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In linguistics, a suffix (also sometimes called a postfix or ending) is an affix which is placed after the stem of a word. Common examples are case endings, which indicate the grammatical case of nouns or adjectives, and verb endings, which form the conjugation of verbs. Particularly in the study of Semitic languages, a suffix is called an afformative, as they can alter the form of the words to which they are fixed. In Indo-European studies, a distinction is made between suffixes and endings (see Proto-Indo-European root).

Suffixes can carry grammatical information (inflectional suffixes), or lexical information (derivational suffixes). An inflectional suffix is sometimes called a desinence.[1]

Some examples from English:

Girls, where the suffix -s marks the plural.
He makes, where suffix -s marks the third person singular present tense.
It closed, where the suffix -ed marks the past tense.

Many synthetic languagesCzech, German, Finnish, Latin, Hungarian, Russian, Turkish, etc.—use a large number of endings.

Suffixes used in English frequently have Greek, French or Latin origins.

Contents

Inflectional suffixes

Inflection changes grammatical properties of a word within its syntactic category. In the example:

The weather forecaster said it would clear today, but it hasn't cleared at all.

the suffix -ed inflects the root-word clear to indicate past tense.

Some inflectional suffixes in present day English:

Derivational suffixes

In the example:

"The weather forecaster said it would be clear today, but I can't see clearly at all"

the suffix -ly modifies the root-word clear from an adjective into an adverb. Derivation can also form a semantically distinct word within the same syntactic category. In this example:

"The weather forecaster said it would be a clear day today, but I think it's more like clearish!"

the suffix -ish modifies the root-word clear, changing its meaning to "clear, but not very clear".

Some derivational suffixes in present day English:

See also

References

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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

German

Noun

Suffix m. (genitive Suffixes, plural Suffixe)

  1. suffix

Simple English

A suffix is a few letters put at the end of a word to change its meaning. [1] It is a type of affix.

Verb examples:

  • -ed
  • -er
  • -ing
  • -s
  • walk
  • walked
  • walker
  • walking
  • walks

Adjective examples:

  • -er
  • -est
  • easy
  • easier
  • easiest

Compare to prefix. Prefixes are letters put at the beginning of a word to change its meaning.

References

  1. "suffix." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 12 Aug. 2007. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/suffix>.


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