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MORPHOLOGY: a type of word formation by analogy. Back-formation occurs when speakers of a language assign a regular derivational structure to a word, although a part of this structure, namely the base, did not previously exist. If this new base becomes a word of the language, it is called a back-formation. EXAMPLE: speakers of English have reinterpreted the root compound baby-sitter as being a synthetic compound, i.e. consisting of the base baby-sit and the suffix -er, and on the basis of this noun they have coined the verb to baby-sit. Another example is self-destruct from self-destruction. In the literature, the existence of back-formation is taken as evidence for a word-based morphology.
LIT. Aronoff, Mark (1978)
Booij, G. (1989)
Marchand, H. (1969)
Scalise, S. (1984)
Spencer, A. (1991)