Affix Ordering Generalization

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Affix Ordering Generalization is a generalization over class I and class II affixes which entails that class II affixes can attach to words derived with class I affixes, but not vice versa.


According to Siegel (1974) class I affixes in English such as -ion, -ity, -al and -ive trigger and undergo phonological processes, while class II affixes such as -ness, -less, -ful and -ly do not (e.g. op[ei]que: op[æ]city: op[ei]queness (Trisyllabic Shortening),párent: paréntal: párentless (Stress shift)). Next to these differences it appears that class I affixes cannot appear outside class II affixes (*hopefulity).


Some well-known exceptions to the Affix Ordering Generalization are discussed in Aronoff (1976).

See also

Level Ordering Hypothesis


Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics


  • Allen, M.R. 1978. Morphological Investigations. PhD diss. Univ. of Connecticut.
  • Aronoff, M. 1976. Word Formation in Generative Grammar. MIT-press, Cambridge, Mass.
  • Chomsky, Noam A. & Halle, Morris. 1968. The sound pattern of English. New York: Harper & Row.
  • Halle, M. & K.P. Mohanan. 1985. Segmental phonology of Modern English. Linguistic Inquiry 16, 57-116.
  • Siegel, D. 1974. Topics in English Morphology. PhD diss. MIT, Cambridge, Mass.
  • Sproat, R. 1985. On Deriving the Lexicon. PhD diss. MIT.