What are derivations?

Derivational variants are terms which are somehow related to the original term but do not share the same meaning. In linguistics, a derivation derives a new word from an existing word by adding, changing, or removing an non-inflectional affix (prefix or suffix). For example, "unhappy|adj" and "happiness|noun" are derived from "happy|adj" by prefix and suffix, respectively. Derivation typically produces a greater change of meaning from the original form, s more likely to result in a form which has a somewhat idiosyncratic meaning, often changes the (grammatical) category.

In the English language, there are three basic types of derivations (Huddleston, Rodney D., Pullum, Geoffrey K, 2002, The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language PP: 1667):

  1. Suffixation:
    The suffix is added at the end of the base word. Usually, it have synonymous (changed) meaning and change part of speech. There are several hundred derivational suffixes. Bellows are some examples:
    • readable|adj|readability|noun|yes
    • modern|adj|modernise|verb|yes
    • red|adj|reddish|adj|yes
    • slow|adj|slowly|adv|yes

    • star|noun|stardom|noun|yes
    • glory|noun|glorify|verb|yes
    • recreation|noun|recreational|adj|yes

    • drink|verb|drinkable|adj|yes
    • deliver|verb|deliverance|noun|yes
    • write|verb|writer|noun|yes
  2. Prefixation:
    The prefix is added at the beginning of the base word. Usually, it changes meaning, but rarely change part of speech (en & be)
    • happy|adj|unhappy|adj|yes
    • legal|adj|illegal|adj|yes
    • read|verb|reread|verb|yes

    • circle|verb|encircle|verb|yes
    • rich|adj|enrich|verb|yes
    • large|adj|enlarge|verb|yes
    • slave|noun|enslave|verb|yes
    • Rapture|noun|enrapture|verb|yes
  3. Conversion (zero derivation):
    It is the creation of a word from an existing word without any change in form
    • conversion from adjectives to nouns and vice versa are both very common
      • green|adj|green|noun|yes
      • clean|adj|clean|verb|yes

    • Verbification (verbing)
      is the creation of a verb from a noun, adjective or other word. It is a form of derivation.
      • telephone|noun|telephone|verb|yes
      • access|noun|access|verb|yes
      • host|noun|host|verb|yes
      • chair|noun|chair|verb|yes
      • gift|noun|gift|verb|yes
      • talk|noun|talk|verb|yes
      • walk|noun|walk|verb|yes
      • google|noun|google|verb|yes