Measurement of Productivity in English

  • Assistant Teacher. Haider Alwan Salman


          Many studies on linguistics, and particularly on word structure, usually introduce at an early stage a distinction between ‘productive’ and ‘unproductive’ word formation processes. ‘Productivity’ is used to mean a variety of different things, and it seems best to avoid the term entirely until any potential confusions could be resolved – a task for this research. This risk of confusion does not mean that the notion of productivity is unhelpful. On the contrary, once the various senses are teased apart, the outcome turns out to shed light on the relationship between word formation and lexical listing, and to highlight an important respect in which word-structure differs from sentence-structure.Carstairs-McCarthy (2002: 85) indicates that productivity is closely tied to regularity, but regularity in shape has to be distinguished from regularity in meaning. One aspect of vocabulary in English and perhaps in all languages is a dislike of exact synonyms. The implications of this for word formation is discussed altogether with dealing with some semantic implications of the freedom with which compound nouns are formed in English By Productivity as a morphological phenomenon, people can understand the possibility of language users to coin, unintentionally, a number of formations, which are in principle uncountable. The productivity of an affix is “the degree to which speakers can use it to unintentionally coin new words,” (Hay, 2003: 122).Carr (2008: 136-7), explains that productivity is regarded as the extent to which a given phonological, morphological or syntactic pattern can apply to create new forms. In contemporary English, the suffix -ee is currently exhibiting a certain degree of productivity speakers are uttering new forms such as kissee and teachee, in which the new forms denote the person undergoing the experience. It is claimed particularly in usage-based phonology, that the productivity of a given pattern is largely determined by the type frequency of the pattern.

How to Cite
ALWAN SALMAN, Assistant Teacher. Haider. Measurement of Productivity in English. Mustansiriyah Journal of Arts (MuJA), [S.l.], n. 84, p. 1:25, dec. 2018. ISSN 0258-1086. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 26 sep. 2021.