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Linguistics lecture 7November 4th, 2010
MORPHOLOGY
Derivation & Inflection
·Affixes can be derivational or inflectional
·Derivation is a morphological process by which a new and different word is created
from an existing base by the addition of an affix
· Inflection is a morphological process by which a word is modified to indicate
grammatical information of various sorts
Change in meaning
·Derivation: major change to the meaning of the word
oHappy -> unhappy
oSing -> singer
· Inflection: no major change. Adds certain details
oBook -> books
oPlay -> played
Change in lexical category
·Derivation: may be a change in lexical category
oHappy (A)-> happiness (N)
oHappy (A)-> unhappy (A)
· Inflection: lexical category does not change
oBook -> books (N)
Semantic drift
·Semantic drift: words formed by derivation may develop a meaning that is not
transparently predictable from the component morphemes
oSheepish: (i) sheep-like (rare) (ii) bashful
· Inflection: inflected forms of words almost never develop an idiosyncratic meaning
Lexical entry
·Derivation: creates separate lexical items (often with idiosyncratic meaning) that
are listed independent of their base in speakers’ mental dictionary (or ‘lexicon)
· Inflection does not create separate lexical items
Productivity
·Productivity refers to the relative freedom with which affixes can combine with
bases of the appropriate category
·Inflectional affixes are generally highly productive
·Derivational affixes often have limited productivity (th in truth cannot be
used on the word cold to make coldth)
oCertain derivational affixes are fairly productive (-er)
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Document Summary

Derivation is a morphological process by which a new and different word is created from an existing base by the addition of an affix. Inflection is a morphological process by which a word is modified to indicate grammatical information of various sorts. Derivation: major change to the meaning of the word: happy -> unhappy, sing -> singer. Adds certain details: book -> books, play -> played. Derivation: may be a change in lexical category: happy (a)-> happiness (n, happy (a)-> unhappy (a) Inflection: lexical category does not change: book -> books (n) Semantic drift: words formed by derivation may develop a meaning that is not transparently predictable from the component morphemes: sheepish: (i) sheep-like (rare) (ii) bashful. Inflection: inflected forms of words almost never develop an idiosyncratic meaning. Derivation: creates separate lexical items (often with idiosyncratic meaning) that are listed independent of their base in speakers" mental dictionary (or lexicon")

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