Word formation is one of the most difficult, but at the same time, interesting topics of the Russian language. When explaining this section of linguistics, terms such as a word-formation chain, a word-formation nest, a word-formation pair often emerge, and it is not always so obvious what they mean. Let's try together to comprehend the basics of word formation and find out what these names mean and how understanding this will help in word formation.

What it is?

To begin with, the word formative chain of words is a sequential chain of single-root words, which is used in morphemic and word-formative analysis. Each lexeme differs from the previous one only by one morpheme, for example: water - water - underwater. Making this chain allows you to find out the origins of the word and, therefore, to fully understand its meaning.

First attempts

Let us now try, in order to better understand the theoretical explanation, to make a derivational chain of words. Take the word "white." From an adjective you can form a verb:white - turn white   (we added two suffixes). Next from the verb we create the following verb by adding the prefix:turn white. further add the participle suffix and we get:whiten - whitened. Incidentally, at the previous stage, by adding the suffix of the participle as well, you can get this option:turn white .

What is a word chain?

If at the first stage we add another suffix, i.e.white - to whiten. and then add the same prefixto whiten - to whiten. using a suffix you can form a noun: whitewash - whitewash. It turns out that we have two parallel word-formation chains, departing from a single word, and one additional branching off from one of them:

white - turn white - turn white - turn white; white - turn white - whitening; white - whiteness - whiten - whitewash.

Additional theory

Now that we already have an example of what the word-formation chain is, we should add a little more theory. The very first word that exists in the language itself is called non-derivative, and those that are branched from it by adding morphemes are derived. Every word from which new words are formed is considered to be producing. That is, in the word chainwater - water - underwater   it is the word “water” that is non-derivative, and all the others are derivatives, and, moreover, “water” and “water” are also producing.

Exercise 1: Generating and Derivative

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

The whole chain should look like this:var - boil - brew - brew.

Word pair

Let us turn to the next term, which is constantly used in word formation. A word-formation pair is the most elementary word-formation chain consisting of a non-derivative and a word derived from it:bread - bread, run - run. Sometimes, only one derivative can be formed from a generating word, in which case it is said that there is a word-formation pair. On the other hand, any two adjacent words of a word-formation chain can be considered such a pair.

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

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

Ways of word formation

In no case can not talk about word formation chains, not knowing the basic methods of word formation. There are four of them:

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

It is with the morphological method of word formation that the links of the word formation chains are most clearly seen - in other methods of transforming a generating word, they are not always so obvious.

Appeal to the addition. Here we work first with the producing word, forming it by merging the foundations or merging the whole words:steamer, gas pipeline, head teacher.   In this case, the derivational pair will have the formsteam move   steamer

One type of addition is an abbreviation, that is, using the first letters or sounds of words to create a new name, that is:central Department Store - TSUM. electronic computercomputer. Here the sequence of the word chain will look like this:theater, young, the audience - TYUZ.

The last addition is the combination of the initial syllables of the words:the executive committee is the executive committee, the farm manager is the head of the farm.   You can easily add additional morphemes to words formed in this way by creating new word-formation chains:steam, haul - locomotive - locomotive.

Merging is a method of word formation, which was used in the course of creating a huge number of words that have long become part of the language. For him, we combine phrases into one several words:this hour + now, crazy + gone - crazy.

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

Transition of one part of speech to another

The latter method - the transition of one part of speech to another - most often concerns adjectives, which eventually become nouns. For example:dining room (fork) - dining room (room); students (participle) - students (noun).   It is also interesting that with this method adverbs and participles can become pretexts: seearound (adverb)   around   theater (preposition). Nouns with prepositions also turn into prepositions: believein continuation (noun with preposition) - in continuation of conversation (preposition). This method of word formation, especially its part related to the creation of prepositions, is the most difficult to identify, it’s not always so obvious that it stands behind the derived word.

Exercise 2: Chaining

Now, when we already have a definite idea of ​​how words are formed in word-formation chains, we will try to practice. Build word-formation chains, select morphemes in them, with the help of which new words were formed, and name the ways of word formation:

1. Forest \u0026 gt; ... -\u003e splash.

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

3. Dust- \u0026 gt; ... - \u0026 gt; vacuuming.

1. Forest - wood (suffix) - scaffold (prefix-suffix) - scape (no sufix).

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

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

Derivational nest

We now turn to the last of the three terms mentioned at the very beginning - word-building nests. A word-building nest is a collection of all possible word-formation chains from a single generating word. Take, for example, the token "funny". To begin with, build word-building chains that will lead to the words “sadly”, “cheer up” and “have fun”.

Let's begin to check (in the chains the methods of word formation are indicated):

1. Merry - fun (suffix) - sadly (prefix)   orfun - fun (prefixed) - sadly (suffix).

2. Merry - cheer (suffix) - cheer (prefix) - cheer (postfix).

3. Merry - merry (suffix) - merry (prefix) - merry (postfix).

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

Exercise 3: Restoring Chains

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

1) mystery- \u0026 gt; ... - \u0026 gt; ... - \u0026 gt; lay low;

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

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

1) secret - to conceal (suffix) - to harbor (prefix) - to lie low (postfix);

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

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

Exercise 4: Rebuilding a Sequence

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

Yes, this is the very first chain. The word "secret" is derived, and not producing in relation to the word "to conceal." The fact is that non-derivative words are most often adjectives and verbs, whereas all other parts of speech are already formed from them. Let's restore the correct word order in a word formation chain:

1) shelter, huddle, shelter;

2) culinary, culinary, culinary;

3) white, whitewash, turn white.

The correct chains are as follows:

1) huddle - shelter - shelter;

2) culinary - cooking - culinary;

3) white - turn white - whitewash.

Exercise 5: Search for an extra word

It is very important to be able to identify single-root words and not add words similar in sound to the word-formation chain, but still words that are completely different in their meaning. In which word chain there are extra words?

1) laugh, laugh, mixed;

2) badger, badger, 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 correct chain: funny - to make laugh (prefix) - laughter (no subscript);

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

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

Exercise 6: game with morphemes

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

1) border - (prefix) - (suffix);

2) rusty - (suffix) - (suffix);

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

Possible options chains:

1) border - foreign - foreign;

2) rusty - rusting - rust;

3) bent - bend - bend - bend.

Of course, there are no universally correct answers in this task, it all depends on the specific consoles you used.

Exercise 7: Using Morphemes

And now we will try to understand what the derivational chain originally looked like. You are given a non-derivative word, and then morphemes that were used to create derived words. Restore the chain:

1) ruddy -. it - sya - for;

2) empty -. hut - oh -. singing;

3) curve -. it - is. -. yonn

The correct chains look like this:

1) ruddy - blush - blush - blush;

2) empty - empty - empty - empty;

3) curve - twist - bend - crooked.

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

Exercise 8: derivational nests

As a fixation, we will try to build a word-formation nest for the following words: green; house; water.

So.Green - turn green (suffix) - turn green (prefix) - turn green (postfix)   ; here is an option:green - green (suffix) - green (suffix).

Another chain looks like this: sgreen - green (suffix) - green (non-suffix) - green (suffix)   orgreens - prozelen (prefix).

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

House - Brownie (Suffix) - Housing (Suffix). Can ihouse - home (suffix) - domesticated (prefix-suffix) - domestic (suffix). House - house   orhouse - little house. and you canhouse - domina and house - house   - in these word-formation pairs the suffix method is used.

And the third nest:water - water (suffix) - underwater (console) - submariner (suffix). Water - water (suffix) - watery (suffix).   Third chain: water - to flood (prefix-suffix) - flood (suffix).

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


So, we know that according to the results of word formation, words can be combined into chains, we are able to determine in which word-formation chain the sequence of links is broken, we are able to make these chains ourselves. Word formation is not a hard labor, but a real pleasure. And now you yourself can see this.