Research studies

The Importance of Suffixations in Shaping the Structure and Meanings of the English Word (Act)


Prepared by the researcher : Assistant Professor – Ibrahim Talaat Ibrahim – AL-Iraqia University/ College of Arts

Democratic Arab Center

Journal of cultural linguistic and artistic studies : Twenty-seventh Issue – March 2023

A Periodical International Journal published by the “Democratic Arab Center” Germany – Berlin

Nationales ISSN-Zentrum für Deutschland
 ISSN  2625-8943

Journal of cultural linguistic and artistic studies

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Affixation has a very integral role in shaping the meanings and the forms of English words.  Because it is described as a morpheme added to the beginning, middle or at end of the word concerned to change the structure and to give new meaning as well.

The present paper is about studying the ramifications of meanings and forms of the word English (Act) when suffixations added to it.

It aims to classify the parts of speech produced as a result of employing the word (Act) + Suffixations.

So, the results of using suffixations with the word (Act) produced 26 new words. Some of these words are related in meanings and others are not related. They are classified under different categories (6 verbs), (6 adjectives) and (14 nouns). In addition, there are certain forms functioning as adjectives and nouns at the same time and there is a form functioning as noun and verb as well.

  • Preliminaries

The present Chapter will shed the lights on the definition of affixation, types of affixation, word formation and the productivity of using affixation in language with regard to the word (Act). In other words, it aims at showing the significance of the term above in shaping the meanings of words and producing new parts of speech.

  • What is Affixation?

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.” ( retireved on May/20/2014).

  • Word Formation

Generally Speaking, the term concerned refers to the whole process of morphological variation in the constitution of words, i.e. including the two main divisions of inflection (word variations signalling grammatical relationships) and derivation (word variations signalling lexical relationships).

In a more restricted sense, word-formation refers to the latter processes only, these being sub-classified into such types as ‘compositional’ or ‘compound’ (e.g. black bird from the free elements black + bird), and ‘derivational’ (e.g. national, nationalize, etc., from the addition of the bound elements -al, -ize, etc.). Several possibilities of further sub-classification are available in the literature on this subject. In generative grammar, word-formation rules (WFR) specify how to form one class of words out of another (Crystal, 2008: 523f).

  • The Productivity of Using Affixatio

The researcher think that affixation is described as the most productive tool in forming words with new meanings (related to each other or not related to each other) and new parts of speech. So, the expected productions of the using affixations with the word (Act) will be diversified. It will be very clear in Chapter Two the diversity of results of using affixation with the said word. The affixations concerned will produce: Verbs, Nouns and Adjective that have related meanings non-related meanings as well.

  • Verbs:

It is “a term employed in the grammatical classification of words, to refer to a class traditionally defined as ‘doing’ or ‘action’ words (a description which has been criticized in linguistics, largely on the grounds that many verbs do not ‘act’ in any obvious sense, e.g. seem, be). The formal definition of a verb refers to an element which can display morphological contrasts of tense, aspect, voice, mood, person and number. functionally,”

it is the element which, singly or in combination with other verbs (i.e. as a ‘verb phrase’), is used as the minimal predicate of a sentence, co-occurring with a subject, e.g. she/wrote. If the predicate contains other elements (e.g. object, complement, adverbial), then it is the verb which more than any other is the unit which influences the choice and extent of these elements; e.g. the verb put takes both an object and a locative adverbial, as in he put the book on the table. In many grammatical theories, accordingly, the verb is considered the most important element in sentence structure (Crystal, 2008: 510).

  • Nouns:

It is “a term used to refer to a person (e.g. Ann or doctor), a place (e.g. Paris or city) or a thing, a quality or an activity (e.g. Plant, sorrow or tennis)” (OALD, 2008: 1039).

  • Adjectives:

In grammar, an adjective is “a ‘describing’ word; the main syntactic role of which is to qualify a noun or noun phrase, giving more information about the object signified. Adjectives are one of the traditional eight English parts of speech, although linguists today distinguish adjectives from words such as determiners that formerly were considered to be adjectives. In this paragraph, “traditional” is an adjective, and in the preceding paragraph,” “main” is (  retrieved on May/20/2014).

  • Adverbs

It is “a term used in the grammatical classification of words to refer to a heterogeneous group of items whose most frequent function is to specify the mode of action of the verb. In English, many (by no means all) adverbs are signalled by the use of the -ly ending, e.g. quickly, but cf. soon. syntactically, one can relate adverbs to such questions as how, where, when and why, and classify them accordingly, as adverbs of ‘manner’, ‘place’, ‘time’,etc.” (Crystal, 2008: 14)

  • Words With Related and Non-related Meanings

The produced words will be divided into two different categories they are as follows: Words with related meanings and Words non-related meanings.

The Results of Employing Affixations in Widening The Horizons of the Word (Act)

2.1. Preliminaries

The current Chapter is about the ramifications of meanings of the word (Act). These ramifications are made by the use of affixations. They produce different parts of speech and words with related and non-related meanings. To understand the above points, the original meanings of the word concerned are presented.

2.2. The Original Meanings of the Word (Act)

 The word (Act) is a noun that means the followings:

  • A particular thing that somebody does such as: an act of kindness or acts of terrorism.
  • (Law) a law has been passed by the parliament: an act of Congress.
  • (In Play/Entertainment): it is one of main divisions of the play.
  • Act of God: an event caused by natural forces (OALD, 2008:14).

2.3. The Added Affixations to the Word (Act)

2.3.1. The followings are the affixations concerned:

  • The prefix (re)= (react )
  • The prefix (re)+ the suffix (ion)= (re+act+ion)
  • The prefix (re)+ the suffixes (ion+s)= (re+act+ion+s)
  • The prefix (re)+ the suffix (ance)= (re+act+ance)
  • The prefix (re)+ the suffixes (ion+ary)= (re+act+ion+ary)
  • The suffix (or)= ( act+or)
  • The Suffix (ive)= (act+ive)
  • The suffixes (iv+ist)= (act+iv+ist)
  • The suffix (iv+ity)= (act+iv+ity)
  • The prefix (re)+ the suffixes (ive)= (re+act+ive)
  • The Suffixes (iv+ate)= (act+iv+ate)
  • The prefix (re)+ the suffixes (iv+ate)= (re+act+iv+ate)
  • The prefix (de)+ the suffixes (iv+ate)= (de+act+iv+ate)
  • The suffixes (iv+at+ion)= (act+iv+at+ion)
  • The prefix (re)+ the suffixes (iv+at+ion)= (re+act+iv+at+ion)
  • The prefix (de)+the suffixes (iv+at+ion)= (de+act+iv+at+ion)
  • The suffixes (ion)= (act+ion)
  • The suffixes (ing)= (act+ing)
  • The Suffixes (iv+ly)= (act+iv+ly)
  • The prefix (re)+ the suffix (or)= (re+act+or)
  • The prefix (ual)= (act+ual)
  • The prefixes (ual+ly)= (act+ual+ly)
  • The prefixes (ual+ity)= (act+ual+ity)
  • The prefixes (ual+ize)= (act+ual+ize)
  • The prefixes (ual+iz+ing)= (act+ual+iz+ing)
  • The prefixes (ual+iz+at+ion)= (act+ual+iz+at+ion)

2.3.2. The Analysis of the Produced Meanings and Their Parts of Speech:

The first production is (v. react), it means to behave or change in a particular way when something happens, is said. retrieved on May/20/2014.

The second production is (n. reaction), it means the way someone acts or feels in response to something that happens, is said, etc.  Retrieved on May/20/2014

The third production is (n. reactions), it refers to the ability to act and move quickly in order to avoid sudden danger  Retrieved on May/20/2014.

The fourth production is (n. reactance), it stands for the part of the impedance of an alternating-current circuit that is due to capacitance or inductance or both and that is expressed in ohms Retrieved on May/20/2014.

The fifth production is (n. and adj. reactionary), it is related to, markedby, or favoring reactionespecially :  ultraconservative in politics

Retrieved on May/20/2014

The sixth production is (n. actor); it is a person who acts in a play, movie.etc. Retrieved on May/20/2014

The seventh production is (adj. active), it means doing things that require physical movement and energy. Retrieved on May/20/2014

The eighth production is (n. activist), is refers to a proponent or practitioner of activism: political activists. Retrieved on May/20/2014

The ninth production is (n. activity), is about the state of being active: behavior or actions of a particular kind Retrieved on May/20/2014

The tenth production is (adj. reactive), it refers to something that is done in response to a problem or situation: reacting to problems when they occur instead of doing something to prevent them Retrieved on May/20/2014

The eleventh production is (v. activate), it means to make active or more active Retrieved on May/20/2014

The twelfth production is (v. reactivate), it refers to restore (something) to a state of activity; bring back into action Retrieved on May/20/2014

The thirteenth production is (v. deactivate), it stands for makeing inactive or ineffective <deactivate a bomb><deactivate a chemical compound> Retrieved on May/20/2014

The fourteenth production is (n. activation), it is the noun of (v. activate).

The fifteenth production is (n. reactivation), is the noun of the verb (reactivate).

The sixteenth production is (n. deactivation), it is the noun of the verb (deactivate)

The seventeenth production is (n. action), it means the state or process of acting or doing something

Retrieved on May/20/2014

The eighteenth production is (adj. and n. acting), as for the (adj.) it means the one who is assigned to serve temporarily,   especially as a substitute during another’s absence; not permanent; temporary: the acting mayor, While the (n.) is the art, profession, or activity of those who perform in stage plays, motion pictures, etc. Retrieved on May/20/2014

The nineteenth production is (adj. actively), it stands for functioning or capable of functioning Retrieved on May/20/2014

The twentieth production is (n. reactor), it means the followings:

1- One that reacts to a stimulus.

2- Electronics a circuit element, such as a coil, used to introduce reactance.

3- Physics a nuclear reactor. Retrieved on May/20/2014

The production No. twenty one is (adj. actual); it is real and not merely possible or imagined: existing in fact. Besides, it is known to be correct or precise not false or apparent. Moreover, it is used for emphasis Retrieved on May/21/2014

The production No. twenty two is (adv. actually), its uses are as follows: Retrieved on May/21/2014

The production No. twenty three is (n. actuality), it means:

  • What really exist
  • A fact or something that is real Retrieved on May/21/2014

The production No. twenty four is (v. actualize), it means to to make actual or real; turn into action or fact. Retrieved on May/21/2014

The production No. twenty five is (n. and v. actualizing), it refers to the noun of verb (actualize) and sometimes it functions as a verb with (ing) form.

The production No. twenty six is (n. actualization) it means to act or process. Retrieved on May/21/2014

2.4. The Results of Employing Affixations to The Word (Act)

It is understood that the term affixation is the most significant tool in enriching the derived meanings and the parts of speech from the word (Act).

               The Word Act+ Suffixations

Diagram (2.1.) showing the ramifications of the word (Act)


2.5. Results Classifications

The followings are the classified results according to the produced parts of speech:

The derived verbs from the word (Act)+ Suffixations
1- React
2- Activate
3- Reactivate
4- Deactivate
5- Actualize
6- Actualizing

A Table (2.2.) for the derived verbs from the word (Act) +Suffixations

The derived adjectives from the word (Act)+ Suffixations
1- Reactionary it is both (adj. and n.) see  (2.3.2 above)
2- Active
3- Reactive
4- Acting it is both (adj. and n.) see (2.3.2. above)
5- Actively
6- Actual

A Table (2.3.) for the derived adjectives from the word (Act) + Suffixations

The derived nouns from the word (Act)+ suffixations
1- Reaction
2- Reactions
3- Reactance
4- Actor
5- Activity
6- Activation
7- Reactivation
8- Deactivation
9- Action
10-         Reactionary
11-         Acting
12-         Actualizing it is both (n. and v.) see  (2.3.2. above)
13-         Actuality
14-         Actualization


A Table (2.4.) for the derived nouns from the word (Act) + suffixations

The derived adverbs from the word (Act)+suffixations

A Table (2.4.) for the derived adverb from the word (Act) + suffixations


It is evident that the use of affixations with the word (Act) results in very great productivity. This productivity is of two different types:

  • Productivity in Meanings: the addition of (Prefix and Suffix) to the said word produced 26 different words some of them are related to each other in meanings such as (Active, Activate, Reactivate and Reactivation) and (Deactivate and Deactivation) and others are not related to each other as far as their meanings are concerned such as (Actor, Reactor, React) etc.
  • Productivity in Parts of Speech, the word (Act) + suffixations produced new parts of speech Like (Verbs, Adjectives, Nouns and adverb). Besides, they also produced some forms that are (Adjectives and Nouns) like (Acting and Reactionary) and a form functioning as a verb and noun at the same time like (Actualizing)


Crystal, David. (2008) A Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics. Blackwell Publishing.UK.

Hornby, As. Oxford advanced learner’s Dictionary. (2008). Oxford: OUP.

Websites:  retireved on ay/20/2014.  retrieved on May/20/2014  retrieved on May/20/2014 retrieved on May/20/2014  retrieved on May/20/2014 retrieved on May/20/2014 retrieved on May/20/2014  retrieved on May/20/2014 retrieved on May/20/2014 retrieved on May/20/2014 retrieved on May/20/2014 retrieved on May/20/2014 retrieved on May/20/2014 retrieved on May/20/2014 retrieved on May/20/2014 retrieved on May/20/2014 retrieved on May/20/2014 retrieved on May/20/2014 retrieved on May/20/2014 retrieved on May/21/2014 retrieved on May/21/2014 retrieved on May/21/2014 retrieved on May/21/2014 retrieved on May/21/2014

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