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Derivation in Middle English: Regional and Text Type Variation


Gardner, Anne-Christine (2014). Derivation in Middle English: Regional and Text Type Variation. Helsinki: Société Néophilologique.

Abstract

The period between 1150 and 1500 marks a time in which the English lexicon and word formation system underwent significant changes, not least owing to the adoption of numerous Romance borrowings. Focusing on deadjectival and denominal formations, this study traces developments in the frequency and productivity of twelve abstract-noun forming suffixes of Germanic and Romance origin (among them -DOM, -HOOD, -NESS, -SHIP, or -ITY and -ERY) on the basis of selected corpora, including the Linguistic Atlas of Early Middle English, the Middle English Grammar Corpus and the Penn-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Middle English. The implementation of subperiods of 40 and 50 years allows a fine-grained quantitative and qualitative analysis of variation in suffix usage across time, space and text types. A particular focus lies on parallel derivatives such as falsedom, falsehood, falseness, falseship and falsity, i.e. formations which contain the same base but a different suffix. The study reveals that during the period under investigation the suffixes are not differentiated semantically in a systematic manner; rather, the occurrence of a particular suffix can be influenced by stylistic factors such as rhyme or structural parallelism and generally reflects the suffix usage typical of a specific region and/or text type at a particular point in time.
Moving beyond a traditional structuralist framework, this study adopts a diachronic and socio-pragmatic perspective, taking into account recent developments in corpus linguistics and new approaches to the assessment of productivity in word formation.

Abstract

The period between 1150 and 1500 marks a time in which the English lexicon and word formation system underwent significant changes, not least owing to the adoption of numerous Romance borrowings. Focusing on deadjectival and denominal formations, this study traces developments in the frequency and productivity of twelve abstract-noun forming suffixes of Germanic and Romance origin (among them -DOM, -HOOD, -NESS, -SHIP, or -ITY and -ERY) on the basis of selected corpora, including the Linguistic Atlas of Early Middle English, the Middle English Grammar Corpus and the Penn-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Middle English. The implementation of subperiods of 40 and 50 years allows a fine-grained quantitative and qualitative analysis of variation in suffix usage across time, space and text types. A particular focus lies on parallel derivatives such as falsedom, falsehood, falseness, falseship and falsity, i.e. formations which contain the same base but a different suffix. The study reveals that during the period under investigation the suffixes are not differentiated semantically in a systematic manner; rather, the occurrence of a particular suffix can be influenced by stylistic factors such as rhyme or structural parallelism and generally reflects the suffix usage typical of a specific region and/or text type at a particular point in time.
Moving beyond a traditional structuralist framework, this study adopts a diachronic and socio-pragmatic perspective, taking into account recent developments in corpus linguistics and new approaches to the assessment of productivity in word formation.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Monograph
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > English Department
Dewey Decimal Classification:820 English & Old English literatures
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:30 Dec 2014 11:01
Last Modified:06 Apr 2017 21:34
Publisher:Société Néophilologique
Series Name:Mémoires de la Société Néophilologique de Helsinki
Volume:92
Number of Pages:289
ISBN:978-951-9040-48-6
Related URLs:http://www.tiedekirja.fi/detail.php?id=208-441-32912

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