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Semantics and Word Formation

The Semantic Development of Five French Suffixes in Middle English


Cynthia Lloyd

This book is about the integration into English of the five nominal suffixes -ment, -ance, -ation, -age and -al, which entered Middle English via borrowings from French, and which now form abstract nouns by attaching themselves to various base categories, as in cord/cordage or adjust/adjustment. The possibility is considered that each suffix might individually affect the general semantic profile of nouns which it forms. A sample of first attributions from the Middle English Dictionary is analysed for each suffix, in order to examine biases in suffixes towards certain semantic areas. It is argued that such biases exist both in real-world semantics, such as the choice of bases with moral or practical meanings, and in distinct aspects of the shared core meaning of action or collectivity expressed by the derived deverbal or denominal nouns. The results for the ME database are then compared with the use of words in the same suffixes across a selection of works from Shakespeare. In this way it can be shown how such tendencies may persist or change over time.


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APPENDIX 2 Nouns in -acioun Translated from Latin, with Text Types/Contexts of First Appearances 275


Appendix 2 Nouns in -acioun Translated from Latin, with Text Types/Contexts of First Appearances 1150–1300 Noun Text type/context a1230 (?a1200) cogitacioun religion 1297 transmigracioun religion Fourteenth Century Noun Text type/context c1400 (a1376) mitigacioun religion (a1382) prefiguracioun religion (c1384) condemnacioun religion 1389 exaltacioun religion c1390 supportacioun general c1475 (1392) stipticacioun medicine (a1393) exalacioun science distillacioun alchemy (c1395) mollificacioun alchemy albificacioun alchemy fermentacioun alchemy a1475 (1396) illuminacioun religion a1450 (a1397) anticipacioun rhetoric (a1398) abnegacioun religion 276 Appendix 2 Noun Text type/context aspiracioun grammar lineacioun religion applicacioun religion a1400 coagulacioun medicine melioracioun medicine ulceracioun medicine a1425 (a1400) exacerbacioun religion imitacioun religion Fifteenth Century Noun Text type/context c1400 coronacioun general c1450 (?a1408) computacioun mathematics c1410 af firmacioun general a1450 (1412) nominacioun general c1425 (a1420) relegacioun general ?a1425 alleviacioun medicine reversacioun medicine perforacioun medicine denudacioun medicine indicacioun medicine prefocacioun medicine maturacioun medicine approximacioun medicine lapidificacioun medicine aggregacioun medicine claudicacioun medicine debilitacioun medicine infiltracioun medicine reduplicacioun medicine obfuscacioun medicine spasmacioun medicine suppuracioun medicine Nouns in -acioun Translated from Latin 277 Noun Text type/context transpiracioun medicine c1425 admiracioun general a1500 (?c1425) ablactacioun medicine evitacioun religion a1475 (?a1430) frequentacioun religion (?1440) ablaqueacioun horticulture (?1440) inoculacioun horticulture c1475 (a1445) invitacioun general 1447–8 allocacioun law (a1449) deformacioun general a1500 (a1450) radiacioun science (1450) adnullation law c1450 evocacioun grammar perpetracioun religion c1475 (1459) confutacioun law a1460 militacioun general (a1464) annotacioun (calendar) mathematics a1475 precipitacioun religion a1500 radicacioun general anterioracioun mathematics

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