词汇学(7)Word formation Ⅳ Conversion

词汇学(7)Word formation Ⅳ Conversion

Conversion is the formation of new words by converting words of one class to another class, i.e. by turning words of one part of speech to those of another part of the speech in traditional terms. New words are new only in a grammatical sense. Since the words that are made to do not change in morphological structure but in function, this process is also known as functional shift.
E.g.
round in the following sentences
He was knocked out in the first round.
Round the number off to the nearest tenth.
The neighbours gathered round our barbecue.
The moon was bright and round.
People came from all the country round.

Conversion is geenerally considered to be a derivational process whereby an item is adapted or converted to a new word class without the addition of ana affix. Hence the name zero-derivation.
E.g. simple single
Single could be used as a verb. In contrast, simple cannot be used as a verb without adding an affix. The first instance is one of zero-derivation-conversion, the sencond is one of suffixation as suffix -ify is added to make simple a verb.

Words produced by conversion are mainly nouns, adjectives and verbs. It deserves noting that conversion is not only a change of grammatical function ofthe item invovled but with it the different range ofmeaning it originally carried.

Conversion to Nouns

Deverbal

Almost all monomorphemic verbs can be used as nouns, which are semantically related to the original verbs in various ways.

State (of ming or sensation)
doubtthe state of doubting
wantwhat is wanted
desire, love, hate, smell, taste
Event or activity
searchthe activity of searching
laughthe act of laughing
attemp, hit, release, swim, shut-down, teach-in
Result in the action
catchwhat is caught
findwhat is found
reject, buy, answer, bet, hand-out
Doer of the action
helpone who helps
cheatone who cheats
bore, coach, flirt, scold, stand-in
Tool or instrument to do the action with
coverusedto cover something
wrapused to wrap something
cure, paper, wrench
Place of the action
passwhrere one has to pass
walka place for walking
divide, turn, drive, retreat, lay-by

De-adjective

Full conversion

A noun fully converted from an adjective has all the characteristics of nouns. It can take an indefinite article or -(e)s to indicate singular or plural number.
E.g. a white, a crazy, angies, valuables, finals

Partial conversion

Nouns partially converted from adjectives do not possess all the qualities of nouns. They must be used together with definite articles as nouns while retaining some of the adjective features. The gradable adjectives can keep their comparative or superlative degrees.
E.g. the poor, the poorer, the most corrupt, the young

Miscellaneous Conversion

This conversion nouns converted from other classes rather than verbs and adjectives auch as conjuntions, modals, finite verbs, prepositions.
E.g.
Would you like a with or a without.
Better to be an also-ran than a never-was.
His argument contains too many ifs and buts.
Life is full of ups and downs.
Rubber gloves are a must.
Patriotisms, nationalisms, and any other isms.

Conversion to Verbs

As is often the ease, a noun can be converted to a verb without any change. The use of the verb converted is both economical and vivid.

Denominal

To put in or on N
to pocket the moneyto put the money into the pocket
to can the fruitto put the fruit in the can
bottle, garage, corner, shelve
To give N or to provide with N
to shelter the refugeeto give a shelter to the refugee
to oil the machineto provide the machine with oil
butter, fuel, grease, arm, finance, coat
To remove N from
to skin the labto remove the skin from the lab
to juice the orangeto remove the juice from the orange
core, peel, feather, gut
To do with N
to pump waterto bring water with a pump
to knife the steakto cut the steak with a knife
brake, fiddle, finger, hammer, shoulder, glue
To be or act as N
to nurse a babyto be the nurse for the baby
to capatain a teamto act as a captain for the team
father, parrot, pilot, refree, tutor
To make or change into N
to cash the chesqueto change the chesque into cash
to orphan the boyto make the boy an orphan
cripple, fool, knight, widow
To send or go by N
to mail the letterto send the letter by mail
to bicycleto go by bicycle
helicopter, ship, telegraph, boat, motor

De-adjective

E.g.
He walked carefully so as not to wet his shoes.
The play was over and the auditorium began to empty.
Boon got in and quieted the engine.

Miscellaneous Conversion

E.g.
The interlectuals are muchea again.
We downed a few beers.
The students tut-tut the idea.
But me no buts.

Conversion to Adjectives

Generally, mass and material nouns can be used as adjectives. Some nouns are used simply to replace the derived adjectives from the same word. There is no much difference between the noun-form adjective and the adjective as far as meaning is concerned.

Changes Invovled in Conversion

Changes from Voiceless to Voice Consonant

E.g.

NounsVerbs
house /-s/house /-z/
shelf /f/shelve /-v/
sheath /-θ/sheath /-ð/

Changes from Initial to End Stress

E.g.

nounsverbs
‘conductcon’duct
‘permitper’mit
bath /a:θ/bathe /eið/

 

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