Morphological structure of nouns
According to their morphological structure nouns may be classified as 1) simple, 2) derivative, 3) compound.
Simple nouns are structurally simple in the sense that they are devoid of affixes — prefixes and suffixes and have only a root-stem. In other words they cannot be further
segmented: book, pen, bird, shirt, ‘lamp, house, system, work, etc.
Derivative nouns derive from the root-stem of words which may belong to various parts of speech — nouns, adjectives, verbs. They are formed mainly with the help of numerous suffixes: writer, warmth, linguist, systematization. kingdom, childhood and so on. A great number of derivative nouns may contain prefixes which are traceable to verbs or adjectives and thus are typically verbal or adjectival prefixes, disagreement < disagree < agree, misunderstanding < misunderstand < understand, irres¬ponsibility < irresponsible < responsible, impatience < impatient < patient. The suffixes used in the noun-formation may be productive, i.e. most widely and regularly recurrent, and non-productive one that are characteristic of a limited number of words. The most productive nounal suffix is -er (with its -or variant) which may theoretically be added to any verbal stem: doer, cleaner, gardener, singer, worker, conductor, inventor, distributor, etc. Other productive suffixes of nouns are: -ness: blackness, dullness, uselessness; -ist: linguist, economist, typist; -ism: nationalism, capitalism, dualism; -ion/-ation/-ition: collection, creation, dictation, per¬suasion, division/aspiration, consideration, recommenda-tion/acqisition. repetition, disposition. The non-productive noun-forming suffixes are: -ess: actress, heiress, waitress, lioness, tigress: -ian: mathematician, historian, librarian; -ure: picture, literature, nature, temperature; -ant: assistant, attendant; -ful: handful, spoonful; -ie/-y: birdie, daddy, Jimmy; -dom: boredom, freedom, kingdom: -hood: childhood, brotherhood, motherhood: -ship: friendship, relationship; -ance/-ence: resistance, importance/decadence, de¬pendence, difference; -ment: agreement, announcement, statement; -y/-ry: biology, geography, anatomy/chemistry, psy¬chiatry; -s: economics, linguistics, physics; -ty/-ity: cruelty, difficulty/generosity, majority, visi¬bility; -th: length, strength, warmth. Some prefixes rather typical of verbs or, more fre¬quently of adjectives, especially negative ones, can still be found in nouns. They are as follows: anti-: anticlimax, antimatter: со-: coauthor; copilot, coeducation; dis-: disagreement, disjuncture, disarmament: ex-: ex-wife, ex-minister, ex-president; il-: illegality, illiberality, illiteracy; in-: indecency, incompatibility, indecorousness; im-: impracticality, impregnability, impropriety; ir-: irresponsibility, irresolution, irritability; mis-: misunderstanding, misfortune, miscalculation, misuse; поп-: non-smoker, non-event, non-story, non-cha¬racter; un-: unpleasantness, unreality, unruliness. Compound nouns may be of 2 types. Nouns of the first type are made up of two or more stems — nounal, adjectival, verbal, adverbial, prepositional — which are brought together in an arbitrary way and spelt either as one word or with a hyphen. Here are the subtypes of them: a) nounal stem + nounal stem: manservant, bath¬room, roommate; b) nounal stem + prepositional stem + nounal stem: brother-in-law, grant-in-aid, man-of-war, commander-in-chief; c) nounal stem + adverbial stem: looker-on, passer¬by, hanger-on; d) pronounal stem + nounal stem: he-goat, she-goat, he-bear, she-bear; e) adjectival stem + nounal stem: blackbird, small¬pox, tenderloin; f) adjectival stem + adverbial stem: close-up, grown¬up, low-down; g) adjectival stem + verbal stem + adverbial stem: merry-go -round; h) adverbial stem + nounal stem: by-stander, by¬product, overcoat, overspill; i) adverbial stem + adjectival stem: bygone, overall, overpowering; j) adverbial stem + verbal stem: outlook, offshoot, overlap; k) verbal stem + pronounal stem + adverbial stem: forget-me-not, I) verbal stem + adverbial stem: sit-in, take-off, feedback, look-out; m) participial stem + nounal stem: swimming-pool, dining-room, reading-hall. Nouns of the second type called unstable compound (нестойкое сложное слово) consist of the two separate nouns and function in speech as a complex equivalent of one word: stone wall, life span, college courses, surface differences, etc. The first element of the unstable com¬pound describes the second one and therefore is pro-sodically brought out by stress. Not infrequently unstable compounds are equivalent to and used on a par with the corresponding attributive word-combinations: language change — linguistic change, grammar rules — rules of grammar, grammatical rules, speech sounds — sounds of speech, language origin — origin of language. Sometimes the first element of unstable compounds may be complex itself: phrase-structure rules, second-lan¬guage learning and so on.