LINGUIST List 15.250

Fri Jan 23 2004

Books: Morphology/Syntax: Schneider

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  1. info, Diminutives in English: Schneider

Message 1: Diminutives in English: Schneider

Date: Thu, 22 Jan 2004 16:02:11 -0500 (EST)
From: info <>
Subject: Diminutives in English: Schneider

Title: Diminutives in English
Series Title: Linguistische Arbeiten, Vol. 479
Publication Year: 2004
Publisher: Max Niemeyer Verlag Gmbh		 
Author: Klaus P. Schneider

Paperback: ISBN: 3484304790, Pages: 254, Price: EUR 72,00


This study investigates the analytic and synthetic diminutives of the
English language. It is based on three assumptions. First, diminutives
are not an exclusively morphological category. Second, to understand
the specific nature of diminutives, both formal and functional aspects
must be examined, as well as the interaction between them. And third,
diminutives must be studied empirically and in context. Against this
background, an integrative approach is developed which combines
grammatical and pragmatic perspectives. This approach can be adopted
in the analysis of diminutives of any language.

That English has no diminutives is a common myth. The present study
shows, however, that English does possess diminutives, and not only
analytic but also synthetic diminutive markers. Analytic markers
include, first and foremost, little, as well as other adjectives from
the same word field, whereas the inventory of synthetic markers
comprises suffixes as, for instance, -ie, -ette, -let, -kin, -een, -s,
-er, -poo and -pegs. These markers are examined from a grammatical and
a pragmatic perspective in an integrative formal-functional
framework. The grammatical perspective involves phonological,
morphological and semantic features, while the pragmatic perspective
involves pragmalinguistic as well as sociopragmatic features on the
levels of the speech act and larger interactive units in dialogue. The
findings reveal that English diminutive suffixes are, in fact, among
the most productive suffixes of the English language. While the
suffixes share a number of features, each has developed its own
profile, specifically regarding semantic and pragmatic features. In
everyday conversation, there is a division of labour between the
synthetic and the analytic type of formation concerning the
communicative functions of diminutives and their distribution in
discourse. The choice of formal device and its function depend
crucially on pragmatic factors, notably on the illocution, the
interactive status, the realisation strategy, and the politeness value
of the utterances in which diminutives are employed, and also on the
relationship between the interlocutors.

Lingfield(s):	Morphology 

Written In:	English (Language Code: ENG)

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