The morphological productivity of selected ... - Helda - Helsinki.fi

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The morphological productivity of selected ... - Helda - Helsinki.fi

Section three discusses the method and the data chosen for the

present study, as well as potential problems that might turn up in the research

process. Important questions include the reliability of corpus evidence, as well as

the principles on which the units of analysis are determined. Section four presents

the results, which are then analysed and discussed in the fifth section. Section six

provides a brief summary of the most important findings of the thesis and

suggests some ideas for possible future studies.

2. Background

2.1. Word-formation

2.1.1. Basic concepts of word-formation

The concept of word is, in spite of its apparent simplicity, rather problematic in

linguistics. The notions of lexeme and word-form have proved much more useful

in the study of morphology. Haspelmath defines lexemes, or dictionary words, as

abstract entities that consist of several word-forms. Word-forms, or text words, on

the other hand, are the concrete realizations of a lexeme that can be pronounced

and used in texts (2002: 13). Plag uses the terms inflection and derivation to

distinguish between word-forms and lexemes: according to him, word-forms are

created with inflectional suffixes, while new lexemes are produced by derivational

affixes (2003: 14; see also Kastovsky 2001: 218). Since lexemes consist of several

word-forms, it is necessary to have a specific citation form, under which the

lexical entry is listed in dictionaries (Haspelmath 2002:

14).

From the point of view of morphological productivity, another

central distinction in morphology, the one between possible (or potential) words

and actual words, is also relevant. Plag defines possible words as words whose

structure follows the rules of the language. Actual words, on the other hand, are in

use in the language, although it is not clear how “in use” should be defined

(whether it be in the vocabulary of an individual speaker, or in a dictionary) (Plag

1999: 7). Plag writes that the usefulness of the possible-actual dichotomy has been

4

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