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Composició culta / Neoclassical compounding

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Abstract

The data from the NEOXOC Project corresponding to the years 2008–2010 provide 2,039 neologic lexical units formed by neoclassical compounding (1,506 after eliminating the words detected in more than one node). Neoclassical compounding is therefore one of the most productive processes, after suffixation, prefixation, and English loanwords. Upon analyzing the representativeness of neoclassical compounding in comparison to other neologic processes in each node, we find that it carries about the same weight as it does over the global data set. Differences are hardly perceptible, and this fact can be easily explained if we consider that neoclassical compounding belongs to language varieties that are not particularly sensitive to regional variation. More than 200 roots generated the 1,506 neologisms. The most frequent is auto-, especially involved in the creation of verbs. It is followed at a great distance by mini-, macro- and micro-, three elements with aspective value. We then find eco-, euro-, ciber- and bio-, being the lexical content morphemes most frequently used for word formation in contemporary Catalan media. As a general trend, prototypical neoclassical compounding – the union of two classical roots – is not very productive today, whereas hybrid formations, or neologisms with a classical root (in fact, an affix created from a learned root) and a vernacular word, are very common, a point that coincides with the fact that prefixation is a more productive process in word formation than compounding. The current strength of Catalan prefixation is to a large extent due to prefixes originated in classical roots. It should also be noted that other different kinds of compounding have been found: compounds à la savante, compounds created with pesudoclassical forms, and neologisms created with suffixes originated in classical roots. Regarding the productivity of the different elements in the material collected, it should be noted that data also shows that compounding is a word formation process hardly affected by territorial variation. The first 14 out of the 25 most productive elements are found in all nodes. Finally, it should be noted that some nodes have collected new compounds that are not found in any other node, and this could be a sign of regional trends, although most of them do not show any specific cultural link with the geographic areas. In any case, it is an issue that should be considered in the future.

References

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