Academic journal article SKASE Journal of Theoretical Linguistics

Derivational Paradigms and Competition in English: A Diachronic Study on Competing Causative Verbs and Their Derivatives

Academic journal article SKASE Journal of Theoretical Linguistics

Derivational Paradigms and Competition in English: A Diachronic Study on Competing Causative Verbs and Their Derivatives

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Competition (or overabundance in inflection, cf. Thornton 2011) has attracted considerable attention over the past decades as it has proved to be "an inherent and universal feature of natural languages" (Stekauer 2017: 15). With the relatively recent growth of word-based morphology (either hybrid or pure models of word-and-paradigm morphology, see Blevins 2006), there is no doubt that competition should be made part of any morphological account in terms of paradigms (Bonami & Strnadova 2018: 9), both in inflection and derivation. Bonami & Strnadova (2018: 9) suggest viewing "doublets as parallel citizens in a paradigmatic system" and conclude that the problem with doublets is not their representation in a paradigm but the identification of the features that make two or more forms synonymous, and therefore, fillers of the same slot. The definition of synonymy in competing forms remains a challenge that calls for substantial synchronic and diachronic research. This paper elaborates on previous diachronic research on competing clusters (1) by exploring the interaction between derivational paradigms and morphological competition.

Competition is defined as "the coexistence of two or more affixes for the same base and for the expression of the same semantic category, if restrictions (e.g. phonological, morphological) do not apply and no semantic or distributional differences are observed" (Fernandez-Alcaina 2017: 166, see also Bauer 2009; Aronoff 2016; Chiba 2016; Fradin 2016). (2) Specifically, this paper relies on a sample of 45 verbal clusters in Present-Day English where forms in -ize and zero-derivation compete (or did compete) for the expression of the semantic category CAUSATIVE.

This paper is organized as follows: [section]2 deals with the interaction between derivational paradigms and competition and with the importance of this interrelation. [section]3 describes the method used in this paper for data collection and analysis. Results are described in [section]4, followed by a discussion in [section]5. Final conclusions are drawn in [section]6.

2. Derivational paradigms and competition

The paradigm has been traditionally viewed as a distinctive feature of canonical inflection that contrasts with the apparently arbitrary organization of derivation. However, increasing evidence against a clear-cut inflection/derivation dichotomy has proved that such distinction is not as straightforward as it was thought to be--or at least, not always (Don 2014: 66-72; Bauer et al. 2015: 533-544). Instead, an account in terms of prototypical categories (Dressler 1989; Plank 1994) and/or subcategories within inflection (Booij 1996) or derivation (Bauer 1997a on evaluative morphology) may offer a more suitable explanation for intermediate cases where the boundaries between inflection and derivation are fuzzy.

Viewing inflection and derivation as the extremes of a continuum implies that the traditional criteria may apply to prototypical instances of inflection and derivation but possibly not to in-between cases. This means that there exists an overlap between inflection and derivation where some of the criteria defined for the former may also apply to the latter--for example, paradigmatic organization. Defective paradigms illustrate the lack of applicability of this criterion in inflection, which together with more or less regular and predictable sequences of derivatives (e.g. nation-national-nationalize-nationalization in Bauer 1997b) support a description of derivation in terms of paradigms (van Marle 1985; Bochner 1993; Bauer 1997b; Pounder 2000; Stump 2001: 252-260; Beecher 2004; Booij & Lieber 2004; Booij 2008; Stekauer 2014). However, the definition of the term paradigm is still ambiguous and it has been addressed in the literature under various labels depending on the approach: word family (Bauer & Nation 1993), derivational nest (Horecky et al. …

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