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Number of affixes in English?

asked 2015-05-10 04:26:15 -0400

anonymous user


Dear Linguist List members,

Can anybody provide an approximate number of a) prefixes b) suffixes and c) infixes for English?

It would be nice to have an approximate estimate of how many derivational word-form are there in English.

Thank you

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answered 2015-05-23 12:33:49 -0400

usagi5886 gravatar image

updated 2015-05-24 15:48:47 -0400

Infixes are certainly the fewest in number. The Wikipedia article on Infixes mentions 6 or 7, and even that's a generous estimate. (Some linguists would argue that English has no true infixes.)

Prefixes are intermediate in number. The Wikipedia page on English prefixes lists 34 native prefixes, 96 Neo-Classical prefixes, and 3 archaic prefixes, for a grand total of 133.

Suffixes are by far the most numerous. Wiktionary's list of English words categorized by suffix has around 680. words_ by_ suffix

(To get around a bug in the code of this site, I had to add a couple spaces in this URL next to the underscores. Just delete them when you copy-and-paste this into your browser address bar.)

A complete answer to your question would require first setting up good, clear definitions of what will be included and what will be excluded from each of these 3 lists, and then to comb through the literature for more reputable sources than Wikipedia. However, as a first approximation to an answer to your question, hopefully these figures will suffice.

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Thank you. Good starting point.

jarry gravatar imagejarry ( 2015-05-25 04:27:20 -0400 )edit
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Asked: 2015-05-10 04:26:15 -0400

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Last updated: May 24 '15