Academic journal article SKASE Journal of Theoretical Linguistics

Searching for Competing Patterns in Morphological Derivation: The Case of Adjective Borrowing

Academic journal article SKASE Journal of Theoretical Linguistics

Searching for Competing Patterns in Morphological Derivation: The Case of Adjective Borrowing

Article excerpt

"You shall know a word by the company it keeps!" (Firth 1957: 11)

1. Subject, aim, data

This research focuses on loan adjective formations and adjective borrowings in the Baltic, Slavic, and Germanic languages. Certain pairs of adjectives were chosen for two reasons: first, they have attracted by far the greatest attention among lexicographers, publishers, grammarians, language teachers and linguists; second, their conclusions on the chosen adjective pairs are rarely based on corpora data. It is also significant to note that 5942 collocations (1) have been selected from the corpora of four languages. Numbers in Figure 1 denote how many collocations have been selected from the following sources:

Figure 1 Numbers of selected collocations from the corpora of four
languages

Lithuanian
(DLKT)              1329

Latvian
(LVK2013;)
Saeima-2.0)          711

Russian (NKRJa)     2144

English (BYU-BNC)   1758

Note: Table made from pie chart.

This paper aims at finding out the possible competing patterns which are characteristic of loan adjective derivation and adjective borrowing in general in Lithuanian, Latvian, Russian, and English. Presenting a preliminary open exploration, the paper relies both on the main dictionaries of the investigated languages (they are enumerated in the list of references) as well as on the materials taken from the following corpora (2), namely the Corpus of Contemporary Lithuanian (DLKT), the Balanced Corpus of Modern Latvian (LVK2013), the Corpus of the stenographs of sessions of the 5th-9th Latvian Parliament (Saeima-2.0), the Russian National Corpus (NKRJa), and the British National Corpus (BYU-BNC).

The article is structured as follows. Section 2 summarises previous studies on the competing variants of borrowed adjectives and briefly introduces terminology employed in the paper. Section 3 is concerned with the analysis of competing patterns of borrowed adjectives in Lithuanian, Latvian, Russian, and English; it is divided into subsections that focus mostly on the collocational behaviour of the rival words in the corpora. Section 4 puts forward the interpretation of the results before the final conclusions of the study are presented.

2. Introduction

2.1. Previous investigations into competing variants of borrowed adjectives

The competing variants of borrowed adjectives in Lithuanian and Latvian have been mentioned in passing. The instances of synonymy between adjectival suffixes in contemporary Lithuanian have been analysed by Vaskeliene and Kucinskiene (2012) on the basis of data taken from [DZ.sup.e3] as well as being briefly discussed by Kniuksta (1976). In Latvian, the competing variants of adjectival suffixes are briefly reviewed in the latest academy grammar (Nitina, Grigorjevs 2013: 264-267). In Russian and English, more has been done in this field in comparison to Lithuanian and Latvian. In Russian, the competition between paronyms, i.e. words that are alike in form, but different in meaning and usage, has been analysed. As a result, more than four Russian dictionaries of paronyms have been compiled (cf. Kolesnikov 1971, Vishnjakova 1984, Bel'chikov, Panjucheva 1994, Kolesnikov 1995). The authors of these dictionaries focused on the phenomenon of paronymy. Even though they attempted to illustrate the difference between confusingly similar words in Russian, questions concerning the criteria of distinguishing such pairs of words still arise. In English, Hawkes (1976), Marsden (1985), Ross (1998), Gries (2001, 2003), and Kaunisto (1999, 2001, 2007) examined the rivalry between adjectives ending in -ic/-ical. The latter author (2008) also investigated adjective pairs in -ive/-ory.

It seems that, besides the rivalry of adjectives with different suffixes, very little attention has been paid to the existence of other competing patterns of borrowed adjectives.

2.2. Terminology

Before proceeding, a brief introduction to the terminology used in the paper is provided here. …

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