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Word formation

Word formation is the processes by which new words (and word forms) are created, including:

  • concatenative processes like:
    • affixation;
    • compounding; and
    • univerbation;
  • subtractive-and-concatenative process like:
    • blending; and
    • contraction;
  • subtractive processes like:
    • clipping;
    • back-formation; and
    • shortening;
  • base modification processes like:
    • deformation; and
    • neoanalysis; and
  • conversion.

Base modification processes fall outside the scope of the first version of the Afrikaans morphology section. For a description of similar processes in English, see Mattiello (2013), and for Dutch see Meesters (2004).

Inflectional processes are excluded from word formation in most morphological theories. However, in the Afrikaans morphology section of Taalportaal the view is held that the distinction between derivation and inflection could best be abandoned for all descriptive purposes of Afrikaans complex words (see the discussion here). Instead, these notions are subsumed under the heading of affixation, while the distinction between word and word form is also abandoned. Where expressions like "X is derived from Y" occur, or "X is a form of Y", neither descriptive nor theoretical import should be given to the words "derived" and "form".

Elsewhere on Taalportaal a distinction is drawn between word formation and word creation (a.k.a. word manufacturing), where the latter refers to the formation of new words by other means than regular morphological processes, for instance acronyms and abbreviations. In the Afrikaans morphology section of Taalportaal, word creation processes like blending, gapping, base modification, etc., are all subsumed under the heading of word formation processes; in Figure 1, such processes are grouped together by means of a dotted-line box.

Also note in Figure 1 the following:

  • Univerbation is connected to concatenation with a dashed line, indicating that univerbation is an extension of what is traditionally understood under the category concatenation.
  • The dashed line between gapping and clipping also indicate the relation between these processes, with the former and extension of the latter.
  • Similarly, back-formation is an extension of neoanalysis, indicated with a dashed line.

Figure 1: Taxonomy of word formation processes in Afrikaans
[click image to enlarge]

  • Meesters, Gert2004Marginale morfologie in het Nederlands. Paradigmatische samenstellingen, neo-klassieke composita en splintercompositaGentKoninklijke Academie voor Nederlandse Taal- en Letterkunde
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