LINGUIST List 22.4737

Mon Nov 28 2011

Diss: General Ling/Morphology/Semantics: Fortin: 'The Morphology ...'

Editor for this issue: Xiyan Wang <>

        1.     Antonio Fortin , The Morphology and Semantics of Expressive Affixes

Message 1: The Morphology and Semantics of Expressive Affixes
Date: 16-Nov-2011
From: Antonio Fortin <>
Subject: The Morphology and Semantics of Expressive Affixes
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Institution: University of Oxford Program: D.Phil. in Linguistics Dissertation Status: Completed Degree Date: 2011

Author: Antonio Fortin

Dissertation Title: The Morphology and Semantics of Expressive Affixes

Dissertation URL:

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics                             Morphology                             Pragmatics                             Semantics                             Typology Language Family(ies): Germanic                             Indo-European                             New English                             Niger-Congo                             Romance                             Slavic Subgroup
Dissertation Director:
Martin Maiden Christopher Potts Ash Asudeh
Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation focuses on two aspects of expressive affixes: theirmorphological/typological properties and their semantics. With regard tothe former, it shows that the expressive morphology of many differentlanguages (including Bantu, West Atlantic, Walman, Sanskrit, Germanic,Romance, Slavic, and others), has the following properties: 1) it issystematically anomalous when compared to plain morphology, or the ordinaryprocesses of word-formation and inflection. From this, it follows that manyfamiliar morphological arguments that adduce the data of expressivemorphology ought to be reconsidered; and 2) it is far more pervasive thanhas been traditionally thought. For example, the Sanskrit preverb, and theIndo-European aspectual prefix/particle generally, are shown to havesystematically expressive functions.

With respect to the semantics of expressive affixes, it develops a novelmultidimensional account, in the sense of Potts (2005), of Spanish'connotative affixes,' which can simultaneously convey descriptive andexpressive meaning. It shows that their descriptive meaning is that of agradable adjective, viewed as a degree relation which includes a measurefunction, in the sense of Kennedy (1997). The expressive meaning ofconnotative affixes, and expressives generally, arises as they manipulatethe middle coordinate, [b]I[/b], of expressive indices which, I propose, isinherently specified on all lexical items and canonically set to 'neutral.'I propose a new mechanism, [b]AFF[/b], which is an algebraic operation formanipulating [b]I[/b], and which accounts for the well-known, and seemingly'contradictory,'range of meanings that expressive affixes can express.Whereas prior work assumes that expressive affixes are inherentlypolysemous, this approach derives their many attested meanings andfunctions (e.g., 'small,' 'young,' 'bad,' deprecation, appreciation,hypocorism, intensification/exactness, and attenuation/approximation)compositionally, from the interactions of their multidimensionality withthe meanings of the roots to which they attach.

Page Updated: 28-Nov-2011