LINGUIST List 10.1663

Wed Nov 3 1999

Qs: Homophonous Affixes, Intuitional Mechanics

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  1. mike_maxwell, homophonous affixes
  2. Arlyn Freed, searching for "lost" essay of Gustave Guillaume

Message 1: homophonous affixes

Date: Tue, 02 Nov 1999 15:24:19 -0500
From: mike_maxwell <>
Subject: homophonous affixes

Somewhere in the last year, I ran across several articles that claimed that in
most languages with any degree of morphology, there tended to be a considerable
amount of homophony among affixes--more than one would expect, given the number
of vowels and consonants in the language. Two examples of homophony that I
recall, both from English, were the -er suffix (comparative on adjectives, and
agentive nominalizer on verbs); and the various -s suffixes (3sg. present tense
on V, plural on N, possessive clitic, and contracted form of "is"). There were
many other examples of homophonous affix sets, from an assortment of languages.

Unfortunately, I can't find the articles now that I need them. A web search
turned up nothing (perhaps because I couldn't think of many appropriate words
 to search for). I seem to recall that one of the articles dated back to
 the '50s, while the others were fairly recent. Does someone have a better
 memory than mine? I'm not looking for a list of homophonous affix sets,
 just the refs for the claims. I'll post a summary if there's interest.

 Mike Maxwell
 Summer Institute of Linguistics
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Message 2: searching for "lost" essay of Gustave Guillaume

Date: Tue, 02 Nov 1999 19:36:31 EST
From: Arlyn Freed <>
Subject: searching for "lost" essay of Gustave Guillaume

To whom it may concern:
I am trying to locate any materials written by Gustave Guillaume,
 the French-Canadian linguist, regarding his theory of
"intuitional mechanics".
I have located references to this essay dating from 1954 through 1957. 
 It may be titled "Essai de mecanique intuitionnelle".
I would appreciate any information you could offer.

Thank you and best regards,
Ms. Arlyn Freed
Ohio University
Department of Linguistics
Gordy Hall, Rm. #354
Athens, OH 45701

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