Word formation/Internal modification

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Internal modification occurs when a phoneme (or a group of phonemes) in a word is replaced by another one and thus creates a new item. Although the process itself is not very productive in English [1], a variety of changes can be introduced with it, like word-class change or tense change. There are several possibilities of swapping the phonological segments — these include replacing vowels, consonants or both the same time (mixed modifications). Replacing all the sound segments result in a phenomenon called suppletion, eg. człowiek (sg.) — ludzie (pl.). In English it is common to observe internal modification in the past verb forms (wind — wound, steal — stole, make — made) and in irregular plural forms of nouns (mouse — mice, woman — women, foot — feet). In contrast, the Polish language makes use of internal modification in creating augmentatives: nos — nochal, kluska — klucha.


  1. Szymanek, Bogdan (1998). Introduction to Morphological Analysis. p. 76.