unit of language. Etymology is the study of the origin of words ...
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3answers
202 views

Why does the name for Germany vary so much between languages?

I understand that there are occasionally one or two different origins for the same word, but for Germany there are at least six distinct roots found in languages of nearby countries. Why so for ...
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2answers
235 views

Why “agoraphobia” not “agorophobia”?

Greek compounds are usually made by combining the roots of two nouns and inserting a linking thematic vowel when it would result in a sequence of two consonants. The vowel is usually -o-, so we have e....
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2answers
139 views

Why do native English speakers analyze “a lot” as one word?

At least in the US, many, maybe most, native English speakers spell "a lot" as one word until taught otherwise. Why is this such a common phenomenon? There are several pieces of (non-written based) ...
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2answers
131 views

Do languages still invent absolutely new single words, or is coining done around pre existing words?

By absolutely new single word I mean a word that didn't exist in the language and was made up using the correct phonology of the language (I am using the qualifier "correct" because I am assuming that ...
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1answer
54 views

Having trouble with assigning stress degrees to a long compound

I need to give the stress degrees for each component in "compressed air powered fence post driver". If I want to argue that "compressed air powered fence post driver" is a compound, what are the ...
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2answers
73 views

Do Word Formation Rules have to do only with polymorphemic words? [closed]

Word Formation Rules are responsible for the existence of well formed words. Are simple words (single, free morphemes) the result of word formation rules?
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1answer
43 views

What term describes the production of new words by 'aggregating them'?

Certain words seem to come from gluing or aggregating other extant words; what is the technical name given for phenomenon? For example: In Sanskrit: pratyaksanamanagamah; where pratyaksa is percept, ...
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2answers
308 views

What does kon- in “konfix” mean?

I understand the meaning of "suf-" in "suffix","pre-" in "prefix" but what actually means "kon-" in "konfix"? Edit: I was studying german linguistic,so I mean "confix" with "Konfix"
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1answer
4k views

What is the oldest known English word that means “penis”? [closed]

Seriously. There are words of Anglo-Saxon origin for all other organs and activities that used to be taboo (some still are) dating back to pre-Conquest days. But nothing for "penis". I find it hard to ...
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1answer
65 views

When and why did 'another' start being used as one word?

I assume the word came from a meshing together of 'other' with its indefinite article'. When (and why) did English speakers begin to use this version, instead of 'an other'? And why is it still ...
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179 views

Did German or English form of infinitive appear first?

German and English languages have a common root but an innumerable amount of differences. One of them is how infinitive is formed. In English we have to+verb: "to stand" in German we have a verb ...
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2answers
2k views

Is it possible for a language to have both left-headed and right-headed compounds?

Is it possible for a language to have both left-headed and right-headed compounds? And can one please explain this with examples and with the use of linguistic reasoning based on morphology?
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52 views

“Rate” or “score” a word by various parameters

I’m working on a small project which involves a large list of words (single words, no sentence) and I would love to have a way to “rate” or “score” each word by some parameters. Right now I have two ...
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123 views

Constructing/borrowing of complex scientific/technological/financial vocabulary in Esperanto [closed]

Most Esperanto scientific, some technology-specific, or financial dictionaries available online cover vast range, but mostly old terminology that was around for many years. How does one translate or ...
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2answers
233 views

Does the neologism “knowlet” have correct morphology in English?

I'm about creating a new word to denote small pieces of knowledge and understanding, like truthful sentences (eagles are birds), or informative news about technology (Google Chrome's market share ...
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2answers
167 views

Why do we use “someone” to signify one person?

I can't come up with a better title so let me just say that I'm sorry for misleading you if this question isn't even close to what you expected. First of all my observation: In the three languages ...
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2answers
766 views

Does the term “(highly) agglutinating language” refer to inflectional endings, word-formation processes, or both?

I had always thought agglutinative languages were inflected languages where the inflections to a greater degree are built up by multiple affixes, each having an atomic effect. (Unlike the -s on ...
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5answers
2k views

Can words be formed by deriving from just prefix(es) and suffix(es) with no actual root morpheme between?

I was just looking at a Zulu word entry in Wiktionary that implied it was made from a prefix and a suffix, but there was nothing between them. Now this could just be sloppy editing of Wiktionary but ...
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3answers
1k views

What kind of pluralisation system does Welsh use?

Many nouns in Welsh have a the plural form that is shorter than the singular form (i.e. the singular form looks like the plural form + affix). For example: Singular coeden 'tree' seren 'star' ...
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3answers
3k views

English co-compounds? Is bittersweet a co-compound?

I'm looking for English or other standard European language co-compounds, and for other common examples. I came across "bittersweet" but I'm not sure if it's really a co-compound. It has a ...