Recount the processes of word formation with examples from the English language.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Word formation is a very interesting aspect of linguistics, as it deals with the question of how words are formed. There are four different ways of forming words in the English language.

The first way is the use of prefixes, which means a syllable is added to the beginning of...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Word formation is a very interesting aspect of linguistics, as it deals with the question of how words are formed. There are four different ways of forming words in the English language.

The first way is the use of prefixes, which means a syllable is added to the beginning of a word. For example, the word "misunderstanding" has been created by adding the prefix "mis-" to the already existing noun "understanding." By adding the prefix “mis-” to this word, we have created a new word, which has its own, new meaning.

The second way is the use of suffixes, which is the case when a syllable is added to the end of a word. An example here would be the noun “loneliness”: it has been created by adding the suffix "-ness" to the adjective "lonely," which resulted in the creation of a new noun.

The third way of creating new words is through compounds, which is a combination of several words. An example for this is the English word “toothpaste”: it has been formed by combining the words “tooth” and “paste” into one single word.

The fourth way of word formation is called conversion. Here, an already existing word is turned into another word. This is often the case with nouns, which can also be used as verbs. An example for this would be the English noun “divorce,” as it can also be used as a verb: “to divorce.”

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team