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Stripping paradigmatic relations out of the syntax

Abstract

This contribution aims at showing how paradigms and associative relations can be integrated into word-formation, with special attention paid to compounding. In this regard, we will take into account a phenomenon at the border between derivation and compounding, namely formations like süßherzig ‘sweet-hearted’, in which -ig is an adjective-forming suffix and AN a possible compound. To do so, we will explore data available from a large web corpus, on whose basis we will show how syntagmatic and paradigmatic relations developed in syntax find their way into word formation. We will show that the most productive compounding schemas as they are currently assumed in Construction Morphology give rise to processes of semi-affixation which are a first step toward derivation proper.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    As is well known, German adjectives display different forms if they are preceded by the determinative article (weak forms) or not (strong forms). However, the whole paradigm—and especially among the weak forms—is filled with homonymous forms, i.e. widespread syncretism: the forms hohe and hohen alone fill all the slots in the weak paradigm, e.g. no case distinction is conveyed by the adjective in plural weak forms and no gender distinction is conveyed by the adjective in nominative, dative and genitive singular weak forms.

  2. 2.

    Here, the traditional zero-suffix -ØV- for forming verbs is assumed. See Gaeta (2013) for a discussion of the alternative conversion hypothesis. The pattern prefix-ADJ-ØV—which is called Präfixkonversion ‘prefix conversion’ in German (cf. Fleischer and Barz 1992:308)—is more productive in the formation of de-adjectival verbs. See for example hocher- + höh- + -ØVerhöhen ‘to raise, increase’, hochauf- + höh- + ØVaufhöhen ‘to heighten’.

  3. 3.

    The symbol ° marks the output of the processes which are not attested in the Duden online dictionary available at www.duden.de.

  4. 4.

    It is worth noting that Motsch (2004:282) in his treatment of the -ens de-adjectival adverbs of German explicitly excludes the existence of kältestens, as opposed to heißestens, and in general the possibility to produce the relevant antonym of an -ens adverb formed from an adjective constituting the higher pole of an antonymic scale.

  5. 5.

    The derivative stämmig, from Stamm ‘root’, exists, but means in fact ‘strong, vigorous, athletic’.

  6. 6.

    The adjective niedrig is properly a derivative of the adverb nieder ‘low’ and the latter often occurs in alternation with the former in AN-ig formations.

  7. 7.

    At first sight, Mittel- in Mittelwelle might be connected either with the adjective mittel ‘neither good or bad, average’ or with the noun Mittel which can refer to ‘means, resources, remedy’ or to ‘middle value’, and in this latter meaning is related to the adjective (and historically derived from it). However, for the compounds in (23) the association with the adjective is preferable in the light of other compounds which clearly select the noun Mittel ‘mean’ such as Mittelbestand ‘funds, lit. stock of resources’, Mittelbedarf ‘resource needs’, etc.

  8. 8.

    More commonly the adjective derived for Mittelalter ‘the Middle Ages’ is mittelalterlich.

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Correspondence to Livio Gaeta.

Additional information

Parts of this paper were presented at the workshop on “Paradigms in Word Formation” held during the 49th International Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea at the University of Naples “Federico II” (31.8.–3.9.2016), as well as in a lecture given at the University of Erlangen (16.1.2018). We thank all people attending the workshop, and especially Fiammetta Namer and Nabil Hathout, as well as two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments and remarks. Needless to say, all remaining mistakes are ours.

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Gaeta, L., Angster, M. Stripping paradigmatic relations out of the syntax. Morphology 29, 249–270 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11525-018-9326-2

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Keywords

  • Adjective-forming Suffix
  • Derivational Paradigm
  • Paradigmatic Strength
  • German Adjectives
  • Subschemas