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The facts are a bit more complex that that, though. For one thing, the related adjective may not always be just what we would get by putting the two pieces together. For instance, navigate yields navigable, formulate yields formulable, etc. These are instances of truncation , where a part of the base is removed as an aspect of the word formation process.

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These patterns show us that the derivational whole may be more than the simple sum of its parts. This suggests that derivational patterns have a sort of independent existence: they can serve as at least partial motivation for the shape and sense of a given lexeme, even in the absence of the possibility of deriving that lexeme from some other existing lexeme.

We may also notice that some —able forms do not mean precisely what we might predict. This shows us that even though these words may originally arise through the invocation of derivational patterns, the results are in fact full-fledged words of the language; and as such, they can undergo semantic change independent of the words form which they were derived.

This is the same phenomenon we see when the word transmission , originally referring to the act or process of transmitting e. When a word in either class is used in the other, the result is to bring out the additional meaning associated with the class, but there is no inherent directionality to this relationship.

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The possibility of back formation discussed above suggests that this interpretation of derivational relationships as fundamentally symmetrical may be applicable even to cases where the formal direction of derivation seems obvious. The other variety of word formation, compounding, seems fairly straightforward, even if the actual facts can be quite complex at times. Compounds are built of two or more independent words, and have at least in their original form a meaning that involves those of their components.

Thus, a catfish is a kind of fish sharing some property with a cat in this case, the whiskers. Like derived forms, compounds are independent lexemes in their own right, and as such quickly take on specialized meanings that are not transparently derived from those of their parts. Traditional grammar provides a variety of names for different types of such exo-centric compounds, some deriving from the Sanskrit grammatical tradition in which these were of particular interest.

In some languages, the decision as to which compounds are endocentric and which are not depends on the importance we give to different possible criteria. Semantically, blauhemd is exocentric; while grammatically, it could be regarded as endocentric with its head on the right.

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Languages can vary quite a bit in the kinds of compound patterns they employ. Thus, English compounds of a verb and its object like scarecrow are rather rare and unproductive, while this constitutes a basic and quite general pattern in French and other Romance languages. English and German tend to have the head, when there is one, on the right dollhouse , while Italian and other romance languages more often have the head on the left e.

Even more striking examples occur in other languages. While English erythro etc are always prefixes, in the Mandarin cases, the roots in question occur in both head and non-head position, and are therefore like normal compound components in every respect except that they are not free forms.

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It appears that the very definition of compounding need more thought than was initially evident. To this point, we have talked of morphological relationships as existing between whole lexemes in the case of word formation , or between word forms in the case of inflection. Much of the tradition of thought about morphology, however, regards these matters in a somewhat different light. We saw at the beginning of this article that the model of the Saussurean sign as the minimal unit where sound and meaning are connected could not serve as a description of the word, since it is often the case that proper parts of words display their own connection between sound and meaning.

It was this observation, in fact, that led us to explore the varieties of morphology displayed in natural language. But many have felt that the proper place for the sign relation is not the word, but rather a constituent part of words: the morpheme. On that picture, morphology is the study of these units, the morphemes: how they may vary in shape the allomorphy they exhibit and how they can be combined morphotactics.

The notion that words can be regarded as exhaustively composed of smaller sign-like units, or morphemes, is extremely appealing It leads to a simple an uniform theory of morphology, one based on elementary units that can be regarded as making up a sort of lexicon at a finer level of granularity than that of words. Nonetheless, it seems that this picture of word structure as based on a uniform relation of morpheme concatenation is literally too good to be true.

If morphemes are to serve the purpose for which they were intended, they ought to have some rather specific properties. It ought to be possible, for any given word, to divide its meaning into some small number of sub-parts, to divide its form into a corresponding number of continuous sub-strings of phonetic material, and then to establish a correspondence between the parts of meaning and the parts of form. Of course, it is possible to do exactly that in a great many cases e.

Inflection and Word Formation in Romance Languages

But in many other instances, such a division of the form is much more laboured or even impossible. One fairly minor problem is posed by parts of the form that are not continuous. When we analyze words containing circumfixes e. Other cases are more serious. When we look beyond the simple cases, it appears that the relation between form and meaning in the general case is not one-to-one at the level of the morpheme, but rather many-to-many. In fact, it seems that even though both the forms and the meanings of words can be divided into components, the relation is still best regarded as holding at the level of the entire word, rather than localized exclusively in the morpheme.

We have also seen support for this notion in the fact that entire words, presumably composed of multiple morphemes, develop idiosyncratic aspects of meaning that cannot be attributed to any of their component morphemes individually e.

Inflection and Word Formation in Romance Languages

On this basis, many linguists have come to believe that morphological relations are based on the word rather than the morpheme. Actually, we need to take into account the fact that in highly inflected languages like Latin or Sanskrit, no existing surface word form may supply just the level of detail we need, since all such words have specific inflectional material added.

For such a case, we need to say that it is stems full words minus any inflectional affixation that serve as the basis of morphological generalizations, in the sense of representing the phonological component of a lexeme. A further difficulty for the notion that morphemes are the basis of all morphology comes from the fact that in many cases, some of the information carried by the form of a word is represented in a way that does not lend itself to segmentation.

One large group of examples of this sort is supplied by instances in which it is the replacement of one part of the form by another, rather than the addition of a new piece, that carries meaning. Terms for these relations often refer to their historical origins and do not reflect any particularly natural category in the modern language e. Of course, the simplest and most straightforward instance of such a process is one that adds material to the form a prefix at the beginning, a suffix at the end, or an infix within the basic stem , but this is only one of the formal relations we find in the morphologies of natural languages.

Others include changes, permutations, deletions, and the like. We have seen above that the forms of words can carry complex and highly structured information.

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Words do not serve simply as minimal signs, arbitrary chunks of sound that bear meaning simply by virtue of being distinct from one another. These relations connect substantively defined classes in a way that is only partially directional in its essential nature, and the formal connections among these classes are signalled in ways that are best represented as processes relating one shape to another.

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Apophony: A meaningful relation between two words which is signalled not only by the addition of an affix, but also by a change in the quality of a vowel or consonant, a change which is correlated with the meaning difference in question rather than with the phonological shape of the form. For example, English man and men stand in an apophonic relation, since it is precisely the difference between the vowels of the two words that signals the difference between singular and plural. Morpheme: A hypothetical unit in the analysis of words, corresponding closely to the linguistic sign. To the extent it is possible to divide the form of every word exhaustively into a sequence of discrete chunks, to divide its meaning in a similar fashion, and establish a one-to-one correspondence between the components of form and those of meaning, each such combination constitutes a morpheme.

Linguistic Sign: The basic unit in terms of which meaning is represented by form in language. The notion is central to the linguistic theory of Ferdinand deSaussure. Anderson, SR A-morphous morphology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Aronoff, M The Friulian subject clitics. Romance clitic pronouns in lexical paradigms.

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Hiatus resolution between function and lexical words in French and Italian. Participles and nominal aspect. Modifying suffixes in Italian and the autonomy of morphology. SE and its transitional stages between morphology and syntax. The lexicalist hypothesis and the semantics of event nominalization suffixes. Italian brand names morphological categorisation and the autonomy of morphology.

Author index. Index of subjects and languages.

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