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Affixation In English And Vietnamese English Language Essay

A purely individual and non-instinctive approach to communicating ideas, emotions and desires by means of a system of voluntarily produced symbols is defined as language (Sapir, Dialect, P. 7). Therefore, every terms itself provides attentive learners with a wide knowledge of the primary function, social aspect as well as the top attribute which is the machine of symbols comprising different levels from audio systems to interpretation, such as phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics. Only the unity of the four systems can develop what is so-called terminology. Correspondingly, with an objective of researching upon this field that is to enable you to get, Vietnamese learners of British, an in- depth check out how minimal important British morphemes can be utilized again and again as building blocks to form different words and some relevance to the constitution of Vietnamese words, I hope this can be a useful material that you should approach English reading comprehension and bilingual translation work from a far more effective and interesting angle.

Literary review

According to Eugene A Nida, "morphemes will be the minimal meaningful models which might constitute words or parts of words" (Nida, 1946:1) and are thought as systems of semantic content or grammatical function. Morphemes are of two kinds: free morphemes, ones that may be uttered by themselves with interpretation and bound morphemes, ones that can't be uttered by themselves with meaning. Based on this definition, affixes are thought as destined morphemes because they arise before or behind root base or cores of all words and relatively modify the essential meaning of the origins.

e. g. Verb + - able Adj: enjoy + - able

Verb + - er Noun: wait around + - er, work + - or

un + Adj Adj: un + - beneficial, un + - easy

Adj + - en Verb: deep + - en, solid + - en

Besides, like destined morphemes, affixes may also be derivational or inflectional, meaning affixes can create new words by deriving new words from other words or making minor grammatical changes necessary for contract with other words without changing meanings or parts of words. From that point, affixation is assumed as the linguistic process audio system use to form new words with the addition of bound morphemes at the start, the center or the finish of words. Correlatively, affixes are split into prefixes, suffixes, infixes, suprafixes or suprasegmental and so forth.

Some types of affixes:



prefix -stem

Appears at the front of an stem




Appears behind a stem




Appears inside a stem - common in Borneo-Philippines languages




One portion shows up at the front of the stem, and the other at the rear




Links two stems mutually in a compound




Incorporates a reduplicated portion of a stem

(may occur in the front, at the rear, or within the stem)


Maltese: k-i-t-e-b = "he wrote"

(compare main ktb = "write")


A discontinuous affix that interleaves in just a discontinuous stem


mouse ' mice

Changes a segment of your stem


produce (noun)

produce (verb)

Changes a suprasegmental phoneme of a stem


Alabama: tipli = "break up"

(compare root tipasli = "chance")


The elision of a portion of your stem

Those types of affixes are categorized, depending on the position with regards to the stem. Generally, there are three types of affixes:

- Positional types of affixes. In this particular category, prefix and suffix are extremely common whereas the other conditions are uncommon as they are not important in Western european languages.

- Lexical affixes or semantic affixes. These are relatively rare bound elements that appear as affixes. In other words, they act like word origins/stems in function but a lot like affixes in form. Although much like incorporated nouns, lexical affixes fluctuate in that they never take place as freestanding nouns, i. e. they always show up as affixes.

- Orthographic affixes. Here, the conditions for affixes can be utilized for the smaller elements of conjunct characters. They are called prefixes, superfixes, postfixes, and subfixes corresponding with their position left, on top, to the right, or at the bottom of the main glyph. A small glyph positioned inside another is called an infix. For example, the Tibetan alphabet uses prefix, suffix, superfix, and subfix consonant characters.

Affixation in English

English prefixes are bound morphemes providing lexical so this means and added before either simple root base or intricate bases consisting of a main and other affixes, multiple origins, or multiple origins and other affixes.

e. g. undo = prefix un- + main do

untouchable = prefix un- + main touch + suffix -able

non-childproof = prefix non- + main child + main proof

non-childproofable = prefix non- + main child + root substantiation + suffix -able

English words may consist of multiple prefixes: anti-pseudo-classicism (made up of an anti- prefix and a pseudo- prefix). In British, all prefixes are derivational. This contrasts with British suffixes, which might be either derivational or inflectional. That is why many British prefixes can only just be put into bases of particular lexical categories. For example, the prefix re- meaning "again, back" is merely put into verb bases such as rebuild, reuse, resell, re-evaluate, resettle. It can't be put into bases of other lexical categories. These restrictions can be used to differentiate between identical-sounding prefixes. For instance, there are two different un- prefixes in English: one meaning "not, other of", the other meaning "reverse action, deprive of, release from". The first prefix un- "not" is attached to adjective and participle bases while the second prefix un- "reverse action" is attached to either verb or noun bases. Thus, British can have two words that are pronounced and spelled the same and also have the same lexical category but have different meanings, different prefixes, a new internal morphological composition, and different interior bases that the prefixes are attached to:

unlockable = [ un [ [ lock ]verb able ]adj ]adj = "not able to be locked"

unlockable = [ [ un [ lock ]verb ]verb able ]adj = "able to be unlocked"

Only certain verbs or nouns can be used to form a fresh verb having the opposite meaning. Specifically, using verbs explaining an irreversible action produces words often considered nonsense, e. g. unkill, unspend, unlose, unring. These words may nevertheless be in infrequent use for humorous or other result.

Unlike derivational suffixes, English prefixes typically do not change the lexical category of the bottom. Thus, the term do consisting of an individual morpheme is a verb as is the term redo, which contains the prefix re- and the bottom root do. However, there are many prefixes in English that are class-changing for the reason that the word. The reason is that the prefix belongs to a lexical category that differs from the lexical group of the base. Types of this kind include a-, be-, and en-. a- typically creates adjectives from noun and verb bases: blaze (noun/verb) ablaze (adj). The relatively unproductive be- creates transitive verbs from noun bases: witch (noun) bewitch (verb). en- creates transitive verbs from noun bases: slave (noun) enslave (verb)

Several British words are often analyzed as a combination of a based mostly affix and an independent base, such as with the words boy-hood or un-just. Pursuing Marchand (1969), these types of words are referred to as words formed by native word-formation functions.

Other words in British are made by foreign word-formation processes, specifically Greek and Latin word-formation processes. These phrase types are often known as neo-classical or neo-Latin words. Words of the nature are borrowed from either Greek or Latin or have been recently coined based after Greek and Latin word-formation techniques. On these days, however, some international elements have become an integral part of productive English word-formation processes. An example of such a now indigenous British prefix is co- such as co-worker, which is in the end produced from the Latin prefix com- (using its allomorphs co-, con-, col-, and cor-).

Affixation in Vietnamese

Before discussing affixation in Vietnamese, we should speak about the characteristics of its morphemes. The visible feature of Vietnamese morphemes is that there is no difference between them and the syllables. Nearly every morphemes in Vietnamese is considered as "forms of syllables", e. g. nh , n, », ng »i, v», e, u, etc. The amount of morphemes containing several syllables is suprisingly low and they have exotic origin, e. g. x  phng, ґ tґ, etc. In Vietnamese, there a wide range of morphemes that also work as potential monosyllables in the meantime, unlike inflectional dialects, the routine of morpheme form for polysyllables is a compounding one. Consequently, it is easier to understand a monosyllable than a expression. This difference shows contradictory characteristics of the so-called morpheme in both dialects. Besides, we can find that we now have more morphemes defined as single words in Vietnamese than in English in conditions of conversation articulation. The definition of morpheme is quite standard as well as widespread. It really is, however, proposed in a particular way, based on the characteristics of word formation and circulation of linguistic devices ruled by each words. Most Vietnamese morphemes are defined owing to term sense which may be meaningful or meaningless. While articulating morphemes, we can easily see some work as parts of words though the others are morphemes of collocation. The first group is very common in English. The second some may be usually found in Vietnamese, e. g. nh , ˜t, n »c, s»±, cu»c, di»n, ˜Ј, ˜ang, s, v», etc. Back to the word affixation, as discussed above, we can show that affixation still is present in Vietnamese although it is limited. Only prefixation and suffixation are attested. Several affixes are being used along with reduplication. Many affixes come from the Sino-Vietnamese and discovered part of the lexicon. Below are a few examples,



"1 / 2"

ban nguy»t "semicircular, semi-monthly" (ban- + -nguy»t "moon"),

ban ˜o "peninsula" (ban- + ˜o "island")



kh kinh "respectable" (kh- + kinh "to admiration"),

kh quan "satisfactory" (kh- + quan "to behold")


familiar (put into surnames)

lЈo Thinh "old" Thinh, classic Thinh" (lЈo- + Thinh surname)


"counter-top to, against"

phn cach mng "counter-revolutionary" (phn- + cach mng "trend"),

phn chin "anti-war" (phn- + -chin "to fight")



phi ngha "unethical" (phi- + ngha "righteousness"),

phi chinh ph» "non-governmental" (phi- + chinh ph» "administration")


"above, better"

siЄu th» "supermarket" (siЄu- + th» "market"),

siЄu ˜ng "outstanding" (siЄu- + ˜ng "level")


"over, high"

tng a xit "hyperacidity" (tng- + a xit "acid"),

tng can xi "hypercalcernia" (tng- + can xi "calcium mineral")


ordinal (added to numerals)

th» m »i "tenth" (th»- + m »i "twenty"),

th» b»˜n m  i ba "forty-third" (th»- + b»˜n m  i ba "forty-three")





chinh tr» gia "politician" (chinh tr» "politics" + -gia),

khoa h»c gia "scientist" (khoa h»c "science" + -gia)



tac gi "author" (tac "to build" + -gi),

h»c gi "scholar" (h»c "to learn" + -gi)


forms causative verb

a xit hoa "to acidify" (a xit "acid" + -hoa),

m» hoa "to americanize" (M» "USA" + -hoa)


"field of analysis"

ngґn ng»‡ h»c "linguistics" (ngґn ng»‡ "terminology" + -h»c),

˜»ng vt h»c "zoology" (˜»ng vt "canine" + -h»c)


"calculating device"

nhi»t k "thermometer" (nhi»t- "warm" + -k),

ap k "manometer" (ap "get close, methodology" + -k)


"field of research"

nha khoa "dentistry" (nha- "teeth" + -khoa),

d »c khoa "pharmacy" (d »c- "drug" + -khoa)



ho s "artist" (ho "to get" + -s),

vn s "article writer" (vn "books" + -s)


"get better at"

giao s  "teacher" (giao "to teach" + -s ),

lut s  "lawyer or attorney" (lut "legislation" + -s )



quan sat viЄn "observer" (quan sat "to observe" + -viЄn),

ph»˜i tri viЄn "planner" (ph»˜i tri "to organize" + -viЄn)

A contrastive evaluation of affixation in British and Vietnamese

As we all know, English is an inflectional language grouped into the band of analytic ones, which means English word formation becomes less fusional which is added manner of syncategoremantic words, word order, etc. Within the contrast, Vietnamese is thought as an isolating dialect so it has no inflectional sensation, but only the roots. In conditions of word development, thus, we may easily find that there surely is a similarity between British and Vietnamese that is approximately manner of syncategoremantic words and word order.

In his delivering the components that constitute words, Professor Nguy»n Thi»n Giap gives the concept of semi-affixes, which is defined as "the factors that not completely lose their own sense of things, but have the type associated with an affix and are found regularly in many words. The basic standards of semi-affixes is their auxiliary dynamics, shown in the characteristics of this is, syndication and function. While doing the function of developing words, they wthhold the relationship of so this means and form with 3rd party roots so they don't really change into affixes" (Dn lun ngґn ng»‡ h»c. Giao d»c Publishing House, 1998, P. 67). When Vietnamese is helped bring into comparison, Teacher Giap areas that the factors, like viЄn, gi, s, hoa and so on, also have the nature of any semi-affix (s˜l, P. 68). Because of this, morphemes that have grammatical prices and Chinese-Vietnamese source, but full self-reliance are the ones which may have the nature of semi-affixes. Here are some examples:

e. g. - s : ngh» s, ho s, nhc s, vi»n s, nha s

- h»c : dn t»c h»c, tm li h»c, xЈ h»i h»c, sinh h»c

ti»n - : ti»n ˜», ti»n l», ti»n s», ti»n t»˜, ti»n nhi»m

bt - : bt bin, bt cn, bt chinh, bt cґng, bt ˜»nh, bt nhn, bt ngha, bt ng»

From these example, we can see that each term is constituted of two factors: one is made up of meaning of the complete term and the other tends toward grammatical meaning. Here, the second factor is recognized as the morphemes that have the properties of semi-affixes. Placing this into evaluation with some British equivalences, we find that there is certain correspondence between Vietnamese "semi-affixes" with English affixes about the role of creating words.

e. g. designer, painter, musician, academician, dentist

ethnology, mindset, sociology, biology

premise, precedent, prehistoric, prefix, predecessor

invariable, careless, outlawed, injustice, indeterminate, ungrateful, unexpected

Therefore, it is clear that there was a correspondence in the role of building words between Vietnamese "semi-affixes" and British affixes. However, it isn't an totally one-to-one correspondence, this means not every Vietnamese "semi-affix" comes with an English suffix as an equivalence. For instance, s in Vietnamese has its equivalences that are -ist, -er, -an, etc. in English or bt in Vietnamese has its English equivalences like in-, -less, il-, un- and so forth. Conversely, suffix -er in English which functions as a constituent of word formation, such as -er in painter, teacher, worker, drivers, etc. gets the "semi-affixes" Vietnamese like -s (ho s), -viЄn (giao viЄn), -nhn (cґng nhn), etc. as its equivalences. We easily find a similarity between English and Vietnamese in expression creation, which is that they follow a solution of constituting words, root+affix/semi-affix. However, the regularity of use and properties of the formula change in different languages. In British, this formula becomes quite typical because British belongs to inflectional group.

Although there is no one-to-one correspondence as what we've discussed in the form of forming words, you may still find some specific morphemes as dialect equivalences in semantic category. For instance,

a. Group of negation

In English,

dis- : dishonest, disorganize, dislike, vanish, disadvantage

il (+l)- : illegitimate, illiberal

im (+m or p)- : imposible, impolite

in- : indirect, unseen, injustice

ir (+r)- : unusual, irrelevant

non- : non-alcohobic, non-stop, non-profit

un- : unpleasant, different, undated, uncertain, unpack, unzip

-less : hopeless, powerless

In Vietnamese,

bt- : bt ˜»nh, bn ˜»"ng, bt bin, bt tn

phi- : phi li, phi ngha

vґ- : vґ vi, vґ ˜o, vґ tnh, vґ hnh

b. Category of ability

In English,

- able : writeable, incapable, comfortable

- ible : apparent, possible, comprehensible

In Vietnamese,

kh- : kh d»ng, kh nng, kh bin

- ˜ »c : vit ˜ »c, n ˜ »c, nhn (thy) ˜ »c

c. Group of denomination

In English,

- er/ or : drivers, editor

- ist : holiday, scientist

- ant/ ent : assistant, student

- an/ ian : republican, electrician

- ee : employee, examinee

In Vietnamese,

- s : nhc s, ho s, giao s, nha s, bac s, vi»n s

- viЄn : giao viЄn, sinh viЄn, nhn viЄn, di»n viЄn

- gi : h»c gi, tac gi, ki gi

- nhn : thi nhn, qun nhn, cґng nhn, nn nhn, b»nh nhn

nh  - : nh  vn, nh  th , nh  bao, nh  giao

In brief, these instances help learners easily associate British affixes with the so-called Vietnamese significant morphemes including semi-affixes which are not entirely independent. This sort of morphemes in Vietnamese has a higher production of words because the semantic content of each morpheme is of a category, but a single notion. As a result, the presence of sets of affixes and "semi-affixes" as equivalences between English and Vietnamese is a significant edge to translation work.

Some implications for English Coaching and Learning

Studying affixation provides learners with receptive and profitable skills. As for receptive skill, learners can easily make guesses about this is of unknown vocabulary for their being well-equipped with a broad knowledge of word building in terms of affixation. For instance, to complete a task of reading understanding, the learners may deduce effectively the meaning of some new items found in the given texts, based on their own understanding of affixes (see appendix). In additional, learners' ability of manifestation is strongly increased if they can apply what are taught at college about basics of word development, as for beneficial skill.

On the other hands, educators should pay more focus on teaching affixation in the school room. As Matthews (1974) said : "So how exactly does one plunge into syntax when one cannot identify and understand the elements whose role and syndication is in question ? It is merely in favoured situations, where the morphology is easy or has already been thoroughly explored, a rookie can plunge into syntax. " So beside educating the grammatical syllabuses, instructors may adjust the lessons to arrange an appropriate timeframe used to provide the students some practice of affixation, predicated on teaching situation. Furthermore, professors can cleverly put an emphasis how word constructions are formed by giving students different duties designed on the strategy: to help learners get general rules of some affixes in conditions of semantic category so that they can make their own system of affixes and enrich their vocabulary. For Vietnamese learners, it is also necessary to provide them with an association between certain prefixes and suffixes in British with the equivalences of the mom tongue because of the living of similarities reviewed above. By studying it, learners can avoid some blunders in translation work. Besides, this makes the lesson a lot more interesting and better to be memorized.

Dik (1967) says : "To understand a dialect is not really much to memorize a set of sentences ; somewhat, it is to familiarize oneself with a linguistic system in such a way and such extent that a person can construct sentences and other linguistic set ups on one's own. " Generally, it is essential to claim that at least the process of how words are constituted should be offered in EFL course literature and either coaching or learning it ought to be carefully centered on in order to meet the complete requirements of language teaching.


In brief, this paper shows you a detailed contrastive analysis of affixation regarding Vietnamese and English with the purpose of emphasizing how important and useful expression structure shouldn't be ignored at university to help learners acquire the target terms much comfortably and completely. Yet, somewhat, the paper hasn't long all the vast knowledge in this field because I just try to give attention to some very basic concepts and primary theories in comparing and contrasting affixation in Vietnamese and British expressing my viewpoints to visitors. On the whole, I do expect that it'll be a useful materials for educators and students who talk about the same interest with me at night in how to increase the way we study our target language efficiently.


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