Affixation vs. conversion.

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This is a case-study in what happens when word-formation processes compete for bases. Based on a sample of English adjectives, this paper examines how two conflicting patterns (<i>-en</i> suffixation and conversion) distribute themselves in the formation of corresponding deadjectival verbs. Focus is on how the two wordformation processes compete for the expression of largely the same meanings, how this competition may have affected the productivity of each type of form, and how this conflict is resolved. In agreement with general principles of linguistic economy, more verbs are lost where there is competition than where there is none. A tendency towards keeping the two forms can be found, and also towards keeping <i>-en</i> suffixation when one of the competing processes is lost. Three variables, phonological, semantic and historical, are examined in the light of data of competing and noncompeting deadjectival verbs for their influence on the outcomes found.


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