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We all know that English is used in the world as the global language
today. It has been used in all spheres of public activity. Perceiving its
importance I have chosen English as my second language. The fact that
the language is widely spoken all around the world draws the attention of
many linguists, to become fluent in which the language now is one of the
essential demands of most English learner. However, it is not easy to
achieve this because the language can sometimes cause them a lot of
troubles with its grammar, structures, vocabularies, and pronunciation . I
think that English vocabulary is one of great importance and that one
does not know much of it, he cannot use English to communicate easily.
Realizing and thinking highly of the importance of English vocabulary, I
decided to pick it out for the study of my graduation paper. However, due
to the limitation of time and knowledge, I will just spend time
concentrating on the study of an issue of English vocabulary called
“English words formed by conversion relating to the names of
animals”.

a_study_on_english_words_formed_by_conversion_relating_to

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BỘ GIÁO DỤC VÀ ĐÀO TẠO
TRƯỜNG ĐẠI HỌC DÂN LẬP HẢI PHÒNG
——————————-
ISO 9001 : 2008
KHÓA LUẬN TỐT NGHIỆP
NGÀNH: NGOẠI NGỮ
HẢI PHÒNG – 2010
HAIPHONG PRIVATE UNIVESITY
FOREIGN LANGUAGES DEPARTMENT
———————————–
GRADUATION PAPER
A STUDY ON ENGLISH WORDS FORMED BY
CONVERSION RELATING TO THE NAMES OF
ANIMALS
By:
Ngô Thị Quỳnh Anh
Class:
NA1001
Supervisor:
Nguyễn Thị Yến Thoa, M.A
ACKNOWLEGEMENT
On the completion of this study, I wish to express my special thanks to
many of my teacher, my family and friends from whom I have received
a great deal of assistance, guidance and encouragement.
First of all, I wish to send my sincere thanks to my supervisor Mrs.
Nguyen Thi Yen Thoa for her valuable guidance, helpful suggestions
and critical feedback throughout the research.
Also, I would like to acknowledge my gratitude to all the lecturers in
my the Department of English, Hai phong Private University for their
useful lessons from which I have benefited a lot for the accomplishment
of this study.
Last but not least, I would like express my special thanks to my loving
family, and my closed friends who offered me their love, care, support
and encouragement so that I could accomplish my study.
Hai phong, June 2010
Ngo Thi Quynh anh
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Part one: INTRODUCTION
1. Rationale
2. Aims of the study
3. Methods of the study
4. Scope of the study
5. Design of the study
Part two: DEVELOPMENT
Chapter one: THEOTICAL BACKGROUND
I.1. What is conversion.
I.2. Characteristic of features
I.2.1. Morphologically
I.2.2. Syntactically
I.3. Common conversions.
I.3.1. Phenomena of conversion
I.3.2. Common nouns used to make verbs by conversion
I.4. Classification of conversion
I.4.1.Traditional and occasional conversion
I.4.2. Partial conversion
I.4.3. Substantiation
Chapter two: WORDS FORMED BY CONVERSION RELATING
TO THE NAMES OF ANIMALS.
1. Domestic animals
1.1. Dog (noun) -> dog (verb)
1.2. Fish (noun) -> fish (verb)
1.3. Rabbit (noun) -> rabbit (verb)
II.1.4. Parrot (noun) -> parrot (verb)
II.1.5. Bitch (noun) -> bitch (noun)
II.1.6. Hound (noun) -> hound (verb)
II.2. Farm animals
II.2.1. Pig (noun) -> pig (verb)
II.2.2. Duck (noun) -> duck (verb)
II.2.3. Cow (noun) -> cow (verb)
II.2.4. Chicken (noun) -> chicken (verb, adjective)
II.2.5. Ram (noun) -> ram (verb)
II.3.Wild animals
III.3.1. Snake (noun) -> snake (verb)
III.3.2. Monkey (noun) -> monkey (verb)
III.3.3. Wolf (noun) -> wolf (verb)
III.3.4. Beaver (noun) -> beaver (verb)
III.3.5. Hare (noun) -> hare (verb)
III.3.6. Swan (noun) -> swan (verb)
III.3.7. Worm (noun) -> worm (verb)
III.3.8. Rat (noun) -> rat (verb)
Chapter three: IMPLICATION
SOME DIFFICULTIES IN LEARNING THE FUNCTIONS OF
WORDS FORMED BY CONVERSION RELATING TO THE
NAMES OF ANIMALS AND SUGGESTD WAYS OF AVOIDING
THESE DIFFICULTIES
III.1. Some difficulties in realizing meaning of words formed by
conversion relating to names of animals in English.
III.2. Suggested solution.
III.3. Suggested ways of overcoming these mistakes
III.3.1. Watching original English films and reading authentic
materials.
Part three: Conclusion
1. Summary
2. Suggestions for further study.
Conference
PART ONE: INTRODUCTION
1. Rationale
We all know that English is used in the world as the global language
today. It has been used in all spheres of public activity. Perceiving its
importance I have chosen English as my second language. The fact that
the language is widely spoken all around the world draws the attention of
many linguists, to become fluent in which the language now is one of the
essential demands of most English learner. However, it is not easy to
achieve this because the language can sometimes cause them a lot of
troubles with its grammar, structures, vocabularies, and pronunciation. I
think that English vocabulary is one of great importance and that one
does not know much of it, he cannot use English to communicate easily.
Realizing and thinking highly of the importance of English vocabulary, I
decided to pick it out for the study of my graduation paper. However, due
to the limitation of time and knowledge, I will just spend time
concentrating on the study of an issue of English vocabulary called
“English words formed by conversion relating to the names of
animals”.
I hope that it will become useful for those who study English vocabulary
in general and functions of conversion in word formation relating to
names of animals in English in particular.
2. Aims of the study
This study is conducted to help readers understand the words formed by
conversion relating to names of animals more clearly. With this trend, the
study will serve two purposes:
 To present a certain understanding about the functions of
conversion in word formation relating to names of animals that students
need to be familiar with receptively and productively to be able to speak
and write in English effectively.
 To be reference for anyone concerned with this theme
3. Methods of the study
In order to achieve the mentioned aims, the writer has used the collecting
and analyzing methods in this study.
Firstly, collecting method is used to find out all the syntactic functions of
conversion in word formation relating to the names of animals form
variety of books and valuable resource such as magazines, the internet,
ect.
Secondly, examples are used to illustrate given information which are
extracted from a variety of textbooks and resources.
In addition, an in-deep analysis is made into the functions of conversion
in word formation relating to the names of animals to figure out
distinctive features that may challenge the learner.
4. Scope of the study
The functions of conversion in word formation are a quite narrow aspect.
However, because of the limitation of time, knowledge and experience, I
cannot concern all functions of conversion. There for, in this study, I
have focused mainly functions of conversion in word formation relating
to the some typical names of animals.
5. Design of the study
With the purpose of creating an easy-understanding research, this
graduation paper is devided into three parts:
 Part one is introduction of the paper in which the rationale, the aims
of the study, the methods of the study, the scope of the study and the
design of the study are introduced.
 Part two, the development, is devided into three chapters. Chapter I
give some theoretical background of conversions. Chapter II is designed
to provide the knowledge about words formed by conversion relating to
names of animals. Chapter III is about some difficulties probably made
by Vietnamese learners in learning the word formed by conversion
relating to names of animals and suggested ways avoiding these
mistakes.
 Part three, the conclusion, summaries the main points mentioned in
the previous parts.
Part two: Development
Chapter I: Theoretical background
I.1. What is conversion:
As the society develops, as life becomes more complex, people need more
and more new words to name new things and to indicate new ideas. Some
of these are applied by foreign languages but most of them are homemade.
People use the words that they have to help make the new words that they
need. This process is called word-formation and one of types of word-
formation is conversion. There are a lot of different definitions of
conversion from linguists.
Conversion may be defined as a process by which a word belonging to
another word class is transferred to another word class without any
committable change of form, either in pronunciation or spelling. It is a
highly proliferous source for the production of new words since there is
no restriction on the form that can undergo conversion in English. In fact,
this word- formation process occurs so regularly that may scholars prefer
to consider it a matter of syntactic usage rather than as word formation
(See Bauer 1993:227). Pyles and Alger (1993:281) use the term
“functional ship” to refer the same process and to highlight the fact that in
such cases, words: converted from one grammatical function to another
without any change form.
“Conversion is the derivational process whereby an item changes its word
class without the addition of an affix”
(Quirk, Randolph and Green Baum; 1987:441)
Conversion is generally considered to be a derivational process whereby
an item is adapted or converted to a new word class without the addition
of an affix. Take “single” and “simple” for example. Both are adjectives,
but “single” can be used as a verb without changing the form, e.g.: “The
singled him out at one as possible victim”. In contrast, simple cannot
function as a verb without adding an affix. E.g. “Continental quilts
simplify (not simple) bed-making”. The first instance is a case of
conversion whereas the second is one of suffixation as suffix – ify is
added to make “simple” a verb. Look at the word round in the following
sentences:
E.g. He was knocked out in the thirst round.
(noun)
We rounded the corner at high speech.
(verb)
The earth moves round the sun.
(proposition)
The moon is bright and round tonight.
(adjective)
Spring will soon come round again.
(adverb)
(English – Vietnamese; 2007:1777)
In each sentence, “round” is used as different part of speech: noun, verb,
proposition, adjective and adverb. However, their meaning also relate to
the meaning “round”. The words “round” were derived by conversion.
“Conversion is the formation of new word in different part of speech
without adding any element”.
(Hoang Tat Truong; 1993:43)
The new word has new meaning which differs from that of the original
one through it can more or less be easily associated with it. It has also a
new paradigm peculiar to its new category as a part of speech. Therefore,
the term “functional shift” is used to refer to the same process and to
highlight the fact that in such cases words are converted from one
grammatical function to another without any change inform.
E.g. Party (noun) -> party (verb)
I‟m giving a party next Saturday night.
(noun)
They like to party.
(verb)
(English – Vietnamese dictionary; 2007:1777)
The verb “party” was derived from the noun “party”. Its meaning relates
to the meaning of the noun “party”. Thus, it expresses the action “to take
part in the party”.
E.g. Must (verb) -> must (noun)
When you enter the building, you must show the guard your pass.
(verb)
His new novel is a must for all lovers of crime fiction.
(noun)
(English – Vietnamese dictionary; 2007:1339)
These “must” in above sentences are different part of speech. However,
these meaning are relating to each other. The noun “must” was formed
from the verb “must” with the meaning “it is necessary to do something”.
Conversion is the formation of new words by another class. This is a
method of turning words of one part of speech to those of different part of
speech. These words are new only in a grammatical sense. Since, the
words do not change in morphological structure but in function, this
process is also known as functional ship.
In linguistics, conversion is also called zero derivation, is a kind of word
formation, specifically, it is the creation of a word from an existing word
without any change in form. Conversion is more productive in some
languages than in others. In English it is a fairly productive process often
a word of one lexical category (part of speech) is converted to a word of
another lexical category, for example, the noun “green in gift” (referring
to a putting- green) is derived ultimately from are both very common and
unknowable in English; much more remarked upon is verb, the creation of
a verb by converting a noun or other word (e.g. the adjective clean
become the verb to clean).
The boundary between conversion and functional ship (the extension of an
existing word to take on a new syntactic functional ship) is not well
defined.
Conversion may involve a change within the same word class as in change
from one type of noun to another or one type of verb to another. For
example: The use of uncountable nouns is as countable and vice-versa.
Thus, in “Some beer/coffee/ sugar/ tea” the nouns are uncountable
whereas in “two beers/ coffees/ sugars/ teas” the nouns are countable.
E.g.: Lecture (n) -> to lecture (v),
Hand (n) -> to hand (v),
Up (n) -> to up (v)
To drop out (v) -> a drop out (n)
To go (v) -> a go (n)
A general rule, if the context is carefully chosen, it is possible to use
almost noun in either way. Even proper names can be easily used as
common noun as in “which Hilary do you?” Similarly, intransitive verbs
are often used as transitive verbs. Compare for instance the members of
the following pair.
E.g. How long can a pigeon fly non-stop?
(intransitive verb)
Can this little boy fly a kite?
(transitive verb)
(Howard Jackson, 2000:74)
The first is intransitive and the second is transitive. The verb “fly” is
intransitive verb. Pigeon is so a kind of bird that it can fly. But, people
used the intransitive verb “fly” as a transitive verb. Because a kite cannot
fly by itself. The transitive verb “fly” was formed by conversion with the
meaning “to move in the air”.
Including, conversion is a highly prolific source for the production of new
words, since there is no restriction on the form that can undergo
conversion in English. In fact, this word formation process occurs so
regularly that many scholars prefer to consider it a matter of syntactic
usage rather than as word formation.
I.2. Characteristic features
The new words formed by conversion are different from the old words:
morphologically, syntactically and semantically.
I.2.1. Morphologically
The new word with the new part of speech has the new inflectional
paradigm. A word may have much morphology depending on the subject,
the tense, the number
There are not morphological restrictions. Up to date, there has only been
found one restriction: derived nouns rarely undergo conversion
(particularly not to verbs) (Bauer, 1983: 226). This exception is easily
understood: if there already exists one word in the language, the creation
of a new term for this same concept will be blocked for the economy
language.
E.g.
The noun “denial” will never shift into a verb because this word already
derives from the verb “deny”. In that case, the conversion is blocked
because “to deny” and “to denial” would mean exactly the same.
However, there are some special cases in which this process seems to
happen without blocking. This can be exemplified in the noun “sign”
The noun “sign” is converted into the verb “to sign” changed by
derivation (suffixation) into the noun “signal” and converted into a new
verb “to signal”. In this case, there is no blocking because these words
have slight semantic different (Bauer, 1983:226-227).
I.2.2. Syntactically
The new word has new part of speech or new function. In terms of
characteristics, it is easy to realize that a word formed from conversion
have many function in sentence.
E.g. Doctor (noun): He is a doctor.
(subject complement)
Doctor (verb): She doctors many patients a day.
(predicate)
The functions of the words “doctor” are different. The verb “doctor” was
derived and has function as a predicate. There is a change part of speech
from a noun to a verb and function from a subject complement to a
predicate. It is conversion.
I.2.3. Semantically
The new word has the new meaning. It must be pointed out that the
process of conversion has some limitations: a converted word any
assumes one of the ranges of meanings of the original word.
E.g.
– The noun “nurse”: has the meaning “a person who looks
after the patients”.
– The verb “nurse”: means to look after.
The demonian verb, though, only contains the sense of putting that
material on places like walls. This shows the converted item has only
converted part of the semantic field of the source item.
I.3. Common conversions
I.3.1. Phenomena of conversion
Conversion most often involves a change from one word class to another.
The major kinds of conversion are noun ->verb, verb->noun, adjective
noun, and adjective -> verb
a) Conversion from noun to verb:
Verb converted from nouns are semantically relate to the original
nouns in a variety of ways. Quirk et al sum up as follows.
 To pocket noun – to put noun into the pocket.
To can the fruit – to put the fruit into cans.
To bottle, to commission, to data-bank, to network (to put
something in/on)
 To give noun/ to provide with noun
To shelter the refugees- to give shelter to the refugees
To oil the machine – to provide the machine with oil.
Butter, fuel, graces, arm, finance, coat.
 To remove from nouns from
To skin the lamb-to remove the skin from the lamb
To juice the oranges –to remove the juice from the oranges
Coke, peel, feather, gut.
 To do with nouns
To pumps water –to bring water with a pump.
To knife the steak –to cut the steak with a knife
Rake, fiddle, finger, hammer, shoulder, glue
 To be/act as nouns
To nurse the baby –to be the nurse the baby
Father, parrot, pilot, referee, tutor
 To make/change into nouns
To cash the cheque – to change the cheque into cash.
To orphan the boy –to make the boy an orphan.
Cripple, fool, knight, window.
 To send/go by nouns
To mail the letter –to send the letter by mail.
To bicycle –to go by bicycle.
Helicopter, ship, telegraph, boat, motor.
Verb of this type are all transitive except (7). Helicopter, ship,
telegraph, boat, motor look at the actual use of nouns as verbs.
E.g. I cannot stomach seafood.
(LACVIET mtd2002 – EVA)
He helmeted at the change and then he regretted for it.
(LACVIET mtd2002 – EVA)
He‟s rooming with my friend Alan.
(English- Vietnamese dictionary; 2007:1772)
From noun “stomach, helmet, room”, the verb “stomach, helmet,
room” were formed. Their functions in these sentences were
change by conversion.
b) Conversion from adjective to verb
Conversion of adjective into verbs is not as productive as those nouns.
These verbs thus converted are semantically simple, that is, they can be
used either transitively to mean “to make adjective” or transitively
“to become adjective”
Most verbs converted from adjective have both transitive and intransitive
functions.
Here are some more words: dim, dirty, warm, cool, show, clear, dry and
narrow. Verb restricted to transitive use are still, foreword, free, bare, blind
and so on. Those limited to intransitive use are by fewer like sour, slim.
 To make more adjective
to be calm – to make somebody calm
to be slim – to make somebody slim.
E.g. He walked carefully so as not to wet his shoes.
(LACVIET mtd2002 – EVA)
In this example, “wet” is used as a transitive verb meaning “make
wet”, so the sentence can be paraphrased as “the walked carefully so as
not to make his shoes wet”.
 To become adjective
to be dry – to become dry
to be empty – to become empty
E.g. The manuscript had yellowed with age.
(LACVIET mtd2002 – EVA)
The verb “yellow” in this example does not take an object, obviously a
transitive use meaning “become yellow with age”. Most verbs
converted from adjectives have both transitive and intransitive
functions.
E.g. Two men carrying a wooden key emptied i

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