Affixation is commonly defined as the formation of words by adding derivational affixes to stems. Affixation includes prefixation, i.e. forming new words with the help of prefixes, and suffixation, i.e. forming new words with the help of suffixes. Affixation, or derivation, has been productive at every period of development of the English language and it has retained its productivity to this day.
From the etymological point of view suffixes are classified into the same two large groups as words: native and borrowed. Native (or Germanic) suffixes are: -ness, -er, -hood, -dom, -ship, -ful, -less, -ish, -ly, -y, -en, -wards, -th. Borrowed affixes are numerous in the English vocabulary. They are of different origin: 1) Romanic, such as: -tion /-ion, -ment, -ance /-ence, -ее, ess, -ette,-let, -able/-ible, -al, -fy, -age. These were borrowed from Latin and French; 2) Greek, such as: -ist, -ism, -ize, -ite, -ic. Most of borrowed suffixes are international.
According to the part of speech classification suffixes fall into 4 groups: a) noun-forming suffixes: -age, -ance/-ence, -ancy/-ency, -ant/-ent (assistant, student), -dom (wisdom), -er (writer), -ess (actress), -hood, -ing (building), -ion/-tion/-sion/-ation (rebellion, creation, tension, explanation), -ist (novelist), -ment (government), -ness (tenderness), -ship (friendship).
b) adjective-forming suffixes: -able/-ible (laughable, audible), -al (natural), -ic (public), -ical (cubical), -ant/-ent (repentant, present), -ary (secondary), -ate/-ete (accurate, complete), -ian (Arabian), -ish (childish), -ive (active), -ful (useful), -less (useless), -ly (friendly), -ous/-ious (curious), -some (troublesome – беспокойный), -у (rainy).
c) Adverb-forming suffixes: -ly (coldly, firmly), -ward(s) (northward), -wise (likewise – подобно).
d) Verb-forming suffixes: -ate (articulate), -er (twitter – щебетать), -en (shorten), -(i)fy (vivify – оживлять), -ize (apologize), -ish (furnish), etc.
According to the degree of productivity suffixes are commonly classified into living or productive suffixes and dead or unproductive suffixes. Productive suffixes are those which derive new words in Modern English, and unproductive suffixes are those which do not give any new coinages. The following suffixes are the most productive: (N) -er, -ing, -ness, -ism, -ist, -once; (A) -y, -ish, -ed, -able, -less; (Adv.) -ly; (V) -ize, -ate. Non-productive suffixes: (N) -th, -ice, -hood; (A) -ly, -some, -en, -ous, (Adv) -long, (V) -en.
From the etymological point of view, prefixes can be subdivided into native and foreign prefixes.
From the semantic point of view prefixes can be divided into the following groups of prefixes implying:
a) priority: ex-, fore-, pre- (ex-minister, forethought, predawn);
b) negation: in-, un-, dis-, non-, a- (inapt, unkind, disquiet, non-stop, amoral);
c) counteraction, opposition: counter-, contra-, anti- (counterblow, contrabass, antipole);
d) locality: a-, en-, sub-, supra-, sur-, trans-, hypo-, circum-, epi-, under- (abed, encage, sublunагу, supradental, surcoat, transoceanic, hypodermic, circumlocution, epicentre, undersea);
e) reversion: de-, dis-, un- (deform, discontinue, unstick);
f) incompleteness: demi-, hemi-, dys- (demiofficial, hemisphere, dysfunction).