Word formation/Back-formation

Back-formation, also known as back-derivation, forms new lexemes by means of suffix-like segment extraction. This means that not only suffixes can be deleted from the stem, but also structures that behave alike, as long as the cut is done at a boundary between corresponding morphemes. Taking these two possibilities into account, one may be presented not only with such examples as lecher — to lech, peddler — to peddle, sculptor — to sculpt, but also the lexeme to lase being a derivative of laser where the {-er} segment is a by-product of deconstructing an acronym rather than the agentive/instrumental suffix -er [1]. This type of word formation in English is by far dominated by creating derivatives that belong to the grammatical class of verb [2]. Back-derivation is often an outcome of linguistic productivity based on paradigms — it is safe to make an assumption that pairs edit — editor and exhibit — exhibitor were created in a similar manner by employing strategies speakers of the language know because of their linguistic competence.


  1. Szymanek, Bogdan (1998). Introduction to Morphological Analysis. p. 93. 
  2. Stekauer, Pavol (2000). Rudiments of English Linguistics. p. 109.