The morphological productivity of selected ... - Helda -

The morphological productivity of selected ... - Helda -

combining forms, as opposed to modern combining forms (see Prćić 2005, 2007,

2008). The initial combining forms studied are hyper-, quasi-, and pseudo-, and

the final combining forms are -logy, -graphy, and -nomy. The study applies corpus

methods, and the data comes from the written part of the British National Corpus

(henceforth the BNC). My hypothesis is that the initial combining forms will

prove more productive and that they will combine more easily with native bases,

one of the reasons being that prefixes in general are often more lexeme-like than

suffixes, the latter often being used to convey grammatical information.

The main goal of this study is to clarify the status of combining

forms in the English word-formation system and to provide information on their

productivity. As for methodology, I will mainly rely on previous approaches that

have been widely tested in several studies. I will apply several indicators to assess

the morphological productivity of the selected combining forms. The first one is

the measure called productivity in the strict sense P (also called potential

productivity), developed by Baayen and his collaborators (see Baayen and Lieber

1991 in particular). In addition, two measures from lexical statistics, vocabulary

growth curves and frequency spectra, are employed. An open source statistics

software package, R, is used to obtain information on the selected combining


Section two provides the reader with the theoretical background

relevant for this study, defining and discussing the basic concepts related to

English word-formation. The category of combining forms is introduced, as well

as that of neoclassical compounds. The status of combining forms as a part of the

English word-formation system is of great relevance here, and it is therefore

thoroughly discussed. A brief history of diachronic approaches to the study of

affixation is also introduced. The notion of morphological productivity and the

theories attempting to describe it are also discussed, as well as the various

constraints that affect the application of various word-formation processes. In

addition, the basic theoretical background for lexical statistics and LNRE

modelling are introduced. Psycholinguistic approaches to productivity are also

discussed, since they have proved to capture an important aspect of the nature of

productivity. Furthermore, many quantitative measures of productivity are also

psycholinguistically motivated.


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