The Semantic Development of Five French Suffixes in Middle English
CHAPTER 3 The Suf fix -ment in Middle English 31
Chapter 3 The Suf fix -ment in Middle English 3.1. History and Morphology The suf fix -ment is described by Marchand as chief ly forming deverbal nouns from Romance roots, and coming into the language through loans from continental Old French and Anglo-French (Marchand 1969: 331, 4.65.1). It derives ultimately from Latin formations in which V + -mentum = N (Pattison 1975: 52). In my sample I have distinguished three morphological types for nouns in -ment. Type 1, e.g. TESTAMENT, is borrowed from the Latin deverbal noun and incorporates a vowel from the Latin verb stem, which generally does not correspond to a simplex form in English. It is therefore opaque in ME. Categorial exceptions among Latin borrowings are denominal Latin formations such as MACHINAMENT. Type 2, e.g. ENCHANTEMENT, is either borrowed from French or formed on a ME verb base, the suf fix being added to the verb stem and linked to it by a vowel. There are denominal exceptions such as TABLEMENT. This type tends to attach to verbs with prefixes, especially en- (Marchand 1969: 332, 4.65.3). Nominalisations on bases following a(d)- and co(n/m)- have been especially frequent in my sample. Type 3, e.g. EGGEMENT, is formed on a native verb base. Denominal exceptions include LEGEMENT. 32 Chapter 3 3.2. Integration 3.2.1. Productivity This suf fix was considered by both Marchand and Jespersen to have become productive at quite an early date. Marchand states that ‘By 1300, -ment was obviously a derivative suf fix’ (Marchand...
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