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English suffixes

Stress-assignment properties, productivity, selection and combinatorial processes


Ives Trevian

English morphophonology has aroused considerable interest in the wake of Chomsky and Halle’s ground-breaking The Sound Pattern of English (1968). Various theoretical models have subsequently emerged, seeking to account for the stress-placement and combinatorial properties of affixes. However, despite the abundance and versatility of research in this field, many questions have remained unanswered and theoretical frameworks have often led their proponents to erroneous assumptions or flawed systems. Drawing upon a 140,000-word corpus culled from a high-performance search engine, this book aims to provide a comprehensive and novel account of the stress-assignment properties, selection processes, productivity and combinatorial restrictions of native and non-native suffixes in Present-Day English. In a resolutely interscholastic approach, the author has confronted his findings with the tenets of Generative Phonology, Cyclic Phonology, Lexical Phonology, The Latinate Constraint, Base-Driven Lexical Stratification, Complexity-Based Ordering and Optimality Theory.
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16. Neoclassical suffixes


16. Neoclassical suffixes

16.1 General features and stress assignment

The most common neoclassical endings which may alternatively serve as separable suffixes are -a, -ae, -es, -i, -id, -is, -on, -um, -us. Among the latter -a, -ae, -es and -i are basically non-normative plural forms of Greek or Latin words which are still treated as unintegrated loans. All have extended their original function to become taxonomic suffixes denoting natural orders, families, phyla, etc. (cf. §16.1.4 below). Other endings which, although always bound, commonly occur in Latin or Greek loans or as elements C in learned combining-form compounds include -as, non-mute -e, -o, -os, -ys and Vx (-ax, -ex, -ix, -ox, -ux, -yx).

The words in which such formatives occur have inherited the stress rules of Latin, namely placement of stress on the penult when it contains a consonant cluster or a free vowel and antepenult stress otherwise. No item of this type is recorded with S-3 or S-4 primary stress.

16.1.1 Consonant cluster rule

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