The Semantic Development of Five French Suffixes in Middle English
CHAPTER 8 Five Suf fixes over Three Periods of Middle English 193
Chapter 8 Five Suf fixes over Three Periods of Middle English We are now in a position to consider these five suf fixes in relation to each other. In this chapter I will compare some of their morphological con- straints, their productivity and the extent to which their semantics diverge or overlap, and try to assess whether the divergences are coherent enough to suggest distinctions between suf fixes. 8.1. Morphology The suf fixes can be divided into two subgroups according to whether base category or source language is considered. The mainly deverbal suf fixes are -ment, -ance and -ation, while -age and -al are largely denominal in the ME period. However, those entering the language mainly from French (OF and AN) are deverbal -ment and -ance with denominal -age, while deverbal -ation and denominal -al appear mainly on Latin bases (though -al has vari- ous additional origins). Base category and source language have significance for semantics and productivity respectively. There is more semantic overlap among suf fixes predominantly sharing a base category, while productivity is markedly greater for French derivatives than for Latin. 8.1.1. Co-occurrences All five suf fixes may attach to words with the prefixes a(d)-, su(b)-, co(n/m)-, re-, de-, dis- and pre-. All but -al are found on bases in per- and in-, and all but -age on bases with pro-, e(x)- and en(m)-. While pro- does 194 Chapter 8 not appear in my sample with -ment, or...
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