10 Processes of Word Formation | Morphology

 Ten Processes of Word Formation

Word formation is the branch of linguistics that examines derived word in terms of their origin and functioning, their productivity and their use in different styles of speech. Word formation is an important means of supplementing or enhancing vocabulary. It helps in forming specialized terms. There are about ten processes of word formation, which we are going to discuss in this article.

Word formation has traditionally been considered a branch of lexicology. Lexicology refers to the study of the form, meaning and behaviour of words. 

Word formation is also considered a branch of morphology as morphemes help in forming new words. In this way, word formation is also known as derivational morphology.

Processes of word formation:

  1. Coinage
  2. Borrowing
  3. Compounding
  4. Blending
  5. Clipping
  6. Back formation
  7. Conversion
  8. Derivation
  9. Acronyms
  10. Abbreviations

What is word formation?

Before jumping into the processes of word formation let's discuss in a brief what word formation is:
Word formation is a process by which new words are produced either by modification of existing words or by complete innovation.

Word Formation is the study of how words are formed. It is a means of deriving or generating linguistic units to invent a new word or to construct a new linguistic concept.

Word formation can be done through a lot of ways. Through the course of time many word formation processes have evolved which are as follows :
  1. Coinage,
  2. Borrowing,
  3. Compounding,
  4. Blending,
  5. Clipping,
  6. Back formation,
  7. Conversion,
  8. Derivation,
  9. Acronyms,
  10. Abbreviations.
These are the ten Processes of word formation which we are going to discuss in the given article.
What are the processes of Word Formation?

Now, let's have a brief look on each of these processes of word formation, one by one :

Processes of Word Formation :

1) Coinage: 

One of the first processes of word formation is coinage. Due to invention of new things new names are invented. Hence new words are formed.

For ex. Tik tok, laptop, computer.

Coinage is the invention or creation of new words or terms. Coinage is the process whereby new words are created outright, either deliberately or accidentally, to fit some purpose. 

Coining as a process of word formation is very rare, it does not happen always. However in the modern changing world, particularly in the fields of media, businesses and medicinal research, it may take place as people may try to coin new words for their new products or inventions.

Ex. Google, facebook, youtube.

2) Borrowing:

This has been one of the most common process of word formation especially for English. 

In this process of word formation new words are formed through the process of borrowing or taking a word from one language into another language.

For ex. Sofa is an arabic word.
Jungle is a hindi word used in english.

In this process, words are borrowed due to historical occurrences, such as conquests and invasions, or due to geographical proximity. borrowing requires that the borrowing language and the source language come into contact with each other.

Ex. Alcohol from arabic, boss from dutch are borrowed into English.

3) Compounding : 

Compounding is the process of word formation through which even a common individual can form new words.

In this process new words are formed by joining or adding two existing words.

E.g. Life + Style = Lifestyle,
Text + book = textbook.

compounding forms a new word out of two or more different words. In other words, compounding is the word formation process in which two or more lexemes combine into a single new word. Compounding is a very common process in most languages of the world.

Ex. Black + board = blackboard.

4) Blending: 

In this process of word formation the initial part of a word is added to the latter part of another word.

Ex. Smoke + fog = smog,
Breakfast + lunch = branch,
Television + broadcast = telecast

blending is the process whereby new words are formed by combining parts of 2 words usually the beginning of one word and the end of another word.

Ex. Helicopter + airport = heliport.

5) Clipping : 

In this process new words are created by cutting short a long word to a smaller word. In other words, in this process a multi syllabic word is reduced to a single syllabic or a word that has less syllables.

Ex. Advertisement --> Ad,
Handkerchief --> hankie,
Internet --> net.

Clipping is the process whereby new words are formed by shortening other words i.e. by eliminating the initial part, the last part or both the parts of an original word.

Ex. Phone = telephone, plane = airplane , exam = examination, Refrigerator = fridge.

Note: Clipped forms generally show a certain tone of informality, which is often reflected in their spellings. For example cause in place of because, praps for perhaps.

6) Back-formation: 

As the name itself suggests in this process a new smaller word is derived by reducing and changing the grammatical form of the original word.

Ex. Education --> educate,
Promotion --> promote.

It refers to a specialized type of reduction process in which a word of one type (usually A noun) is reduced to form another word of a different type (usually verb) or vice versa. 

Ex. Donation (noun) = donate (verb), 
revision (noun)  = revise (verb).

7) Conversion : 

When we start using same word for the different grammatical forms of itself.

Ex. Walk is a verb but nowadays it is also used as a noun. (He is gone for a walk)

Conversion or zero derivation is the process by which new words are created by using a word in new functions (i.e. by shifting, changing or converting its original grammatical class to another class) without any change in its form or without changing its form.

Ex. Water is a noun. But we have started using it as a verb also, as in this case: "they water the plant every morning".

8) Derivation : 

To derive a word of another grammatical category by adding derivational morphemes.

Ex. Manage + ment --> management,
Care + ful --> careful.

Derivation is a part of bound morpheme. It is made by means of many small bits of the English language which are not usually given separate listings in dictionary. They are known as affixes.

9) Acronyms : 

It is the process of creating new words by bringing the initial letters of a set, a group or a series of words and putting them together then pronouncing them as a whole new word.

Ex. ISRO = indian space research organization.

10) Abbreviation : 

It is same as acronym, the only difference is that the letters brought together are pronounced separately in this case.

Ex. CNG = compressed natural gas,
BSNL= Bharat Sanchar Nigam limited.

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