Between inflection and derivation

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The question of whether adverbial suffixes are derivational or inflectional elements has been controversially discussed in recent decades. Based on general differences between inflection and derivation, we argue that the English adverbial suffix -<i>ly</i> has more characteristics of an inflectional than of a derivational element and has acquired great generality as an adverb marker in present-day English. German, in contrast, has not developed a general adverb marker. Due to phonological changes, a widespread adverb marker in earlier stages of German and English (OHG -<i>o, </i>OE and MHG -<i>e</i>) disappeared. The element -<i>lich</i> which was a frequent adverbial suffix in MHG, is no longer productive. Another possible candidate in German for becoming a new adverb marker was <i>-</i>(<i>er</i>)<i>weise</i>, which, however, has been used since the 19th century for a differentiation between sentence adverbs and manner adverbs. We argue that this lexical differentiation between sentence and manner adverbs, which has no parallel in English or the Romance languages, can be related to the more flexible word order in German. Whereas English and some Romance languages differentiate between sentence adverbs and manner adverbs by their positions in the sentence, German employs lexical means for this differentiation.

  • Affiliations: 1: University of Bochum



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