Ways of Creating New Words in English

Compounding – word-formative process where two or more free morphemes are combined into a single term.

Ex. blue + bird = bluebird.


Prefixing – word-formative process where an affix is attached to the front of a word.

Ex. un- + happy = unhappy.


Suffixing – word-formative process where an affix is attached to the end of a word.

Ex. build + -er = builder.


Infixing – word-formative process where an affix is inserted into a word at a morphophonemic boundary.

Ex. fan-freaking-tastic.


Alphebetism (Initialism) – word-formative process where a word is formed from the initials of a phrase and the word is pronounced as a sequence of letters.

Ex. FBI or Federal Bureau of Investigation. 


Acronym – word-formative process where the initial sounds of a phrase make a word.

Ex. scuba or self-contained underwater breathing apparatus. 


Clipping – word-formative process where a word is shorted  from a larger one.

Ex. net from Internet, cell from cellular.


Backformation – word-formative process where a word is derived by removing an affix to form a new word.

Ex. editor – -or = edit


Blending – word-formative process where blends are created by joining two or more words, at least one of which must be clipped.

Ex. smoke + fog = smog


Shifting (Functional shift) – word-formative process where a word form employed in one lexical category moves into another category.

Ex. noun e-mail (I’ll check my e-mail.) shifted to verb e-mail (E-mail me!).


Source: How English Works by Anne Curzan and Michael Adams, 3rd Edition, Pearson Education Inc.

Advertisements

7 Types of Phonological Rules

Here is an interesting discussion I had in my class recently. Phonological rules can be classified by the kind of process they involve. Here are the seven major types of phonological rules/processes with examples.

1. Assimilation – phonological process in which a sound changes to resemble a nearby sound and can occur both forward and backward.

Ex. The prefix in- where sometimes it appears as in– and others as im-. In front of bilabial words, in– becomes im-. This also happens across word boundaries, like in between pronounced with an m.


2. Dissimilation – phonological process in which two close sounds changes to become less alike.

Ex. Manner dissimilation where a stop becomes a fricative when followed by another stop. The word sixth is pronounced sikst, /sθ/ becomes /st/.


3. Insertion – phonological process in which a sound is added to a word.

Ex. Voiceless stop insertion where between a nasal consonant and a voiceless fricative, a voiceless stop with the same place of articulation as the nasal consonant is inserted. In English, many say hampster instead of hamster, a /p/ is added.


4. Deletion – phonological process in which speech sounds disappear from words.

Ex. English is a fast/common speech language, so vowels can be deleted to make the word one syllable, and easier to pronounce in a fast manner. Police becomes plice, and friendship is said as frienship.


5. Metathesis – phonological process in which sounds switch places in the phonemic structure of a word.

Ex. To make words easier to pronounce and understand, letters are switched. Two historical examples include Old English (brid and aks) becoming Modern English (bird and ask).


6. Strengthening (fortition) – phonological process in which a sound is made stronger.

Ex. Aspiration is where voiceless stops become aspirated when they occur at the beginning of a stressed syllable. Top is said with as h.


7. Weakening (lenition) – phonological process in which a sound becomes weaker.

Ex. The definition of flapping is before a stressed vowel and before and unstressed vowel where the sound is pronounced with articulation resembling a flap. The word kitty is an example where the alveolar stop is realized as /r/.


I think deletion is more important and more pertinent in my own life. To pronounce every consonant and vowel, in every single word, would be tiring and time consuming. As an English speaker, time is money. Being able to delete certain letters to make words easier to pronounce as one-syllable structures is useful. When I write fast, my handwriting becomes sloppy in my attempt to get down all of the information in my head. I believe the same rule applies to speech.

Source: How English Works by Anne Curzan and Michael Adams, 3rd Edition, Pearson Education Inc.

Frontness or Backness

Frontness/backness is one of the three distinctive features of vowels. This blog post will explain the positions of the tongue, used in English, and list the English vowels at each degree. Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 12.53.31 PM.png

The frontness or backness of a vowel is the location of the tongue in the mouth from back to front.

Front = front vowels are produced when the tip of the tongue is near the front of the mouth. Ex. cit(y), b(i)d, p(e)t, p(a)t, ch(a)otic

  • /i/
  • /I/
  • /ε/
  • /æ/
  • /e/

 

Central = central vowels are produced when the tongue is in a neutral position. Ex. b(u)d, (a)bove

  • /∧/
  • /ə/

 

Back = back vowels are produced when the back of the tongue is in the back of the mouth. Ex. h(oo)t, p(u)t, l(aw), f(a)ther, pill(ow)

  • /u/
  • /υ/
  • /ɔ/
  • /a/
  • /o/

Tenseness or Laxness

Tenseness/laxness is one of the three distinctive features of vowels. This blog post will explain the two contractions, used in English, and list the English vowels that happen with each.

The tenseness or laxness of a vowel is the distinction of whether the tongue is tense (periphery) or lax (centralized).

Tense = tense vowels occur when there is a larger degree of tension in the mouth, these vowels are usually longer. Ex. fr(ee), sh(oe), g(o), d(a)y,

  • /i/
  • /u/
  • /o/
  • /e/

 

Lax = lax vowels occur when there is a small degree of tension for the tongue. Ex. p(i)t, f(oo)t, p(e)t, (a)bove, n(u)t, p(aw), b(a)d, b(a)lm

  • /I/
  • /υ/
  • /ε/
  • /ə/
  • /∧/
  • /ɔ/
  • /æ/
  • /a/

Height

Height is one of the three distinctive features of vowels. This blog post will explain the different levels, used in English, and list the English vowels that occur at each elevation.

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 11.47.36 AM.png

The height of a vowel is the degree to which the tongue is raised or lowered when articulating a sound.

High = high vowels are said when there is little space between the tongue and the roof of the mouth. Ex. b(ee)t, b(00)t, b(i)t, b(oo)k

  • /i/
  • /u/
  • /I/
  • /υ/

 

Mid = mid vowels are said when there is medium space between the tongue and the top of the mouth, in between closer to its resting position. Ex. b(e)t, (a)ppeal, (u)p, (awe), pill(ow), ch(a)otic

  • /ε/
  • /ə/
  • /∧/
  • /ɔ/
  • /o/
  • /e/

 

Low = low vowels are said when there is large space allowed in the mouth. Ex. b(a)t, h(o)t

  • /æ/
  • /a/

Voicing

Voicing is one of the three distinctive features of consonants. This blog post will explain the difference types, used in English, and list the English consonants that occur in both sections.

Voicing (phonation) of a consonant is the indication of whether the vocal cords vibrate or not when a sound is produced.

Voiced = voiced consonants happen when the vocal cords vibrate.

  • /b/
  • /m/
  • /w/
  • /v/
  • /ð/
  • /d/
  • /z/
  • /n/
  • /l/
  • /g/
  • /j/
  • /η/
  • /ɹ/
  • /ʒ/
  • /dʒ/

 

Voiceless = voiceless consonants happen when the vocal cords do not vibrate.

  • /p/
  • /ʍ/
  • /f/
  • /θ/
  • /t/
  • /s/
  • /∫/
  • /k/
  • /h/
  • /t∫/
  • /ʔ/

Manner of Articulation

Manner of articulation is one of the three distinctive features of consonants. This blog post will explain the path of airflow, used in English, and list the English consonants that occur during these distinguishing processes.

The manner of articulation of a consonant is the configuration and interaction of articulators and how the speech sound affects the airflow.

Nasal = nasal consonants occur when you block the airflow in the mouth and let the air pass through the nose. Ex. ha(m), (n)ap, fi(ng)er

  • /m/
  • /n/
  • /η/

 

Stop = stop consonants occur when you completely block airflow from the lungs through the mouth followed by a release of the air. Ex. (p)ain, (b)uild, (t)ap, (d)ig, (k)ill, be(g)

  • /p/
  • /b/
  • /t/
  • /d/
  • /k/
  • /g/

 

Fricative = fricative consonants occur when you force the airflow through a narrow channel, passive and active articulators come close and cause friction. Ex. (f)ree, (v)oice, (th)ing, fa(th)er, (s)ee, ro(s)e, (sh)ame, sei(zu)re, (h)elp

  • /f/
  • /v/
  • /θ/
  • /ð/
  • /s/
  • /z/
  • /∫/
  • /ʒ/
  • /h/

 

Affricate = affricate consonants occur when you completely block airflow and then release the air through a narrow channel, a combination of a stop and a fricative. Ex. (ch)air, (j)oy

  • /t∫/
  • /dʒ/

 

Approximant = approximant consonants occur when articulators are close but not close enough to stop airflow entirely, they sound somewhat like vowels. Ex. (l)eft, (r)eal, (w)e, (y)es

  • /l/
  • /r/
  • /w/
  • /j/

 

Liquids = liquid consonants occur when you partially block airflow and the air is altered in different directions. Ex. (l)ife, ve(r)y

  • /l/
  • /r/

 

Glides = glide consonants occur when you partially block airflow and direct the air is a smooth direction over the tongue. Ex. (w)et, (y)ou

  • /w/
  • /j/

Place of Articulation

Place of articulation is one of the three distinctive features of consonants. This blog post will explain the locations, used in English, and list the English consonants that occur at these points.

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 7.06.08 PM.png

The place (point) of articulation of a consonant is the location of the passive and active articulators or where a sound is produced due to obstruction of the airstream.

Bilabial = bilabial consonants are produced when you obstruct airflow by bringing your lips together. Ex. (p)eople, (b)ill, (m)an, (w)eekend

  • /p/
  • /b/
  • /m/
  • /w/
  • /ʍ/

 

Labio-Dental = labio-dental consonants are produced when you obstruct airflow by curling your lower lip to your upper teeth. Ex. (f)avor, (v)ote

  • /f/
  • /v/

 

Inter-Dental = inter-dental consonants are produced when you obstruct airflow by raising your tongue to your upper teeth. Ex. tee(th), (th)is

  • /θ/
  • /ð/

 

Alveolar = alveolar consonants are produced when you obstruct airflow by placing your tongue to your alveolar ridge (the spot behind your teeth where they meet your gums). Ex. (n)o, (t)ip, (d)are, (s)ave, (z)oo, be(ll), (r)eal

  • /n/
  • /t/
  • /d/
  • /s/
  • /z/
  • /l/
  • /ɹ/

 

Post-Alveolar = post-alveolar consonants are produced when you obstruct airflow by raising your tongue just beyond the alveolar ridge. Ex. (sh)oot, plea(su)re, tea(ch), e(dge)

  • /∫/
  • /ʒ/
  • /t∫/
  • /dʒ/

 

Palatal = palatal consonants are produced when you obstruct airflow by raising your tongue to the roof of your mouth/hard palate. Ex. (y)es

  • /j/

 

Velar = velar consonants are produced when you obstruct airflow by placing the back of your tongue near the velum/soft palate (behind the roof of your mouth). Ex. s(k)ip, (g)et, ri(ng)

  • /k/
  • /g/
  • /η/

 

Glottal = glottal consonants are produced when you obstruct airflow by closing the vocal folds/cords and then releasing the air. Ex. (h)at, u(h)-oh, Wha(t) time is it?

  • /h/
  • /ʔ/