Morphological structure of nouns and adjectives
According to their morphological structure nouns may be classified as 1) simple, 2) derivative, 3) compound.
Simple nouns are structurally simple in the sense that they are devoid of affixes — prefixes and suffixes and have only a root-stem. In other words they cannot be further
segmented: book, pen, bird, shirt, 'lamp, house, system, work, etc.
Derivative nouns derive from the root-stem of words which may belong to various parts of speech — nouns, adjectives, verbs. They are formed mainly with the help of numerous suffixes: writer, warmth, linguist, systematization. kingdom, childhood and so on. A great number of derivative nouns may contain prefixes which are traceable to verbs or adjectives and thus are typically verbal or adjectival prefixes, disagreement < disagree < agree, misunderstanding < misunderstand < understand, irresponsibility < irresponsible < responsible, impatience < impatient < patient.
The suffixes used in the noun-formation may be productive, i.e. most widely and regularly recurrent, and non-productive one that are characteristic of a limited number of words.
The most productive nounal suffix is -er (with its -or variant) which may theoretically be added to any verbal stem: doer, cleaner, gardener, singer, worker, conductor, inventor, distributor, etc.
Other productive suffixes of nouns are:
-ness: blackness, dullness, uselessness;
-ist: linguist, economist, typist;
-ism: nationalism, capitalism, dualism;
-ion/-ation/-ition: collection, creation, dictation, persuasion, division/aspiration, consideration, recommenda-tion/acqisition. repetition, disposition.
The non-productive noun-forming suffixes are:
-ess: actress, heiress, waitress, lioness, tigress: -ian: mathematician, historian, librarian; -ure: picture, literature, nature, temperature;
-ant: assistant, attendant;
-ful: handful, spoonful;
-ie/-y: birdie, daddy, Jimmy;
-dom: boredom, freedom, kingdom:
-hood: childhood, brotherhood, motherhood:
-ship: friendship, relationship;
-ance/-ence: resistance, importance/decadence, dependence, difference;
-ment: agreement, announcement, statement;
-y/-ry: biology, geography, anatomy/chemistry, psychiatry;
-s: economics, linguistics, physics;
-ty/-ity: cruelty, difficulty/generosity, majority, visibility;
-th: length, strength, warmth.
Some prefixes rather typical of verbs or, more frequently of adjectives, especially negative ones, can still be found in nouns. They are as follows:
anti-: anticlimax, antimatter:
со-: coauthor; copilot, coeducation;
dis-: disagreement, disjuncture, disarmament:
ex-: ex-wife, ex-minister, ex-president;
il-: illegality, illiberality, illiteracy;
in-: indecency, incompatibility, indecorousness;
im-: impracticality, impregnability, impropriety;
ir-: irresponsibility, irresolution, irritability;
mis-: misunderstanding, misfortune, miscalculation, misuse;
поп-: non-smoker, non-event, non-story, non-character;
un-: unpleasantness, unreality, unruliness.
Adjectives derive from either nouns, verbs or even adjectives themselves by means of suffixes and prefixes: beautiful < beauty, friendless < friend, illogical < logic, unreliable < rely, independent < depend, repentant < repent, reddish < red, greyish < grey, childish < child.
The productive adjective-forming suffixes arc:
-able/-ible: usable, readable, intelligible, responsible;
-ful: colourful, useful, deceitful;
-less: colourless, useless;
-like: businesslike, childlike.
The less productive suffixes are:
-ish after the nounal root-stem: British, Turkish. Spanish; selfish, foolish, childish;
-ish after the adjectival root-stem: greyish, yellowish, youngish, tall ish:
-ish after the numeral root-stem: eightish, fortyish;
-ant/-ent: confidant, expectant; consequent, current;
-ous: curious, obvious, industrious, infectious;
-some: troublesome, quarrelsome;
-en: woolen, wooden, silken;
-an: American, Italian, Austrian;
-y: watery_, snowy, rainy, easy;
-al: principal, accidental, parental;
-ic/-ical: photographic; grammatical, hysterical, musical; historic — historical, economic — economical:
-ive/-ative: active, explosive; communicative, derivative;
-ate/-ite: delicate,, animate, accurate; definite, composite;
-or/ory/ary: inferior, superior; compulsory, consolatory, preparatory; customary, stationary, sanitary:
-ing: surprising, perplexing:
-ed: barbed, beaded;
-ly: friendly, womanly, monthly.
Note that -ed, -ing and -ly can be regarded as adjectival suffixes only with some reservation for adjectives like surprising, perplexing and barbed, beaded
are in fact adjectivized present and past participles correspondingly while the -ly suffix is more typical of adverbs. (See 7.2.)
The adjective-forming prefixes are:
pre-: prearranged, prewar;
un-: unusual, unpredictable, unhappy;
in-: insensitive, inanimate;
im-: impossible, immoral;
il-: illiterate, illogical;
dis-: dishonest, disinterested; \
a-: aloof, agog, ajar, ablaze, aglow, afire.
Note that words with the a- prefix are traditionally discussed within the class of adjectives