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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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0. Introduction


0. Introduction

0.1 Objectives and methodology

The aim of this book is to provide a comprehensive assessment of the role of suffixes in lexical stress-assignment and word-formation, complete with a systematic overview of their selection processes, productivity and combinatorial properties in Present-Day English.

A methodological prerequisite which has become incontrovertible in language studies is the necessity to draw upon a reliable corpus. The multiplication of online databases has provided researchers with worktools many times more powerful than those they had at their disposal not so long ago. The corpus used in the present study has been assembled from the OneLook search engine (henceforth OL) which, in English, enables users to extract word inventories further to a preselection of morphological components from about a hundred generalist or specialist dictionaries1.

So as to warrant indisputable reliability as to the data exploited, the corpus used in this study has been culled from the entries of seven generalist dictionaries whose reputation is solidly established, complemented with those of which is the only OL dictionary providing full etymological data in most of its entries2.

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