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La formation diminutive dans les langues romanes

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Przemyslaw Debowiak

Le travail consiste en une étude contrastive et diachronique des mécanismes de la morphologie évaluative dans onze langues romanes. Il en résulte que la formation des diminutifs par dérivation suffixale y jouit d’une grande vitalité, ce qui confirme un approfondissement des tendances de l’évolution morphologique et lexicale du latin, observables à travers toute la latinité, et spécialement au haut Moyen Âge. Les autres moyens sont plus rares ; ils sont l’effet de l’usure sémantique des formations diminutives déjà existantes et de celle des suffixes particuliers. À propos du problème de la motivation sémantique primitive des suffixes diminutifs, il semble justifié de considérer comme admissible leur origine tant notionnelle qu’émotionnelle, la seconde étant chronologiquement plus récente.
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The work entitled The formation of diminutives in Romance languages consists of a contrastive and diachronic study of the mechanisms of so-called evaluative morphology in eleven Romance languages, or groups of languages: Portuguese, Galician, Spanish, Catalan, Occitan, French, Arpitan, Sardinian, Italian, Rhaeto- Romance languages (Romansh, Ladin, Friulian) and Romanian. The means by which they form diminutives, as well as the frequency and the productivity of these means, are far from being homogeneous. However, many analogies and convergences exist, like semantic nuances conveyed by diminutives and the evolution of meaning they are liable to undergo. This situation is conditioned historically and it is possible to confirm it by analysing both aspects, the morphological and the semantic one, of the formation of diminutives in Latin, the Romance languages’ common ancestor.

The theoretical part which opens this work (Chapter 1) presents a definition of the diminutive and diversity of means by which it can be formed in different languages of the world, like the change of grammatical gender, the diminution by enallage and the strengthening by an adverb. The richness of potential functions that diminutives may perform is also noted in this chapter. Moreover, it contains considerations concerning the primitive semantic motivation of diminutive forms (the relational or the affective one?), as well as their fading out, lexicalisation (based mainly on metaphor and metonymy) and the consequences of these phenomena.

The analytic part of the work begins with a detailed description of the ways of forming diminutives in Latin...

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