Volume 15, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1871-1340
  • E-ISSN: 1871-1375
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This article takes a function-to-form approach to word-formation in present-day English and argues that the ecosystem metaphor can help morphologists see competition in word-formation and its resolution in a new light. The analysis first draws correspondences between four lexical functions (transcategorial, transconceptual, evaluative, and compacting) and ten formal operations (prefixation, suffixation, compounding, blending, morphostasis, stress shift, clipping, desuffixation, initialization, and replication) and concludes that there is no across-the-board interoperation competition to encode each function, but rather a fairly complementary distribution of the operations between the four functional subsystems. Each functional subsystem is then reviewed in turn and it is shown that, again, there is no full-scale competition at this level, but rather some fairly pronounced tendencies towards complementariness, and, in one case, also towards combination. The broad division of labor within each subsystem can, remarkably, be accounted for in different terms: the conditioning is primarily semantic (with formal subconsiderations) in the transcategorial and transconceptual subsystems while it is formal in the evaluative and compacting subsystems.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): competition; English; morphology; rivalry; word-formation
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