Academic journal article SKASE Journal of Theoretical Linguistics

Paradigmatic Morphology Splinters, Combining Forms, and Secreted Affixes

Academic journal article SKASE Journal of Theoretical Linguistics

Paradigmatic Morphology Splinters, Combining Forms, and Secreted Affixes

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

This study deals with the part of morphology which is referred to as paradigmatic morphology, pioneered by van Marle (1985) and "based on some sort of resonance or similarity between words in the lexicon" (Bauer et al. 2013: 519). Phenomena of paradigmatic morphology are generally classified as "word creation" (Ronneberger-Sibold 2000, 2008) or "extra-grammatical morphology" (Dressler 2000; Mattiello 2013), as opposed to regular (i.e. productive) English word-formation (Bauer 1983; Plag 2003; Bauer et al. 2013).

The theoretical framework adopted in this study for the analysis of such phenomena is Natural Morphology (Dressler et al. 1987; Kilani-Schoch 1988; Dressler 2000; Kilani-Schoch & Dressler 2005). Within this framework, prototypical grammatical morphology is distinguished from both extra-grammatical and marginal morphology (Doleschal & Thornton 2000). Extra-grammatical morphology applies to a set of heterogeneous formations (of an analogical or rule-like nature) which do not belong to morphological grammar, in that the processes through which they are obtained are not clearly identifiable and their input does not allow a prediction of a regular output like rules do (Mattiello 2013: 1). For instance, the blends brinner [left arrow] br(eakfast + d)inner [2008] 'breakfast eaten at dinner time' (Urban Dictionary) and blaxploitation [left arrow] bla(ck + e)xploitation [1972] 'the exploitation of black people' (OED2) belong to extra-grammatical morphology, in that they are only partially predictable, whereas the regular derived words mini-break or breaker or the compound blackbird are fully predictable from their inputs. Within the same framework, marginal (but still grammatical) morphology applies to phenomena which are non-prototypical (i.e. at the boundaries) of morphology (Dressler 2000: 6-7), in that they are transitional between morphology and other linguistic levels (e.g. lexicon, syntax) or between the subcomponents of morphology (i.e. inflection, derivation, and compounding). For instance, the new words read-o-holic [2013] (The Guardian) and pizza-holic [2015] (CNN) have been coined after the model of workaholic [1947], sugarholic [1955], foodaholic [1965], etc., all exhibiting the "final combining form" - (a)holic ([left arrow] alcoholic, Warren 1990; called "suffix" in the OED). Specifically, combining forms are transitional between derivation and compounding, depending on whether we consider -(a)holic to be a bound or a free morpheme.

In particular, the study explores the creative formation of new words by means of the blending process. Blending is generally regarded as a "creative technique" (Ronneberger-Sibold 2008) used to produce new lexemes in domains such as humorous literary texts and brand names (Kemmer 2003; Lehrer 2003, 2007; Gries 2004, 2012). However, recent studies show that blends exhibit (sub)regularities and tendencies, especially in terms of prototypical patterns and phonological regularity (Mattiello 2013), prosodic structure (Arndt-Lappe & Plag 2013), but also of frequently occurring "splinters" (Lehrer 1996, 2007) or "secreted affixes" (Fradin 2000). Instances of splinters include -arian ([left arrow] vegetarian), as in fruitarian [1893], nutarian [1909], etc. (OED2-3), docu- ([left arrow] documentary), as in docudrama [1961], docusoap [1979], etc. (OED2-3), and -exit. The latter, despite its existence as an independent word, can be reinterpreted as an affix, especially a secreted one, whose meaning is not simply 'leave', but 'withdrawal from the European Union'. This meaning is illustrated both by English neologisms, such as Grexit [left arrow] Greece/Greek + exit, Brexit [left arrow] (Great) Britain/British + exit, (1) both dated [2012] in Wordspy and only included in the OED since March 2017, and by occasionalisms, such as the analogical Spexit or Frexit [2015] 'exit of Spain/France from the EU' recently found in The Guardian. The initial splinter counterpart is Br- ([left arrow] British), as in Bremain or Brentry [2016] 'British remain/entry' (The Guardian), both obtained analogically after the model of Brexit. …

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