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#157843 03/26/06 06:10 AM
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I apologise if this has been raised before, but I was wondering if there were any rules that govern the use of prefixes and suffixes?
I believe there are several newspeak (as in 1984-like) words that have been adopted into the language, can the newspeak treatment be applied to any word, or are there some conventions to follow apart from just the appearance in the dictionary?
Can you, more specifically, turn any noun into an adjective?

hmm that's quite rambling. many apologies again, I'm not good at being succinct


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#157844 03/26/06 12:47 PM
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Welcome aBoard, SB. I think your question might be a little clearer if you gave us some examples of the usage you're asking about. As far as the boundary between nouns and adjectives goes, it can be pretty fuzzy. See the USn soap opera The Young and the Restless for example. In the other direction we have such terms as fire truck, where the noun fire is acting adjectivally. What this has to do with suffixes and prefixes is beyond me.

#157845 03/26/06 01:57 PM
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Fire Truck Red

#157846 03/26/06 02:21 PM
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ok, i sometimes get things mixed up, but isn't a prefix a group of letters that have a specific meaning, (but aren't really words on there own,but are rather a catagory of sub words,) that are used, annexed to a word, to modify its meaning? (and suffix almost the same?)

groups like re which can be again, (reoccured) or be an intensivier, (like marked and remarked) or dis which means (or can mean) not or the negative (disaster=not in the stars--a astrologers answer to why thing didn't turn out as rosy as his horoscope said they would) or disagree, (to not agree)

sometimes suffixes are words (or have become words) but usually they too are just a 'sub word'--ette to mean small, or diminutive, you can have a kitchen table (seats 6) or a kitchenette-(a bar like counter area that 2 can uncomfortably eat at)

prefixes and suffixes, (pre, re, de, dis, or ette, or, ish, or others) aren't really words, (adjectives or adverbs) but groups of letters (sub-words) that can be added on to a word to modify the meaning, by intensiving, negating, changing the sence of size, or strenght, or so on..

god knows i am not the person to lead a discussion on these finer parts of speak. i know them, and know how to use them, but...

#157847 03/26/06 02:32 PM
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Hi, S_D. Prefixes and suffixes taken together (along with infixes) are called affixes in morphology, which is a sub-field in linguistics. Linguists usually distinguish between inflectional morphology (like making a regular verb a past tense by adding -ed or making a noun plural by adding -(e)s) and derivational morphology. The latter is usually much less productive, i.e., can't be done all the time, than the former. Derivational morphology also usually changes the syntactic category (i.e., the part of speech) of the word the affix is attached to, e.g., warmth from warm + -th). Sometimes, other bits of words get reanalysed and start becoming affix-like: e.g., the all-purpose -gate (from Watergate) attached to many scandal names). What you're talking about in your question isn't really afixing, but more about word compounding. Some languages really go to town, Sankrit and German being the usually mentioned ones. Whether the truck in truck driver is a noun or an adjective is the stuff that theses are made on. In English we have many compounds made of all all sorts of parts of speech: adj + N (blackbird, blueberry), N + N (babysitter, bookkeeper; which may lead to N + V by back formation, to babysit, to bookkeep), adj + adj (blue green, light grey), etc. Hope this helps.


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#157848 03/27/06 08:28 AM
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Quote:

I think your question might be a little clearer if you gave us some examples of the usage you're asking about.




The way I interpreted the question: are there any rules governing the addition of affixes (mainly 'un'. This is a reference to 'newspeak', if you've read 1984 by George Orwell you'll understand, if you haven't, read it) to random words in common usage? I personally can't think of any that are used in real life, but the main one I remember from 1984 is 'ungood'.

So zmjezhd, she is talking about affixes, not compound words.

#157849 03/27/06 10:09 AM
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I think there is a difference, though, between prefixes and suffixes in that the former don't usually change the grammatical category of the word they're affixed to (adj. "clear", adj. "unclear"; vb "consider", vb "reconsider"), while suffixes often do. This distinction would be relevant to Salad Dressing's question in that they also ask whether one can turn any noun into an adjective. One can do so with many nouns by adding a suffix ("hope", "hopeful"; "love", "loveable"; "sun", "sunny"), but I couldn't say whether just any noun can be turned into an adjective this way.

#157850 03/27/06 10:26 AM
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aeh, you're right, my question was rather unclear. I apologise.

I think what meant was:

If you have a noun, for example 'tree', can you say that something is 'treelike', 'untreelike', 'treeish'? Or is this totally incorrect use of the language?

I suppose my real question is: what are the rules for the nouns that can be turned into adjectives?


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#157851 03/27/06 12:05 PM
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Well, I don't much hold with William Safire as a language expert, but I like his rule: If it sounds funny, the hell with it.

#157852 03/27/06 12:57 PM
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I think there is a difference, though, between prefixes and suffixes in that the former don't usually change the grammatical category of the word they're affixed to (adj. "clear", adj. "unclear"; vb "consider", vb "reconsider"), while suffixes often do.

Yes, for English, and other Indo-European languages, this is true.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
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