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  1. #1
    Tori Guest

    Talking back formation in English

    Hello!
    My question is about back formation in English and especially how verbs are formed in this way. I need examples to understand it and also, if possible, links to know the question thouroughly.
    Thank you in advance. Tori
    Last edited by Casiopea; 02-Dec-2004 at 08:31. Reason: email removed

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: back formation in English

    Quote Originally Posted by Tori
    Hello!
    My question is about back formation in English and especially how verbs are formed in this way. I need examples to understand it and also, if possible, links to know the question thouroughly.
    Thank you in advance. Tori
    Welcome

    Backformation, also called clipping, is a word formation process that shifts a word's function from one category to another. That is, it's a functional shift: by clipping off a word's suffix, the word's function changes. Take, for example, the noun television and the verb televise, which entered into English when the Television was invented. First, the noun television was coined (from tele-, a prefix meaning at a distance, + vision, meaning to see), and then the suffix -ion was clipped off, giving a new word, the verb televise.

    With backformations, specifically verbs, the verb is created from the noun, which is the opposite of what we expect. Generally, -ion is added to verbs to create nouns, and not the other way around:

    Affixation
    Verb, revise => add -ion => Noun, revision

    Backformation
    Noun, television => clip -ion => Verb, televise

    So when we see, say, the word television, we automatically assume that it is made from the verb televise + -ion, but it's not. It's the other way around: televise is made from the noun television.

    To be able to tell if a given word is a backformation, one has to know about the history of the English language or has to invest in a dictionary that lists backformations.

    Where does backformation come from?
    Backformation is based on analogy, or a partial similarity with other words in the language:

    Analogy revise : revision :: televise : television
    Read as, revise is to revision as televise is to television

    Check out these sources:
    http://www.kprecht.net/Intro/English...0Formation.htm
    English Word Formation Processes: backformation

    http://www.bartleby.com/185/27.html
    Examples of backformation

  3. #3
    Tori Guest

    Default Re: back formation in English

    Hello, this is Tori

    Thank you for answer, but I,ve got an additional question. What about semantics of verbs in case they are backformed? Are there any changes?
    Best regards, Tori

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Default Re: back formation in English

    Quote Originally Posted by Tori
    Thank you for answer, but I've got an additional question. What about semantics of verbs in case they are backformed? Are there any changes?
    You're welcome.

    I'm not sure I understand the question, sorry. Would you have a few examples?

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