Word, Roots, Affixes & Types of Affixes

 Word, Root word, Affixes & Types of Affixes

Que. Explain roots and affixes. Also write in detail about types of affixes.

Words, roots and affixes are basic units or elements in a language that by combining with each other in a certain way create new words, sometimes changing the grammatical meanings of the word completely or only the part of speech.

Before discussing about the roots and basic words let's first discuss what a words is:

Word :

a word is a minimal free unit having the distinctive meaning in itself. A word may consist of a single morpheme as in red, white, boy, Run etc. or more than one morphemes as in redness, boys, running, quickly. Word can be used in different senses, for example, as a physical unit and as a semantic entity.

The physical entities, the written or spoken forms of a word are called word forms. For example, talk, talked, talking are different word forms of word talk. Words can be combined together to form phrases, clauses and sentences. Spoken words are made up of units of sound called phonemes and written words of symbols are called graphemes.

Word, Roots, Affixes & Types of Affixes

As now we have discussed what a word is let's attend to under stand what a root is and how is it different from a basic word :

Roots & Basic words :

As we already know that many of the English words are formed by combining two words or some specific letters to a word in its initial or latter parts. These specific letters or a group of letters are called affixes.

The word with which affixes are added to, in order to crate a new word, is called a root or basic word. Root or basic words are called so because they form the basis of a new word, when combined with a certain combination of affixes.

A root word or basic word is a word in itself i.e. it has the meaning in itself and it can be used as a stand alone word. For example, fairly is a word formed by combining fair and ly where fair is a root or basic word and ly is a suffix. Here fair, which is a root word for faily, also has a meaning in itself and is a stand alone word.

Hence, a basic word is always a stand alone word i.e. it can be used alone but a root is not a stand alone word always. A root may be a stand alone word or it may not. For example, the traditional roots by which new English words have been formed, generally, do not possess any meaning on their own. They are not stand alone, let's look at these examples:

Reject word is created by combining re + ject where re is a prefix and ject is a root. Here we can easily find that ject although it is a root but it doesn't has any meaning in itself. Similarly, bene is a root for the words like benefactor and benevolent but it is not a standalone word.

Now as we have discussed root and basic words in detail let's understand what is an affixes and what are its different types :

Affixes :

Affixes are bound morphemes. They are letters generally added to the beginning or end of a root word or inserted within a word to change its meaning.

In simple terms, affixes are those letters which when added to an existing word or a root have the potential to change the meaning of the word. Affixes are of four types as shown in the diagram:

1) prefix, 2) suffix, 3) circumfix and 4) inflix

a) Prefix:

A prefix is the letter or a group of letters that is always placed at the beginning of a word. It always precedes the base word. 

For example, when un precedes necessary it forms un-necessaryil precedes logical and forms illogical, re precedes start and forms re-start.

b) Suffixes:

It follows the base. Suffixes are placed at the end of a word. for example: Cleanli-nessregular-lyavail-able etc.

C) Infix : 

an infix is a woard element (a type of affix) that can be inserted within a word.

Infixes are relatively very rare in English. But we can find them in the plural forms of some words.

Ex. Cupful= cupsful,

Spoonful = spoonful,

Passerby = passersby.

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