Derivational Morphology


Derivational morphology is a word formation processes where affixes are added to an existing word, in order to change a word’s meaning. In the case of derivational morphology, the meaning of the word changes and does not indicate grammatical functions (as is the case for inflectional morphology).

For example, in English, the root “run” can have its meaning changed through the addition of suffixes, such as -ing and -er. This creates new words with new meanings, such as running and runner, respectively.


  • Secwepemectsín: Gibson (1973) proves examples of derivational affixes, such as the infix -ʔ-, meaning “impermanence, instability, or fluctuation” (p. 30). From the following examples, it can be seen that when the infix is added to the root, the root meaning changes. The infix of interest is bolded in the following examples.
    • qwéct ‘is warm‘ –> qwəʔéc ‘being warm
    • wíst ‘is high‘ –> ʔuʔís ‘being high