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 Ling 131: Language & Style

Topic 2 (session A) - Being creative with words and phrases > Changing word class - functional conversion

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Session Overview
(Semi) Automatic poetry
Introducing word classes
More on word classes
Manipulating word classes
Changing word class - affixation
Changing word class - functional conversion
New words for old
Word class problems
Word class checklist
Useful Links
Grammar Website

Word class changes without affixation - functional conversion

'Functional conversion' is usually used to describe the situation where a change in word class is not as a result of affixation, and is only signalled by its overall grammatical context, as in:

smiling toothbrushI decided to toothbrush my way into the bathroom.

Here 'toothbrush' is used not as a noun but as a verb, and it suggests the image of someone trying to enter the bathroom while brushing his or her teeth, probably at the expense of someone else who is already in the bathroom or about to go into it.

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