Recursivity, Derivational Depth and the Search for Old English Lexical Primes

  1. Arista, J.M. 1
  1. 1 Universidad de La Rioja

    Universidad de La Rioja

    Logroño, España


Studia Neophilologica

ISSN: 0039-3274

Year of publication: 2013

Volume: 85

Issue: 1

Pages: 1-21

Type: Article

DOI: 10.1080/00393274.2013.771829 SCOPUS: 2-s2.0-84878806932 WoS: WOS:000319377200001 GOOGLE SCHOLAR lock_openOpen access editor

More publications in: Studia Neophilologica

Institutional repository: lock_openOpen access postprint


Cited by

  • Scopus Cited by: 24 (12-01-2023)
  • Web of Science Cited by: 23 (31-12-2022)

SCImago Journal Rank

  • Year 2013
  • SJR Journal Impact: 0.1
  • Best Quartile: Q4
  • Area: Linguistics and Language Quartile: - Rank in area: 714/790
  • Area: Philosophy Quartile: Q4 Rank in area: 470/534


  • Social Sciences: B
  • Human Sciences: A

Scopus CiteScore

  • Year 2013
  • CiteScore of the Journal : 0.1
  • Area: Philosophy Percentile: 17


The aims of this article are to coin the term of derivational depth and to assess the role of zero derivation in the search for the lexical primes of Old English. Derivational depth is characterized diachronically as making reference to the (un)productive derivational processes that function as input to productive derivational processes. As regards the related concept of lexical recursivity, it is defined as the derivation of derived bases, which, in Old English, can be the case with the output of processes of zero derivation, affixation and compounding. In the search for the lexical primes of Old English, evidence has been found for three types of zero derivation, including zero derivation with zero inflection, with full inflection and with formative. The main conclusions of the article are that lexical recursivity is a linguistic property, whereas derivational depth represents a property of lexical representations; that zero derivation constitutes a principled formal criterion for defining lexical primes; and that nominal zero derivatives of strong verbs play a role central to lexical derivation in Old English. © 2013 Copyright 2012 Taylor & Francis.