Academic journal article International Journal of Linguistics

The Within-the-Noun-Category Zero Derivation in Macedonian

Academic journal article International Journal of Linguistics

The Within-the-Noun-Category Zero Derivation in Macedonian

Article excerpt


Zero derivation is a process when from a lexeme that belongs to one lexical category or subcategory another one is formed, which, from derivational point of view has the same form but, since inflectional material is allowed to be used, the form can be changed inflectionally; the category or subcategory of the new lexeme is definitely changed, and what connects the source and the target lexeme is the meaning - it is similar, more precisely, expanded.

When discussing this process within a category, which is a clear type, that is, the process is realized even without using any inflectional material and there is complete overlap between the source and the target lexeme, this paper focuses on changes within the noun category in Macedonian. That is when the natural subclass of the noun is changed, and the process goes from countable to uncountable noun, from uncountable to countable, from proper to common and from static to dynamic noun.

The target lexeme, which is the newly zero derived element, becomes a member of another subclass, different from the subclass to which the source lexeme naturally belongs, and thus accepts the characteristics of the new lexical subcategory or the new subpart of speech and behaves accordingly.

The clear or prototypical side of the process is seen in the formal overlapping of both lexemes, from both derivational and inflectional point of view.

Keywords: Nouns, Zero derivation, Lexical subcategory change, Semantic transfer

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1. Introduction

The place of the noun in the language system is of immense importance because of its close connection with the adjective and for sharing the characteristics, such as the grammatical categories of gender, number and definiteness. Yet, when talking about zero derivation in Macedonian within the noun category, much more attention is being paid to the number as an unstable category, and that is significant, considering the fact that nouns form plural mainly according to gender, which, on the other hand, is changeable and variable. In continuation several lexemes will be given; such that can be found in the language, both in its standard or colloquial form.

For instance, in the printers' vocabulary, it is usual to find the form ..., but the same word can take a different plural form in the following structure:


These plural forms are connected with gender variability between masculine and feminine, at foreign nouns that end in -e, which is more emphasized in cases when these nouns are used for people in masculine gender:


Korubin (Kopyoim, 1972) says that in Macedonian there are plural nouns which have a characteristic of collectiveness, and the focus of the meaning is not only on the collection of objects, but also on their wholeness. Examples of this kind are the following: ... (playing cards). In these cases, when the plural has this general sign function, the singular form can be absent from the language and may be lost. Such are the nouns: ... Their singular forms do not exist anymore because the plural has the determining function outside of the number category and it occurs as a lexico-semantic category. That plural form can also denote a complex object as singular lexical content: .... But, in Macedonian it is far more acceptable to say: ..., which is a process of change in the grammatical meaning of the plural forms - something they actually didn't have in their own general function. In such a case, expressing the collection of these objects requires an additional quantifier as is the word ..., but also .... This means that although formally plural these forms find it difficult to fit into the number category, denoting one object. Therefore, they need additional signal; and, if it is omitted, then the form gets its own plural grammatical meaning, so that for expressing plural, singular forms should be used. In such a case, the result is change in meaning in the direction from a set to singularity, and some lexico-semantic differentiations are expressed opposed to the usually singular form. …

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