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11. Derivation and Compounding


Subject Theoretical Linguistics » Morphology

Key-Topics grammar

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405198820.2012.00013.x


In the word-formation process known as derivation, we can distinguish between: (a) affixal derivation in which there is addition of affixes to a lexeme ( in-constante ‘inconstant,’ transporta-ble ‘transportable’); and (b) nonaffixal derivation or backformation based on the elimination of some morphological part of the lexeme ( retén ‘stop, checkpoint’ from retener ‘to retain’). Akin to this second procedure are the so-called thematic or postverbal forms in which a verb lexeme is converted into a noun just by adding an unstressed vowel to the root. This final vowel may coincide with the theme vowel of the verb, as in guard-a-r ‘to guard’ > guard-a ‘guard,’ although most times the derived noun shows up with a different vowel: atrac-a-r ‘to attack’ > atrac-o ‘robbery’; empuj-a-r ‘to push’ > empuj-e ‘pressure.’ In some cases the same verbal root admits any of the three vowels: costar ‘to cost’ > cost-e , cost-o , cost-a ( s ) ‘cost.’ In all Spanish dialects, word formation by means of affixation is prevalent. Lexical derivation through suffixation is the most productive, general, and varied of Spanish word-formation procedures. Spanish has a large number of suffixes with variable meanings, and all the main lexical categories (V, N, A) accept this type of derivation. Moreover, resource-to-suffixation is common to all language varieties – technical ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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