LINGUIST List 14.3083

Tue Nov 11 2003

Diss: Morphology/Socioling: Sapir: 'Modern...'

Editor for this issue: Takako Matsui <>


  1. yair_sapir, Modern Icelandic Word Formation

Message 1: Modern Icelandic Word Formation

Date: Tue, 11 Nov 2003 09:45:05 -0500 (EST)
From: yair_sapir <>
Subject: Modern Icelandic Word Formation

Institution: Uppsala University
Program: Department of Scandinavian Languages
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2003

Author: Yair Sapir

Dissertation Title: Modern Icelandic Word Formation

Dissertation URL: 

Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics, Morphology, Lexicography 
Subject Language: Icelandic (code: ICE)

Subject Language Family: West Scandinavian (code: )

Dissertation Director 1: Henrik Williams
Dissertation Director 2: Veturli�i �skarsson
Dissertation Director 3: Raimo Raag

Dissertation Abstract: 

Icelandic is known for its conservative word formation, largely
involving native sources. The main focus of the present research is to
describe which mechanisms are used in forming words in Modern
Icelandic. Furthermore, a postulated additional category within
Icelandic complexes, introduced here under the label compilations, is

The discipline of word formation has not yet attained the attention it
deserves within the science of language. Its status within linguistics
is still not steadfast and there seems to be little agreement as to
the methodological and the theoretical framework of the
discipline. The present study offers some new ways of observing the
system of word formation by trying to depict the sources, processes,
patterns and results relevant to that system. The depiction
constitutes a general theory of word formation, later applied to the
Icelandic system. This theory is used, in turn, to establish the first
hypothesis of the morpho-etymological types of Icelandic word
formation. The second hypothesis, concerning compilations, attempts to
solve the problem posed by a special type of complex containing
syntagmatically bound but paradigmatically free morphs, such as a�al-,
einka-, -fr��ingur and -stj�ri. This type of complex has been
described as derivatives by some scholars and as compounds by others,
but does not seem to fit in either category.

The results show that almost all postulated word formation types are
represented in the corpus. Moreover, compilations constitute a
significant number of 10% of the studied data and are proved to be
sufficiently distinct from derivatives and compounds to justify a
separate category.
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