Word Formation Process and Lexical Relations

Word Formation Process and Lexical Relations

This task requires you to identify different word-formation processes and lexical relations in a given text and comment on the findings. Please follow the steps below to complete the assignment.

Step 1: Look at the Data  

Your data consists of a) the shortlist for Word of Year 2016 Macquarie Dictionary (https://www.macquariedictionary.com.au/news/view/article/431/) and an extract from an article from The Conversation. Look at the data and follow the steps, filling in each table.

  1. a) Word of the Year 2016

fake news, halal snack pack, alt-right, bubble-soccer, fatberg, filter bubble, greige, patient navigator, plyscraper, racebending, rumbler alarm, shoefiti, standing desk, youlk

  1. b) Love of bookshops in a time of Amazon and popuismfrom The Conversation, 11/9/17

[para 1]

Despite dire predictions, bookstores are doing well: they are curatorsof taste and community hubs. But their challenges are many – from the arrival of Amazon Down Under to a ‘post-truth’ climate that devalues knowledge.

[para 2]

There was genuine positivity at this year’s Australian Booksellers’ Association Conference in Melbourne in June. The mood was one of camaraderie and optimism at the sharing of good news. And it only brightened with the news that our National Bookshop Day was to be rebranded this year as Love Your Bookshop Day. Why not?

[para 3]

Saturday is that day. Expect to see your local bookshop buntinged, postered, streamered and perhaps offering special bargains on popular titles. Assuming, of course, you have a local bookshop.

[para 4]

Store numbers have steadied in recent years and, as was reported at the conference, both independent and chain or franchise booksellers are expanding. Children’s book sales in particular are performing well. (“The bookshop is dead. Long live the bookshop,” reads a plaque at Embiggen Books in Melbourne’s CBD.)

[para 5]

But over the past couple of decades the sector has wrestled with the challenges of superstores, GST, the GFC, one-sided international post deals, ebooks and online-only undercutters.

[para 6]

Now the greatest of these online stores, certainly in terms of market share, will soon be competing with Australian bookstores from a new base here. Amazon has secured a massive distribution centre site near Dandenong in outer-eastern Melbourne. Dire predictions for parts of the Australian retail sector have already been made.

[para 7]

Amazon has itself experimented with physical bookstores in recent times, to underwhelming reviews, but its primary focus has, of course, been on being able to offer “everything” at the “everyday low prices” of its American precursors (and sometime role models), Walmart and Costco.

[para 8]

The current shrinkage of review pages in broadsheets will also hurt many bookshops, as they depend on a degree of consensus as to what is important and valuable to read.


[para 9 (caption)]

Andy Griffiths: a bookshop favourite – whose books include The Day My Bum Went Psycho (2001), Zombie Bums from Uranus (2003), Bumageddon: The Final Pongflict (2005). Photo: Carol Cho/AAP



Step 2: Analysis – Use the tables below

In Table 1, identify the word-formation process(s) for each 2016 Word of the Year candidate.


New Word Word Formation Process(es)

              1                                    2                                 3



derivation (prefix ‘post’ added to ‘truth, n) conversion from noun to adjective (no marker)
fake news
halal snack pack
filter bubble
patient navigator
rumbler alarm
standing desk


Using table 2 below, find 1-2words per paragraph and indicate the word-formation processes involved in their creation. In Column 1, underline the word you are explaining.Try to cover as many of the following as possible: derivation, compounding, borrowing, blending, clipping, conversion, diminutization, acronyms, initialisms, back formations.Follow the example given.

Text Word-formation process
[para 1]

Despite dire predict+ions, bookstores are doing well: they are curatorsof taste and community hubs. But their challenges are many – from the arrival of Amazon Down Under to a ‘post-truth‘ climate that devalues knowledge.

1. prediction:derivation:

pre + dict (v);predict + ion (n)

(NB the -s is inflectional, not word-forming.)


2. post-truth: derivation & conversion

post (adj) +truth (n) -> post-truth(adj)

[keep adding – do paras 2-9] [identify word processes for one or more words each para]










Table 3 – ‘Nym’ relations: Find up to 4 examples of each relation in the Bookshop text

x e.g. grow/increase e.g. grow/shrink e.g. dog/puppy e.g. ‘Fleet Street’

= journalists






















Step 3: Reflection & Discussion (about 600 words)

In no more than600 words, write a short essay on the patterns you see in your analysis.  Try to cover at least two points from each of the following 3 main headings:


Morphological and semantic features:

  • Common and less common word forming processes
  • Differences between the Dictionary Word of the Year entries and the Bookshop text in terms of which processes are common/uncommon or present/absent
  • How the new words you found reflect changes in the culture
  • How the lexical relations (i.e. synonyms, antonyms, hyponyms and metonyms) help make the text hang together (help readers decode what the agenda of the text is)


Phonological features:

  • Do any of the new words you found rely on phonological features (sound-based features) for their success?
  • Do the new words you found ‘behave’ phonotactically, i.e. follow the English rules for what sounds can go next to what other sounds and where?


Design principles of language:

  • arbitrariness, cultural transmission, displacement, productivity, recursion, reflexivity, etc.
  • How does the text that you analysed illustrate that written language has these foundational principles of language?


Reference your work with at least two sources, one of which can be the textbook (Yule).




Step 4: Save and Label your work out

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