Research Article

Lexical Hybridization in Arabic: The Case of Word Formation with Borrowed Affixes


  • Reima Al-Jarf Full Professor of English and Translation Studies, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


Arabic is a derivational language where words are formed from a root consisting of three or four consonants and a set of vowels that alternate with the root consonants. Different derivational patterns are used to derive agents, patients, nouns of place, time, occupation, appliances, tools, diseases, the diminutive and so on. In addition, Arabic has loan words from ancient, as well as modern languages. Not only has Arabic borrowed lexical items but has also borrowed few foreign affixes. A sample of hybrid lexemes containing the following foreign affixes -abad, aire-, anthropo, -ate , Turkish -dʒi,  -cracy قراطية , -e, ethno-, -eme-,  eine, el, Euro, geo, hydro-, -ic , -ide, ism, -ite, li, -logy, -one, -ous, phobia, -stan, socio-, -taria, -topia combined with Arabic bases was collected and examined to find out the following: (i) The status of borrowed affixes in Arabic and their status within the terminological structure; (ii) their denotative and connotative meanings; (iii) how productive they are; (iv) whether they are used in Standard or Colloquial Arabic; and (v) whether they are permanent or transient. Structural analysis of the corpus showed that specialized hybrid lexemes/compounds are more permanent than those used in political contexts during the Arab Spring or those used in a humorous context which appeared for a short time then disappeared. Specialized hybrid lexemes/compounds are used in Standard Arabic and formal contexts, whereas those used in political and humorous contexts are used in Colloquial Arabic.  The former constitute a small set of lexical hybrids coined by specialists and Arabic language academies, whereas the latter are more prolific as they are created by activists, political analysts, journalists and social media users. Examples of hybrid lexemes/compounds containing borrowed affixes, results of the analysis and recommendations for translation are reported in detail.

Article information


International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation

Volume (Issue)

6 (10)





How to Cite

Al-Jarf, R. (2023). Lexical Hybridization in Arabic: The Case of Word Formation with Borrowed Affixes. International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation, 6(10), 61–70.



Lexical hybridization, lexical hybrids, hybridized lexical items, lexical innovations, word formation processes, foreign affixes, borrowed affixes, Arabic language.