Lexicology of the English Language


Bound lexical morphemes are affixes: prefixes (dis-), suffixes (-ish) and also blocked (unique) root morphemes (e.g. Fri-day, cran-berry). Bound grammatical morphemes are inflexions (endings), e.g. -s for the Plural of nouns, -ed for the Past Indefinite of regular verbs, -ing for the Present Participle, -er for the Comparative degree of adjectives.

In the second half of the twentieth century the English wordbuilding system was enriched by creating so called splinters which scientists include in the affixation stock of the Modern English wordbuilding system. Splinters are the result of clipping the end or the beginning of a word and producing a number of new words on the analogy with the primary word-group. For example, there are many words formed with the help of the splinter mini- (apocopy produced by clipping the word miniature), such as miniplane, minijet, minicycle, minicar, miniradio and many others. All of these words denote obects of smaller than normal dimensions.

On the analogy with mini- there appeared the splinter maxi- (apocopy produced by clipping the word maximum), such words as maxi-series, maxi-sculpture, maxi-taxi and many others appeared in the language.

When European economic community was organized quite a number of neologisms with the splinter Euro- (apocopy produced by clipping the word European) were coined, such as: Euratom Eurocard, Euromarket, Europlug, Eurotunnel and many others. These splinters are treated sometimes as prefixes in Modern English.

There are also splinters which are formed by means of apheresis, that is clipping the beginning of a word. The origin of such splinters can be variable, e.g. the splinter burger appeared in English as the result of clipping the German borrowing Hamburger where the morphological structure was the stem Hamburg and the suffix -er. However in English the beginning of the word Hamburger was associated with the English word ham, and the end of the word burger got the meaning a bun cut into two parts. On the analogy with the word hamburger quite a number of new words were coined, such as: baconburger, beefburger, cheeseburger, fishburger etc.

The splinter cade developed by clipping the beginning of the word cavalcade which is of Latin origin. In Latin the verb with the meaning to ride a horse is cabalicare and by means of the inflexion -ata the corresponding Participle is formed. So the element cade is a combination of the final letter of the stem and the inflexion. The splinter cade serves to form nouns with the meaning connected with the procession of vehicles denoted by the first component, e.g. aircade - a group of airplanes accompanying the plane of a VIP , autocade - a group of automobiles escorting the automobile of a VIP, musicade - an orchestra participating in a procession.

In the seventieths of the twentieth century there was a political scandal in the hotel Watergate where the Democratic Party of the USA had its pre-election headquarters. Republicans managed to install bugs there and when they were discovered there was a scandal and the ruling American government had to resign. The name Watergate acquired the meaning a political scandal, corruption. On the analogy with this word quite a number of other words were formed by using the splinter gate (apheresis of the word Watergate), such as: Irangate, Westlandgate, shuttlegate, milliongate etc. The splinter gate is added mainly to Proper names: names of people with whom the scandal is connected or a geographical name denoting the place where the scandal occurred.

The splinter mobile was formed by clipping the beginning of the word automobile and is used to denote special types of automobiles, such as: artmobile, bookmobile, snowmobile, tourmobile etc.

The splinter napper was formed by clipping the beginning of the word kidnapper and is used to denote different types of crimesters, such as : busnapper, babynapper, dognapper etc. From such nouns the corresponding verbs are formed by means of backformation, e.g. to busnap, to babynap, to dognap.

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