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Linguistic terms relating to word formation and phrase building

affix

noun

a new part added to the beginning or end of a word that changes its meaning

affixation

noun

the process of adding a new part (a prefix or suffix) to the beginning or end of a word, so that the word’s meaning is changed

anaphora

noun

the use of a word such as a pronoun or the verb ‘do’ in a sentence instead of repeating the word used earlier. Examples of anaphora are the use of the word ‘she’ in the sentence ‘Sue was hungry when she got home’ or the word ‘does’ in the sentence ‘I love pizza and so does my brother’.

aphaeresis

noun

the process by which a word loses its initial sound or sounds, for example ’cause (because) or ’twas (it was)

apocope

noun

the process by which sounds are lost from the ends of words, for example ‘lamb’ and ‘mike’ (microphone)

apposition

noun

the relationship between two noun phrases that are used in the same way and refer to the same person or thing. For example in ‘My best friend, Jane, likes swimming’, ‘my best friend’ and ‘Jane’ are in apposition.

appropriacy

noun

the degree to which a word, expression, or grammar pattern is natural or acceptable in a particular situation

blend

noun

a word formed by combining parts of two other words, for example ‘brunch’ is a blend of ‘breakfast’ and ‘lunch’

canonical form

noun

the most basic or standard form of an expression

componential analysis

noun

the process of studying the meaning of a word by examining the parts it is made of

compound

noun

a combination of two or more words that is used as a single word. The three different types of compound are noun compounds (for example ‘bus stop’), adjective compounds (for example ‘self-centred’), and verb compounds (for example to ‘wind-surf’).

derivation

noun

the origin of a word

derivative

noun

a word that is formed from another word, for example an adverb that is formed from an adjective by adding ‘-ly’

diminutive

noun

a word formed by adding a diminutive suffix

diminutive suffix

noun

a group of letters that are added to the end of a word to show that something is smaller than things of that type usually are, for example ‘-let’ added to ‘drop’ to make ‘droplet’

ending

noun

the last group of letters in a word

etymology

noun

the origin and development of a particular word

folk etymology

noun

an explanation for the origin of a word or phrase that is believed by many people to be true but that cannot be proved, for example, the belief that ‘posh’ stands for ‘port out, starboard home’

folk etymology

noun

the process by which people adapt a word or phrase that is unfamiliar or foreign to a more familiar form

form

noun

one part of a verb or other word that has several different parts

form

verb

to make one of the parts of a verb or other word that has several different parts

hyphenate

verb

to join words or parts of a word using a hyphen

lexicalise

a British spelling of lexicalize

lexicalize

verb

to put a concept into a word or words

nominalize

verb

to change a verb or adjective in order to make a noun

nouning

noun

the process by which a verb, or less frequently another part of speech, becomes a noun

phrasal

adjective

relating to phrases, or consisting of a phrase

phraseology

noun

a particular way of putting words together to express something

phrasing

noun

the way that someone puts words together to express something

prefix

noun

a group of letters that is added to the beginning of a word to change its meaning. For example, the prefix ‘un-’ is added to the word ‘tidy’ to form ‘untidy’.

root

noun

the most basic form of a word, or a word that is the base for other words

stem

noun

the part of a word that does not change when an ending is added, for example ‘work’ in the word ‘working’

suffix

noun

a letter or group of letters added to the end of a word to make a different word. For example, the suffix ‘-ness’ is added to ‘great’ and ‘happy’ to make ‘greatness’ and ‘happiness’.

verbalise

a British spelling of verbalize

verbalize

verb

to change a word into a verb

verbing

noun

the process by which a noun, or less frequently another part of speech, becomes a verb

etymological

adjective

hyphenation

noun

morphological

adjective

pre-cation

a paid holiday given to a new employee before they start their job

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

selfie stick

an expandable stick which you attach to a mobile phone or camera to help you take a selfie …

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