Schema unification and morphological productivity: A diachronic perspective

Faculty/Professorship: German Linguistics  
Author(s): Kempf, Luise; Hartmann, Stefan
Title of the compilation: The construction of words : advances in construction morphology
Editors: Booij, Geert
Publisher Information: Cham : Springer
Year of publication: 2018
Pages: 441-474
ISBN: 978-3-319-74393-6
Series ; Volume: Studies in Morphology ; Volume 4
Language(s): English
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-74394-3_16
Unified schemas which allow for deriving multiply complex word-formation products are a central concept in Construction Morphology (CxM). Based on examples such as un-V-able formations in English, Booij (2007: 38) argues that unified schemas (in this case: [un[Vable] A]A) can be conceived of as “short cuts in coining new complex words”. In this paper, we explore three prospective cases of schema unification and discuss what kind of evidence supports the assumption of unified schemas. The first two case studies are diachronic in nature. Drawing on corpus analyses of data from the Early New High German period (1350−1650) and from the early stages of New High German, we show how the developments of the complex patterns diverge from the developments of their counterparts. To this end, we analyze the frequency and productivity of the (sub-)constructions and assess the semantics of the word-formation products. Firstly, nominalization with the suffix -ung has been shown to undergo a diachronic decrease in morphological productivity (Demske 2000; Hartmann 2016). However, unified schemas such as [Be-X-ung]N or [(PREF)-X-ierung]N are shown to be still productive, e.g. Beplankung, Belaberung, Vercomedianisierung (from, a collection of neologisms). In a similar vein, complex derivation of the type [un-V-lich]ADJ ‘un-V-able’ is shown to have remained productive for a longer period of time than its simplex parent schema [un-V-lich]ADJ. Moreover, many un-V-lich derivatives historically precede their unprefixed counterparts, or lack them altogether (unwiderstehlich ‘irresistible’, but *widerstehlich). Our third case study explores present day German pseudoparticiples (bebrillt ‘bespectacled’) using web data. The complex pattern can be shown to diverge stylistically from its parents schemas and also to provide semantically more uniform derivatives. Overall, our results show that the concept of unified schemas can help explain important differences in the development of the individual subpatterns in terms of morphological productivity and in terms of semantic aspects of the word-formation constructions.
GND Keywords: Historische Sprachwissenschaft ; Morphologie <Linguistik> ; Fallstudie
Keywords: Construction grammar, Morphology
DDC Classification: 420 English  
RVK Classification: HF 250   
Peer Reviewed: Ja
International Distribution: Ja
Type: Contribution to an Articlecollection
Year of publication: 16. April 2019