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The formation of new words in English comes from several processes. Minor processes are abbreviation (JR for Junior) and clipping (fax, gym); acronyms (NAACP, UN); and borrowing of loanwords, which, though not word formation and not a native resource of English, is an important process for adding vocabulary to English (risque, suave). One major process of word formation is derivation, which is the affixation of suffixes and prefixes to roots resulting in a change to word meaning and often a change to word class. For example, demutualize is derived from the adjective mutual through the affixation of the prefix de- and the verb forming suffix -ize. Some affixes are exclusively used with Latin root morphemes such as the adjective forming -ulous, as in credulous.
Another process is compounding words through doubling (foot loose), hyphenating (foot-dragging) or single word compounding (footfall, footbridge). An important component of compounding is the use of combining forms to compound new words. For example, the Greek combining form bio is added to the Latin root medic to produce the combining form compound biomedic. In addition, affixes may be used to derive new word formations from compounds such as when the adjective forming suffix -al changes the combining form biomedic from a noun to the adjective biomedical. The changing of word class by the addition of affixes (very few prefixes change word class, though some do) is a function of the process of derivation and multiple suffixes may be used (biomedicalization, demutualizing) though it is rare for multiple prefixes to be used.
A porcess that changes the word class of a word that does not involve affixation of a prefix or suffix is called conversion. This is a process whereby a word becomes a new lexical item through a change in popular usage. For example bottle is a noun used as a verb meaning to put in a bottle ("I'll bottle it"). Sometimes conversion may be accompanied by a small adjustment in pronunced stress change such as is evident in progress (noun) and progress (verb).
In another process, new words are generated through backformation in which a word is reduced in some manner, such as in the backformation of the verb babysit from the originally formed compound noun babysitter. In addition, new words are formed by the process of blending, whereby part of one word is combined with part of another word, such as in e-mail, which is a blend of electronic and mail. to produce e-mail, a word that also illustrates that over time and with usage double word compounds (foot passenger) and hyphenated compounds (go-between) and blends (e-mail) may undergo a shift in spelling and be reduced to single word compounds such as outset, footbridge and outsource as is evident in the gradual modification of e-mail to email.
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