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By Maurice O'C Walshe

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Additional resources for A concise German etymological dictionary: With a suppl. on the etymology of some Middle High German words extinct in modern German

Sample text

But the essence of semiproductivity is that the rule itself allows borderline instances. (Matthews 1974: 222) Other linguists also use the term ‘semi-productivity’. Pinker and Prince (1991: 231) talk of semi-productivity where a process ‘can to some degree be extended to new forms’, but this leaves open the crucial question of what ‘some degree’ entails and where its borders lie. For Jackendoff (1997: 115) ‘semiproductive regularity’ arises when ‘we don’t know exactly what the output of a rule is in a particular case’, and he specifically comments (1997: 121) that the productive/semi-productive distinction can be found in both inflectional and derivational morphology.

Whether the ideal speaker is deemed to have a finite lexicon like a real speaker or an impossibly large and unlearnable lexicon (in human terms), the ideal speaker-listener must be able to understand new in-coming words, and must therefore have a distinction between open (productive) and closed (unproductive) classes. 2); there is no need to treat morphology any differently from the syntax. Botha’s comments also fail to allow for a common intuition and a common observation that word-formation processes are not all equally regularly, fruitfully and automatically employed.

Many linguists argue that it is a mistake to equate frequency and productivity (see Botha 1968: 138 fn 19; Rainer 1987: 188), and such linguists frequently state that some scholars in the past have done this. However, clear statements of such an approach are hard to find. Rainer (1987) does not cite any; Botha cites several, but of those which are available to me, none gives an unambiguous statement of this position. e. few roots seem to occur with any particular affix; in some cases the affix occurs only with one root.

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A concise German etymological dictionary: With a suppl. on the etymology of some Middle High German words extinct in modern German by Maurice O'C Walshe


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