A common term for building up words is affixation. This involves adding to the front and rear of a word to make others. For this essay, affixation highlights the use of prefixes and suffixes to words. You put the prefix at the front of a word, for example ‘un’ in ‘untidy’. Here tidy is a verb that becomes the adjective, untidy. Suffix can be put at the end of the word, for example, ‘untidiness’ but notice the spelling. So, from this quick example of the word ‘tidy’ it can be seen to have a prefix, suffix or both. I will expand on the thought of inserting extra morphemes to change a word. That is, we can see that the word is built up this way in our lexicon (the formal term for our mental dictionary which contains morphemes and the rules for their combination).
To begin with and to give more meaning to the above explanation and make a distinction, I will first talk about suffixes. They are not words on their own so they can not stand on their own. Its job is to come at the end of a word. Once put at the end it changes the form of the word thus changing its meaning. The verb ‘govern’ is not the same meaning as the noun ‘government’. This shows the conversion of word, not only the verb into noun (entertain –entertainment), but also nouns to adjectives (certain – certainty). This is not forgetting that regular verbs which represent past tense are suffixed by ‘ed’. A suffix can be derivational or inflectional. An example is the word ‘development’ which a suffix ‘ment’ is added. In this case ‘ment’ is a derivational suffix. It should be noted that derivational affixes can be either prefixes or suffixes in ENGLISH. So, [un-] is a derivational prefix, while [-ment] is a derivational suffix. By adding ‘ment’ onto the word ‘develop’ we can make another word; ‘development’. By adding the suffix we have changed the verb ‘develop’ into a now ‘development’. We can say that if the suffix changes the part of speech is it derivational. Of course with this later example we can see that two suffix can be added namely ‘ment’ and ‘s’. [-s] simply makes the noun plural. It doesn’t change the part of speech and create a brand new word in the same way that adding [-ment] to [govern] did. The difference is that [-ment] is a derivational suffix, while plural [-s] is an inflectional suffix In the other case for the inflectional suffix the word ‘developments’ with the added suffixes only gives the word a plural meaning. In the other case for the inflectional suffix the word ‘developments’ with the added suffixes only gives the word a plural meaning. This could be said for nearly all nouns that a suffix ‘s’ changes its meaning, although it is known that there are uncountable nouns. This could be said for nearly all nouns that a suffix ‘s’ changes its meaning, although it is known that there are uncountable nouns.
We find that prefix has the same characteristics of a suffix but of course, it appears at the front of words. It is seen and acknowledged that by modifying the word it changes its meaning (tend – attend)., although there can be examples where the part of speech stays the same as in ‘kind’ and ‘unkind’ which still stays an adjective but changes the positive and negative qualities,
In this essay, I have given an introductory illustration of prefixes and suffixes. By learning about these word builders we can see how vocabulary can be built up into an Immense amount of words but also scale down to unearth the root of the word by taking away the additions. This leads one to have a better understanding of the working of a language.