Volume 36, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0176-4225
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9714
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This study investigates the effects of borrowing on the semantics of a derivational suffix. It presents a case study that compares the borrowed Middle English suffix - to Middle French -, paying special attention to their respective semantic structures and analysing them with semantic maps. The semantic structure of the borrowed suffix - is very similar to that of its origin - and there is no evidence for semantic reduction as a result of the borrowing process. This stability is linked to sociolinguistic aspects of the contact situation. Substantial semantic changes do occur in the recipient language after the suffix has become an established word formation process, however. On the basis of empirical data, this paper makes a contribution to the study of derivational semantics and contact linguistics by proposing a methodology for the analysis of the semantic structure of (borrowed) derivational morphology.


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