Difference Between
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Derivation vs. Affixation: Know the Difference

Derivation is the process of creating new words from existing ones by adding affixes, while affixation is the act of adding prefixes, suffixes, or infixes to a word.
Derivation vs. Affixation

Key Differences

Derivation involves creating new words by adding, changing, or removing affixes, thus altering the meaning or grammatical category. Affixation, a part of this process, specifically refers to attaching prefixes, suffixes, or infixes to the base form of a word.
The outcome of derivation is a derived word with a new meaning or grammatical function, whereas affixation is the technical act of adding an affix to a root word, which can be part of derivation.
Derivation can change a word's part of speech, like turning a noun into an adjective. Affixation, in this context, is the method through which this change is achieved by adding relevant affixes.
In derivation, the focus is on the result of the process - a new word with altered meaning. In affixation, the emphasis is on the process itself - the act of adding an affix.
Derivation can involve multiple linguistic processes, including affixation, but affixation strictly refers to the addition of affixes without implying a complete transformation of the word.
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Comparison Chart

Definition

The process of forming new words from existing ones.
The act of adding an affix to a word.

Focus

On the resulting new word or meaning.
On the method of adding prefixes, suffixes, or infixes.

Impact on Word Class

Can change the grammatical category of a word.
Does not necessarily change word class by itself.

Scope

Broader concept including various word formation processes.
Specific to adding affixes.

Examples

'Happiness' from 'happy', 'reaction' from 'act'.
Adding 'un-' to 'happy', making 'unhappy'.
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Derivation and Affixation Definitions

Derivation

Word Formation
Derivation transformed 'happy' into 'happiness'.

Affixation

Adding Prefixes
Affixation adds 'un-' to 'known' to form 'unknown'.

Derivation

Changing Word Class
The noun 'beauty' is derived into the adjective 'beautiful'.

Affixation

Modifying Roots
Affixation changes 'do' to 'undo' with a prefix.

Derivation

Grammatical Function Alteration
Derivation turns the verb 'react' into the noun 'reaction'.
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Affixation

Attaching Suffixes
By affixation, 'care' becomes 'careful' with a suffix.

Derivation

The act or process of deriving.

Affixation

Altering Word Forms
'Happiness' involves affixation of '-ness' to 'happy'.

Derivation

The state or fact of being derived; origination
A custom of recent derivation.

Affixation

Forming New Words
The word 'useful' is created by affixation from 'use'.

Derivation

Something derived; a derivative.

Affixation

(linguistics) The adding of an affix to a word.

Derivation

The form or source from which something is derived; an origin.

Affixation

The result of adding an affix to a root word

Derivation

The historical origin and development of a word; an etymology.

Affixation

Formation of a word by means of an affix

Derivation

The process by which words are formed from existing words or bases by adding affixes, as singer from sing or undo from do, by changing the shape of the word or base, as song from sing, or by adding an affix and changing the pronunciation of the word or base, as electricity from electric.

Affixation

The act of attaching or affixing something

Derivation

In generative linguistics, the generation of a linguistic structure through an ordered or partially ordered series of operations on other structures, such as the creation of a surface structure from a deep structure, or of a complex word from its morphological components.

Derivation

The formal description of the process of such generation.

Derivation

Logic & Mathematics A logical or mathematical process indicating through a sequence of statements that a result such as a theorem or a formula necessarily follows from the initial assumptions.

Derivation

A leading or drawing off of water from a stream or source.

Derivation

The act of receiving anything from a source; the act of procuring an effect from a cause, means, or condition, as profits from capital, conclusions or opinions from evidence.

Derivation

The act of tracing origin or descent.
The derivation of a word from an Indo-European root

Derivation

(grammar) Forming a new word by changing the base of another word or by adding affixes to it.

Derivation

The state or method of being derived; the relation of origin when established or asserted.

Derivation

That from which a thing is derived.

Derivation

That which is derived; a derivative; a deduction.

Derivation

(mathematics) The operation of deducing one function from another according to a fixed definition, referred to as derivation or differentiation; this is the inverse operation to integration.

Derivation

(medicine) A drawing of humors or fluids from one part of the body to another, to relieve or lessen a morbid process.

Derivation

A leading or drawing off of water from a stream or source.

Derivation

The act of receiving anything from a source; the act of procuring an effect from a cause, means, or condition, as profits from capital, conclusions or opinions from evidence.
As touching traditional communication, . . . I do not doubt but many of those truths have had the help of that derivation.

Derivation

The act of tracing origin or descent, as in grammar or genealogy; as, the derivation of a word from an Aryan root.

Derivation

The state or method of being derived; the relation of origin when established or asserted.

Derivation

That from which a thing is derived.

Derivation

That which is derived; a derivative; a deduction.
From the Euphrates into an artificial derivation of that river.

Derivation

The operation of deducing one function from another according to some fixed law, called the law of derivation, as the operation of differentiation or of integration.

Derivation

A drawing of humors or fluids from one part of the body to another, to relieve or lessen a morbid process.

Derivation

The formation of a word from its more original or radical elements; also, a statement of the origin and history of a word.

Derivation

The source from which something derives (i.e. comes or issues);
He prefers shoes of Italian derivation

Derivation

(historical linguistics) an explanation of the historical origins of a word or phrase

Derivation

A line of reasoning that shows how a conclusion follows logically from accepted propositions

Derivation

(descriptive linguistics) the process whereby new words are formed from existing words or bases by affixation: `singer' from `sing'; `undo' from `do'

Derivation

Inherited properties shared with others of your bloodline

Derivation

Drawing of fluid or inflammation away from a diseased part of the body

Derivation

Drawing off water from its main channel as for irrigation

Derivation

Creating New Words
Through derivation, 'act' becomes 'action'.

Derivation

Altering Meaning
Derivation changes 'friend' to 'friendly'.

Repeatedly Asked Queries

How does derivation affect word class?

It can change a word's class, like turning a noun into an adjective.

What does affixation mean?

Affixation refers to adding prefixes, suffixes, or infixes to a word.

Is affixation always part of derivation?

Often, but derivation can also involve other processes.

What is derivation?

Derivation is forming new words from existing ones by modifying them.

Can affixation create new meanings?

Yes, it can alter or refine the meaning of a word.

Can derivation change a word's usage?

Yes, it can alter how and where a word is used.

What are examples of affixation?

Adding 'un-' to 'known' or 'ness' to 'happy'.

What's an example of derivation?

Turning 'react' into 'reaction'.

Is affixation limited to English?

No, it's a common linguistic process in many languages.

Does derivation always involve affixes?

Mostly, but it can also include other word-forming methods.

Does affixation include infixes?

Yes, though they're less common in English.

How does affixation affect grammar?

It can change a word's grammatical role or tense.

What's the difference in focus between derivation and affixation?

Derivation focuses on the new word, affixation on the process.

Are derived words always longer than the original?

Not necessarily; some derived forms can be shorter.

Can affixation alter a word's spelling?

Yes, especially with certain prefixes and suffixes.

Can affixation be reversed?

In some cases, like removing 'un-' from 'undo'.

Are all new words a result of derivation?

Many are, but not all new words come from derivation.

Is affixation a form of word evolution?

In a way, as it contributes to linguistic change over time.

Can affixation change a word's pronunciation?

Yes, it often alters the phonetic structure.

Do all languages use derivation?

Most languages have some form of derivation in word formation.

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