Sufixació / Suffixation

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The derivative process of suffixation has always been considered one of the most common and genuine mechanisms that the romance languages have to form new words. Therefore, the study of this process in the diatopic varieties of Catalan is crucial to the linguistic knowledge available about the language. In this chapter we present the results obtained through the description and comparative analysis of the suffixed neologisms collected during three years (2008–2010) in different linguistic domains of the Catalan language. The data collected by the NEOXOC network prove that suffixation is (16.8%), together with prefixation (16%), one of the most productive mechanisms in the formation of neologisms in the territory of the Catalan langauge, as in the majority of the zones suffixation is either the first or second most recurrent resource. In general, we will see how the neologisms documented in texts of a standard and formal register use suffixes with little difference between the diverse territories. Nevertheless, the analyzed data allow us to detect some singularities amongst the different zones, both in as far as the type of suffixes used and the specific neologisms or lemmas are concerned. Regarding the suffixes used, we will see how vernacular suffixes (of the Catalan language) predominate. They are mostly lexical in type (rather than evaluative), and tend to be nominalizers and adjectivizers (much more so than the verbalizers). The majority of the zones largely coincide in choosing the most productive suffixes (-ista, -isme, -itzar, -itat and -dor/dora), but the data obtained also allow the detection of some interesting differences, such as the scarce productivity of certain suffixes in specific zones or the high productivity of other suffixes in other specific zones. As for the documented neologic forms, the analysis reveals that (a) the suffixes used to create neologisms are those that had already been detected in previous studies (even though some vary in frequency of use with respect to what is mentioned in classic grammar books); (b) there are no new suffixes in some of the studied linguistic varieties, and (c) although the different zones use the same suffixes, there is scarce coincidence in lemmas amongst the extraction resources. Thus, the absence of specific neologic forms is greatly significant since, in spite of the homogenity of the comparative corpus, the majority of the neologisms documented in a specific zone are present only in the extraction carried out in that territory, and not in the others.


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