The recursive formation of Old English non-verbal categories. Productivity and constraints

  1. Raquel Vea Escarza 1
  1. 1 Universidad de La Rioja

    Universidad de La Rioja

    Logroño, España


Journal of English Studies

ISSN: 1576-6357

Year of publication: 2015

Issue: 13

Pages: 157-174

Type: Article

DOI: 10.18172/JES.2860 DIALNET GOOGLE SCHOLAR lock_openOpen access editor


This paper aims at analysing the recursivity in the formation of non-verbal categories, more specifically, of nouns and adjectives in old English. Pounder’s (2000) model, known as Process and Paradigm Model, provides the formal representation of recursive operations. The data of analysis consist of a total of 388 recursive nouns and adjectives, 11 of which undergo a two-level recursivity, or slot-II recursivity. Both in the case of nouns and adjectives, suffixation has a clearly preeminent role over prefixation. As for nouns, the suffix -nes is the most frequent one in number of tokens, whereas -∂ is the one that combines with a greater number of suffixes in prefinal position. Regarding adjectives, -lic is by far the suffix present in a higher number of predicates, and also the one that undergoes a wider variety of different recursive patterns, what evinces that there is correlation between a high type frequency and the assignment of a high number of different recursive patterns. Positional constraints affect -nes and -lic, since none of them can occur in a position other than final. A semantic interpretation of recursive suffixation leads to assign a semantic effect of this phenomenon when it applies to nouns, and a pragmatic one in the case of adjectives.

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