Word formation is one of the most difficult, but at the same time interesting topics of the Russian language. In explaining this section of linguistics, such terms as the word-forming chain, the word-formation nest, the word-forming pair often come up, and it is by no means always so obvious what they mean. Let's try together to comprehend the foundations of word formation and understand what these names mean and how understanding of this will help in word formation.

What it is?

Let's start with the fact that the word-forming chain of the word is a successive chain of single-root words, which is used in morphemic and word-building analysis. Each lexeme differs from the previous one with only one morpheme, for example: water - water - underwater. Drawing up this chain allows you to learn the origins of the word and, therefore, to fully understand its meaning.

First attempts

Let's try now to better understand the theoretical explanation, to form a word-forming chain of the word. Let's take the word "white". From the adjective, you can form a verb:white - whitened  (we added two suffixes). Next, from the verb, create the following verb by adding a prefix:whiten. Then add the suffix of the participle and get:whiten - white. Incidentally, at the previous stage, by adding the suffix of the communion, you can also get this option:whiten - white .

What is a word-building chain?

If at the first stage we add another suffix, that is,white - whitewash. and then add the same prefixwhiten - whiten. then with the help of the suffix it is possible to form a noun: whitewash - whitewash. It turns out that we have two parallel word-building chains that depart from one word, and one additional, branching from one of them:

white - whiten - whiten - white; White - whiten - white; White - whiten - whiten - whitewash.

Additional theory

Now that we already have an example of what the word-building chain is, it's worth adding a little more theory. The very first word that exists in the language itself is called non-derivative, and those that branch off from it by adding morphemes are derived. Every word from which new words are formed is considered producing. That is, in the word-forming chainwater - water - underwater  it is the word "water" that is non-derivative, and all the others - derivatives, in addition, "water" and "water" are also producers.

Exercise 1: Generating and Derivative

To better understand the difference between producing and non-derivative words, restore the word-building chain:var - ... - welding. in which several derivatives and generating words are omitted.

The whole chain should look like this:cook - brew - brew.

A word-building pair

Let us pass to the following term, which is constantly used in word formation. The word-formation pair is the most elementary word-building chain, consisting of the non-derivative and the word derived from it:bread - breads, running - running. Sometimes from the generating word it is possible to form only one derivative, in this case one speaks of the existence of a word-forming pair. On the other hand, any two adjacent words of the word-forming chain can be considered such a pair.

Try to find all the word-forming pairs in the chain:cheerful - have fun - have fun - have fun.

Correct answer:cheerful - to amuse, to amuse - to amuse, to amuse - to have fun.

Ways of word formation

In no event can we talk about word-building chains without knowing the basic ways of word-formation. There are four of them:

  • morphological (including prefix, suffix, prefix-suffix, postfix and lack of suffix),
  • addition (a combination of foundations, abbreviations (based on both initial letters and initial sounds) or a combination of syllables),
  • merging (the formation of a new word from a whole combination),
  • transition of one part of speech to another.

It is precisely with the morphological method of word formation that the links of word-forming chains are most clearly traced - in other ways of transforming the generating word, it is not always so obvious.

We address to the addition. Here we work first with the generating word, forming it a fusion of the bases or a fusion of whole words:steamer, gas pipeline, head teacher.  In this case, the derivational pair will have the formsteam, stroke  steamer.

One of the types of addition is an abbreviation, that is, the use of the first letters or sounds of words to create a new name, that is:central department store - TSUM. computercomputer. Here the sequence of the word-building chain will look like this:theater, young, spectator - Youth Theater.

The last method of addition is a combination of the initial syllables of words:executive committee - executive committee, manager - head of the economy.  To the words formed in this way, it is easy to add additional morphemes, creating new word-building chains:steam, carry - locomotive - locomotive.

Merger is a way of word formation, which was used during the creation of a huge number of words that have long become part of the language. For him, we combine in one word the words:this + hour - now, with + the mind + gone - crazy.

In this method, unfortunately, it is only possible to create word-formation pairs without further development of the chains. I.elittle + available - inaccessible, difficult + pronounced - difficult to pronounce.  This method of word formation does not use additional connecting vowels, and the merged words do not change in any way.

The transition of one part of speech to another

The last way - the transition of one part of speech to another - most often refers to adjectives, which eventually become nouns. For example:dining room (fork) - dining room (premise); pupils (participles) are students (noun).  It is also interesting that with this method adverbs and participles can become pretexts: to lookaround (an adverb)  around  theater (preposition). Nouns with prepositions turn into prepositions: to believein the continuation (noun with a preposition) - during the conversation (preposition). This way of word formation, especially its part, connected with the creation of prepositions, is the most difficult for identification, after all it is not always so obvious what is behind the derived word.

Exercise 2: Building Chains

Now that we already have a definite idea of ​​how words form in word-building chains, we will try to practice. Construct the word-building chains, select the morphemes with which new words were formed, and name the ways of word-formation:

1. Forest - \u0026 gt; ... - \u0026 gt;

2. Small- \u0026 gt; ... - \u0026 gt; inaccessibility.

3. Dust \u0026 gt; ... - \u0026 gt; vacuum cleaner.

1. Forest - a forest (a suffix) - a screech (prefix-suffix) - a forest (absurd).

2. Small - little (suffix) - inaccessible (confluence) - inaccessibility (suffix).

3. Dust, suck - vacuum cleaner (addition) - vacuum cleaner (suffix).

Formative nest

Now let's pass to the last of the three terms mentioned at the very beginning - word-forming nests. The word-formation nest is the collection of all possible word-building chains from one generating word. Take, for example, a lexeme "cheerful". First, build word-building chains that will lead to the words "cheerless", "cheer up" and "have fun".

Let's start by checking (in the chains, the word-formation methods are indicated):

1. Funny - fun (suffix) - sad (piercing)  orcheerful - unhappy (prefix) - cheerless (suffix).

2. Cheerful - cheerful (suffix) - cheerful (prefix) - cheer (postfix).

3. Merry - cheerful (suffix) - cheer up (prefix) - have fun (postfix).

All these chains together form a huge word-building nest for the word "cheerful". That is, every non-derivative word is the very center of the nest, around which chains of formed words begin to be wound.

Exercise 3: Restore chains

Now that the basic terminology and methods of word formation are clear to us, it's time to practice. Let's start with the simplest: restore the intermediate word in the word-building chain, indicating all the ways of word-formation in this chain:

1) secret- \u0026 gt; ... - \u0026 gt; ... -\u003e Hidden;

2) fast- \u0026 gt; ... -\u003e gt;

3) city- \u0026 gt; ... -\u003e suburban.

1) mystery - conceal (suffix) - conceal (prefix) - hiding (postfix);

2) fast - speed (suffix) - speed (suffix);

3) city - suburb (prefix) - suburban (suffixed).

Exercise 4: Restore the sequence

By the way, in the previous task there is one small error. Try to determine in which word-forming chain the sequence is broken.

Yes, this is the very first chain. The word "mystery" is a derivative, and not a "conceal" with respect to the word. The fact is that non-productive words are most often adjectives and verbs, while all other parts of speech are formed from them. Let's restore the correct word order in the word-building chain:

1) shelter, huddle, shelter;

2) culinary, cooking, culinary;

3) white, whitewash, whiten.

The correct chains look like this:

1) huddle - shelter - shelter;

2) culinary - cooking - culinary;

3) white - whiten - whitewash.

Exercise 5: Finding the Superfluous Word

It is very important to be able to determine the root words and not add to the word-forming chain similar in sound, but still quite different in terms of their meaning. In which word-formation chain do extra words occur?

1) laughter, laugh, mixed;

2) badger, leopard, badger;

3) pool, fable, fable.

So, in each of the above chains there is one word that does not apply to it. Let's find it and make the right chains:

1) superfluous "mixed" (from the word "interfere"), the right chain: funny - to laugh (prefix) - laughter (lack of suffix);

2) superfluous "leopard" (from the word "leopard"), the right chain: badger - badger (suffix).

3) superfluous word "pool" (non-derivative), the right chain: fable - fable (suffix).

Exercise 6: playing with morphemes

Thus, the word-forming chain of the word contains a number of single-root words, connected by a common root and variable morphemes. Now let's complicate the task a little: try to create a word-forming chain, knowing only the non-derivative word and the ways of forming the next links:

1) border - (platform) - (suffixed);

2) rusty - (suffixal) - (suffixal);

3) bent - (suffix) - (prefix) - (postfix).

The possible conversions are:

1) border - foreign - foreign;

2) rusty - rust - rust;

3) bent - bend - bend - bend over.

Of course, in this task there are no universally correct answers, it all depends on the prefixes you use.

Exercise 7: Using Morphemes

And now let's try to understand how the word-formation chain originally looked like. You are given a non-derivative word, and then morphemes, which were used to create derivative words. Restore the conversation:

1) ruddy. to have it. sya - for;

2) empty. et - o. -. eration;

3) the curve. It is an is. -. yen.

The correct chains look like this:

1) rosy - rouge - reddish - blush;

2) empty - empty - empty - empty;

3) curve - curved - curved - curved.

The difficulty of this task is that it is not specified which morpheme (prefix, suffix or postfix) is used in word-formation, so here it is necessary to think carefully, restoring the omitted words.

Exercise 8: Formative Sockets

As a fix, we'll try to build a word-building nest for the following words: green; house; water.

So.Green - green (suffix) - green (prefix) - zaselenietsya (postfix)  ; here is the option:green - green (suffix) - green (suffix).

Another chain looks like this: sgreen - green (suffix) - green (bessuifix) - green (suffix)  orgreens - greens (pristavochny).

And the third chain of this nest:green - greenish  orgreen - green  - in both cases the suffix method is used.

House - House (Suffix) - Domestic (Suffix). Can ihome - home (suffixed) - domesticated (pre-suffix) - domesticated (suffixed). House - house  orhouse-house. but you can andhouse - domina and house - domicile  - in these derivational pairs the suffixal method is used.

And the third nest:water - water (suffix) - underwater (platform) - submariner (suffix). Water - water (suffix) - watery (suffix).  Third Chain: water - flood (pre-suffix) - flood (suffixed).

Of course, this is not all the chains of these nests, but still such a game with different morphemes will help to understand the principles of word formation much better.


So, we know that, following the results of word formation, words can be combined into chains, we are able to determine in which word-building chain the sequence of links is broken, we know how to make these chains ourselves. Word formation is not katorga, it's a real pleasure. And now you can see for yourself.