LINGUIST List 7.1159

Fri Aug 16 1996

Disc: Addendum to query on circumfixes

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  1. "Paul de Lacy", Addendum to Q: Circumfixes

Message 1: Addendum to Q: Circumfixes

Date: Thu, 15 Aug 1996 09:53:54 -0000
From: "Paul de Lacy" <delacyhost02.net.voyager.co.nz>
Subject: Addendum to Q: Circumfixes
Greetings,

A few days ago I posted a question regarding Circumfixes. I wanted to
find out if there were any general studies done on them, or more
specific references, etc. However, my presumption that everyone knows
what a circumfix is has porven to be unfounded. On the prompting of
one respondent, I have posted this short description of the phenomenon
so that I might get a broader range of replies.

On the surface, a circumfix is a combination of a prefix and a suffix.
However, the appearence of the prefixal material and the suffixal
material is mutually obligatory. In other words, the prefixal part
cannot occur without the suffixal part, and vice-versa.
 Alone, neither part bears meaning. Or, if it does, the
compositional meaning of the two parts is not equal to the sum of its
parts. As an example:
Tagalog 'ka...an' = 'the class or group of X': bukid 'field' >
bukiran 'fields'.

The above definition is an 'absolutist' type. There seem to be
'gradations' of types (for want of a better term). Thus, German
'ge..t' omits the 'ge' with certain verbs. At this point, I am
looking for anything that could _possibly_ be a circumfix, even if
it's phonological parts are not always co-present.

People's lack of acquaintance with the term 'circumfix' is probably
because it has been largely ignored in morphological theory. See
Rochelle Lieber's 'Deconstructing Morphology' (1992:155-7) and Laurie
Bauer's 'A descriptive gap in morphology.' in the Yearbook of
Morphology 1988 (pp.17-27).

Regards,

Paul de Lacy.
University of Auckland.
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