Lexicology — Билет 10


ü     Powerful means of forming new words it is peculiar English way of building.

Peculiar features of English that encourage

the process of conversation

  1. English is very poor in flexion, but it encourages the process of conversation
  2. Very many words in English are simple in their morphological structure.


Conversion is peculiar for languages of analytical type:

Problems of conversion:

  1. To state what process take place in this phenomenon (2 approaches)
  2. Functional change (H.Sweet; S. Pollock; Kennedy) (the proponents of

this theory think that these are not two words but

only one word performing different functions in

different surroundings)

e.x. love it’s a great thing!    I love you.


  1. Paradigmatic theory (Смернийкий, Ярцева) (this is the most

productive way of forming the words when one

word is formed from another word by means of

changing its paradigm)

e.x. work (v) (-ed; -s; -ing); work (n) (s); work؄


  1. Zero derivation (Харитончик) (these are two words and one word is

formed from another word with a help of zero


  1. Traditionally conversion (what parts of speech are effected by conversion)

ü     v àn (noun which is formed from verb)

to run- a run

to find- a find

to read- a red à verbing nouns

ü     nàv     pen-to pen

pencil -to pencil

back –to back

finger – to finger

ü     adj àv   wet-to wet

dry- to dry

dirty-to dirty


There are other parts of speech that can be affected by a conversion as well.


upàto up

downàto down


underàto under

ups and downs (n)


Restriction of the conversion

1)    The morphological factor (most one or two syllable words are affected by

conversion but only polysyllabic words are not

affected by conversion as a rule)

BUT  inconvenience (n. and v.) (exeption)


2)    The semantic factor (only several specific groups of words can form their

counter parts by conversion)

ü     verbs (denoting movement)

to rush – a rush

to go = a go

to fly – a fly

ü     verbs (of speech)

to talk – a talk

to chat – a chat

to dispute – a dispute

ü     verbs (of action)

to bite – a bite

to find – a find

to drink – a drink

ü     nouns (denotes some tools and instrumentsàtarget verbs)

iron-to iron

hamper – to hamper

finger – to finger

ü     nouns (denoting some animals, action of these animals)

wolf – to wolf

dog – to dog

mouse – to mouse

ü     adj. (denotes some physical state, process)

blind – to blind

narrow – to narrow

3)    The stylistic factor (if a word belong to a literary or bookish style it is not

affected by conversion as a rule)


  1. The direction of conversion (derivational source (исходное слово)

target word (производное слово))

consists in determining the derivational sources and the target word. (the semantics of the target word is complicated than the semantics of the derivational source)

e.x. Finger (n. tool, instrument) and (v. process)

BUT there are some specific cases such as love and to love which were not formed by conversion but they coincided in the morphological and phonetic shape as a result of some historical development.

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