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Idiosyncrasy, Regularity, and Synonymy in Derivational Morphology: Evidence for Default Word Interpretation Strategies

  • Perhaps the biggest challenge in derivational morphology is to reconcile morphological idiosyncrasy with semantic regularity. How can it be explained that words with dead affixes and irregulär allomorphy can nonetheless exhibit straightforward and stable semantic relations to their etymological bases (cf. strength ‘property of being strong’, obedience ‘act of obeying’, ‘property of being obedient’)? Theories based on the idea of capturing regularity in terms of synthetic rules for building up complex words out of morphemes along with rules for interpreting such structures in a compositional fashion have not made - and arguably cannot make - sense of this phenomenon. Taking the perspective of the learner in acquisition, I propose an alternative approach to meaning assignment based, not on syntagmatic relations among their constituent morphemes, but on paradigmatic relations between whole words. This approach not only explains the conditions under which meaning relations between words are expected to be stable but also accounts for another notorious mystery in derivational morphology, the frequent occurrence of total synonymy among affixes, as opposed to words.

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Author:Renate Raffelsiefen
Parent Title (English):New Impulses in Word-Formation
Series (Serial Number):Linguistische Berichte - Sonderhefte (17)
Place of publication:Hamburg
Editor:Susan Olsen
Document Type:Part of a Book
Year of first Publication:2010
Date of Publication (online):2016/05/30
GND Keyword:Ableitung <Linguistik>; Morphologie <Linguistik>; Semantik; Synonym; Wortbildung
First Page:173
Last Page:232
DDC classes:400 Sprache / 410 Linguistik
Open Access?:ja
Leibniz-Classification:Sprache, Linguistik
Licence (German):License LogoUrheberrechtlich geschützt