Structural and functional aspects of morphological recursivity: Old English affixal adjectives

  1. Vea Escarza, R. 1
  1. 1 Universidad de La Rioja

    Universidad de La Rioja

    Logroño, España


NOWELE. North Western European Language Evolution

ISSN: 0108-8416

Year of publication: 2012

Volume: 64-65

Issue: 1-2

Pages: 155-179

Type: Article


The aim of this journal article is to study recursivity in word-formation by analysing the formation of adjectives in Old English. The data, which comprise 730 recursive adjectives, have been retrieved from the lexical database of Old English Nerthus. Methodologically, the analysis deals with structural and functional aspects. On the structural side, the conclusions are that recursivity is a direct consequence of type-frequency and that recursivity with non-recursive base is more frequent than recursivity with recursive base, the latter requiring three structural positions to the left of the head and another three to the right of the head, all of them motivated by derivation. On the functional side, only two final functions have been identified in recursive formation of deadjectival adjectives, REL('X') and LIKE('X'), whereas all adjectival semantic functions have been found in non-final functional assignments. It is also of functional relevance that the prototypical pattern of semantic compatibility is one in which the semantic function I('X') is assigned in non-final suffixation and the semantic function REL('X') is performed by the suffix attached in final position.