digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:


Applied sciences























An affix is a morpheme that is attached to a word stem to form a new word. Affixes may be derivational, like English -ness and pre-, or inflectional, like English plural -s and past tense -ed. They are bound morphemes by definition; prefixes and suffixes may be separable affixes. Affixation is, thus, the linguistic process speakers use to form different words by adding morphemes (affixes) at the beginning (prefixation), the middle (infixation) or the end (suffixation) of words.

Positional categories of affixes[edit]

Affixes are divided into plenty of categories, depending on their position with reference to the stem. Prefix and suffix are extremely common terms. Infix and circumfix are less so, as they are not important in European languages. The other terms are uncommon.

Categories of affixes
Affix Example Schema Description
Prefix un-do prefix-stem Appears before the stem
Suffix/postfix look-ing stem-suffix Appears after the stem
Suffixoid[1]/Semi-suffix[2] cat-like stem-suffixoid Appears after the stem, but is only partially bound to it
Infix Minneflippin'sota stinfixem Appears within a stem — common in Borneo-Philippines languages
Circumfix enlighten circumfixstemcircumfix One portion appears before the stem, the other after
Interfix speed-o-meter stema-interfix-stemb Links two stems together in a compound
Duplifix money~shmoney stem~duplifix Incorporates a reduplicated portion of a stem
(may occur before, after, or within the stem)
Transfix Maltese: kiteb "he wrote"
(compare root ktb "write")
stransfixtetransfixm A discontinuous affix that interleaves within a discontinuous stem
Simulfix mouse → mice stem\simulfix Changes a segment of a stem
Suprafix produce (noun)
produce (verb)
stem\suprafix Changes a suprasegmental feature of a stem
Disfix Alabama: tipli "break up"
(compare root tipasli "break")
stdisfixm The elision of a portion of a stem

Prefix and suffix may be subsumed under the term adfix in contrast to infix.

When marking text for interlinear glossing, as in the third column in the chart above, simple affixes such as prefixes and suffixes are separated from the stem with hyphens. Affixes which disrupt the stem, or which themselves are discontinuous, are often marked off with angle brackets. Reduplication is often shown with a tilde. Affixes which cannot be segmented are marked with a back slash.

Lexical affixes[edit]

Lexical affixes (or semantic affixes) are bound elements that appear as affixes, but function as incorporated nouns within verbs and as elements of compound nouns. In other words, they are similar to word roots/stems in function but similar to affixes in form. Although similar to incorporated nouns, lexical affixes differ in that they never occur as freestanding nouns, i.e. they always appear as affixes.

Lexical affixes are relatively rare. The Wakashan, Salishan, and Chimakuan languages all have lexical suffixes — the presence of these is an areal feature of the Pacific Northwest of the North America.

The lexical suffixes of these languages often show little to no resemblance to free nouns with similar meanings. Compare the lexical suffixes and free nouns of Northern Straits Saanich written in the Saanich orthography and in Americanist notation:

Lexical Suffix Noun
-o, -aʔ "person" , ełtálṉew̱ ʔəɬtelŋəxʷ "person"
-nát -net "day" sȼićel skʷičəl "day"
-sen -sən "foot, lower leg" sxene, sx̣ənəʔ "foot, lower leg"
-áwtw̱ -ew̕txʷ "building, house, campsite" , á,leṉ ʔeʔləŋ "house"

Lexical suffixes when compared with free nouns often have a more generic or general meaning. For instance, one of these languages may have a lexical suffix that means water in a general sense, but it may not have any noun equivalent referring to water in general and instead have several nouns with a more specific meaning (such "saltwater", "whitewater", etc.). In other cases, the lexical suffixes have become grammaticalized to various degrees.

Some linguists have claimed that these lexical suffixes provide only adverbial or adjectival notions to verbs. Other linguists disagree arguing that they may additionally be syntactic arguments just as free nouns are and thus equating lexical suffixes with incorporated nouns. Gerdts (2003) gives examples of lexical suffixes in the Halkomelem language (the word order here is verb–subject–object):

(1) niʔ šak’ʷ-ət-əs łə słeniʔ łə qeq
"the woman washed the baby"
(2) niʔ šk’ʷ-əyəł łə słeniʔ
"the woman baby-washed"

In sentence (1), the verb "wash" is šak’ʷətəs where šak’ʷ- is the root and -ət and -əs are inflectional suffixes. The subject "the woman" is łə słeniʔ and the object "the baby" is łə qeq. In this sentence, "the baby" is a free noun. (The niʔ here is an auxiliary, which can be ignored for explanatory purposes.)

In sentence (2), "baby" does not appear as a free noun. Instead it appears as the lexical suffix -əyəł which is affixed to the verb root šk’ʷ- (which has changed slightly in pronunciation, but this can also be ignored here). Note how the lexical suffix is neither "the baby" (definite) nor "a baby" (indefinite); such referential changes are routine with incorporated nouns.

Orthographic affixes[edit]

In orthography, the terms for affixes may be used for the smaller elements of conjunct characters. For example, Maya glyphs are generally compounds of a main sign and smaller affixes joined at its margins. These are called prefixes, superfixes, postfixes, and subfixes according to their position to the left, on top, to the right, or at the bottom of the main glyph. A small glyph placed inside another is called an infix.[3] Similar terminology is found with the conjunct consonants of the Indic alphabets. For example, the Tibetan alphabet utilizes prefix, suffix, superfix, and subfix consonant letters.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kremer, Marion. 1997. Person reference and gender in translation: a contrastive investigation of English and German. Tübingen: Gunter Narr, p. 69, note 11.
  2. ^ Marchand, Hans. 1969. The categories and types of present-day English word-formation: A synchronic-diachronic approach. Munich: Beck, pp. 356 ff.
  3. ^ Robert Sharer & Loa Traxler, 2006, The Ancient Maya, Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-4817-9
  4. ^ Andrew West, "Precomposed Tibetan Part 1 : BrdaRten" BabelStone, September 14, 2006


External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affix — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
14450 videos foundNext > 

Teaching Affixes.wmv

This PhotoStory will review and teach students prefixes, roots, and suffixes.

Affix and Root Meanings and Motions - How to teach affixes

This video shows the motions and meanings of the 92 most common affixes and Latin and Greek roots. I introduce 4 new affixes a week and review every Wednesda...

Affix VS Teaser @ Harmony of Hardcore

track: Distorted Revelation - Rockstar edit.

The AFFIX Rotor

After years of testing and prototypes, after an introduction video few months back, we noch re-present it to the world: THE AFFIX ROTOR. A BMX revolution tha...

Dj Affix - Intergalactic

Dj Affix - Intergalactic beastie boys.

Graco Affix Highback Booster Installation

This video provides instruction on installing your Graco Affix Highback and Affix Backless Booster Car Seat.

The Affix Squad

This dynamic duo (Prefix and Suffix) seek to build a family of words from a single base! Watch as they teach a bystander about both prefixes and suffixes (in...

Spastic Ink - A Quick Affix

Artist: Spastic Ink Song: A Quick Affix Album: Ink Compatible [Japanese Edition] This is the altered version of Bobby Jarzombek's Peppered Cancer, made for t...

"Prefixes, Suffixes, & Roots" Rap www.educationalrap.com

A rap song to learn about prefixes, suffixes, and roots. The song is done by www.educationalrap.com and used by permission. You can download from their site....

How to Affix a Mezuzah

Animated video demonstrating how to affix a Mezuzah on your doorpost according to Jewish law. Produced by JewishPathways.com, the more advanced learning site...

14450 videos foundNext > 

1404 news items

Fri, 18 Jul 2014 05:45:00 -0700

This civic body seems to affix over lack of consensuses over types of methodology to collect properties tax after adopting Unit Area Tax method approved by last Congress house and upheld by last BJP rule amending MC bye laws for the same. Irrespective ...
Washington Post
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 18:18:45 -0700

Some elections are contests between voters who are happy and voters who are not. This fall's elections are of a different sort: Since almost all the voters are unhappy with politics, the battle will be over which party gets the blame for dysfunction ...

New Yorker

New Yorker
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 03:07:30 -0700

Gloria Steinem, a staunch supporter of Clinton, says journalists affix adjectives to female candidates—shrill, pushy, aggressive, ambitious, divisive, bossy—that they don't apply to males. Today in public forums, Clinton often criticizes the press's ...
Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 04:37:30 -0700

You can affix bandannas or cloth napkins in zingy designs. Glue on buttons, sequins or shells. Or give a composition book about three coats of chalkboard paint and add a bulldog clip to hold some chalk so you can carry an always-ready art space. Find ...
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 21:07:33 -0700

I can't affix all the blame on him. I was a jerk," the Diamondbacks manager said. "He was half-right. I wasn't a disgrace to the uniform. But I was crazy." An incident in the Tigers' clubhouse after Detroit won the 1984 World Series may have gotten the ...
American Thinker
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 23:11:15 -0700

In time, some people may look back and affix blame for this latest conflict on the kidnapping and murder of the three Jewish teenagers. That would be incorrect. Not counting perpetual rocket fire and kidnapping attempts subsequent to the 2012 ceasefire ...
Design News
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 02:33:45 -0700

To delete the key properly, you had to affix the sticky back plate across the contacts on the circuit board where the key had been. Otherwise the keyboard would think the key was being held down by the operator and thus transmit the character code for ...
Earth Island Journal
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 06:07:30 -0700

For years, many of us have kept an eye out for organic and pesticide free vendors at our local farmers markets. Thanks to a new movement hitting the American food scene, we may soon be looking for another important environmental marker: open source ...

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Talk About Affix

You can talk about Affix with people all over the world in our discussions.

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!