Featured Linguist!

Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



Donate Now | Visit the Fund Drive Homepage

Amount Raised:

$33698

Still Needed:

$41302

Can anyone overtake Syntax in the Subfield Challenge ?

Grad School Challenge Leader: University of Washington


Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info


New from Oxford University Press!

ad

What is English? And Why Should We Care?

By: Tim William Machan

To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.


New from Cambridge University Press!

ad

Medical Writing in Early Modern English

Edited by Irma Taavitsainen and Paivi Pahta

This volume provides a new perspective on the evolution of the special language of medicine, based on the electronic corpus of Early Modern English Medical Texts, containing over two million words of medical writing from 1500 to 1700.


Query Details


Query Subject:   Homophonous Affixes
Author:   Mike Maxwell
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Linguistic LingField(s):  Morphology
Phonetics
Phonology
Syntax

Query:   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
Mike_Maxwell@sil.org
LL Issue: 10.1663
Date posted: 03-Nov-1999



Back

Sums main page