derivational morphology

last changed in 2002

The branch of morphology that belongs to word formation, i.e. which concerns the lexical relations among separate lexemes, unlike inflectional morphology which deals with inflectional variation on a single lexeme. For example, derivational morphology is responsible for pairs like the following:

derive - derivation

derivation - derivational

morpheme - morphology

tidy - untidy

There hasn't been any serious work on derivational morphology in WG (but see some ideas in EWG, pp. 179-80). Given that (according to WG) language is a network of related words and word-types, we can handle derivational morphology by linking all related lexemes and then generalising across these links.

For example, there is a general pattern in English for forming 'actor' nouns out of verbs, giving pairs like TEACH - TEACHER, DRIVE - DRIVER and so on. If we call this link `actor-nominalization' (e.g. TEACHER is the actor-nominalization of TEACH), we can show the default pattern as a network:

In words:

As usual, these general default patterns can be overridden by more specific rules; for example, the default arriving is overridden by arrival.







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