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Franz Rainer. 2005. Semantic Change in Word Formation

Franz Rainer. 2005. Semantic Change in Word Formation

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Published by: José Vargas Ponce on Aug 29, 2011
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04/08/2014

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Semantic
change
in
word
formation
1
FRANZRAINER
Abstract
The
presentarticle
seeks
to
provide an answer
to the
following
question:
ac-
cording
to which
mechanisms
may
a pattern
of
word
formation
develop
a
new
meaning?
In order
to
keep
the
task
to
a
manageable
size
only
changeswill
be considered, the
result
of
which
stays
within
the
same
type
of
pattern
(affixation,
compounding,
etc.).
Hence,
we
will
not
discuss
how
affixes
de-
velop
out
of
compounds
or similar
phenomena.
The
only
scholar
who,
to
the
best
of
my
knowledge,
has
addressedthis
issue
in
a systematic
and
compre-hensive
manner
is
Jaberg
(1905),
who
claimed
that
semantic
change
in
affixation
is
always
the
result
of
semantic
change
in
individual
words
plus
reanalysis.
Ourstudy
will
reveal, however,
that,
though
this
is
in
fact
the
most
common
scenario,there
is
yet
another,
hitherto
ignoredmechanism
of
semantic
change
in
word
ormation
where
no
lexical
change
is
involved.
This
mechanism,
which will be
called
"approximation,"
allows
a
mismatch
to
arise
between
a
wordformation
pattern
and
a
neologism
formed
accord-ing
to
it,
if
the
distance
is
bridged
by
metaphoror
metonymy.
1.
Jaberg
(1905):
semantic
change
in
word
formation as
lexical
change
plus
reanalysis
Semanticchange
may
not
only
affectsingle
words,
but
also patterns
2
of
wordformation.
Two
classic
examples,
one
from
Germanic
and
one from
Romance, may
suffice
to
illustrate
this
fact.
The
first one
is
the
emergence
of
verb-noun compounds
in
German,
which
Osthoff
(1878:
15)
was
the
first
toexplain
as
due
to
a
reanalysis
as
verb-noun
compounds
of
noun-noun
compounds
whose first
noun
could
also
be
interpreted,
both
formally
and
semantically,
as
a
verb
stem.
This
explanation,
which
is
now commonly
accepted
amongstudents
of
Ger-
man
word formation,
is
summarized
by
Henzen
(1965
[1947])
as
follows:
Linguistics
43-2
(2005),
415-441
0024-3949/05/0043-0415
©
Walter
de
Gruyter
 
416
F
Rainer
Ausgangspunkt
bilden
zweifellos
W6rter
mit
einem
Substantiv
an
erster
Stelle,
das
auch
als
Verbalstamm
aufgefaBt
werden
konnte.
Schlafkammer,
ahd.
slaflamara,
ist,
nach
Ausweis
der
iibrigenBildungen
mit
slaf-,
einaltes
Substantivkomposi-
tum;
dennoch
fassenwir denersten
Teilals
Verbum,
und
in
der
gleichenzwiespal-
tigen
oder
unentschiedenenLage befinden
sich
noch zahlreiche
Falle
wie
Werktag
(engl.
workday),
Baustein,Ruhebett,
reisefertig.
Diese
Entwicklung
hat
im
Ahd.ihren
Anfang
genommen.(Henzen
1965
[1947]:
69-70)3
Thus,according
to
this
analysis,
OHG
slafkamara,
4
originally
meaning
'room
(kamara)
for
sleep
(slaf),'
has
been
reinterpreted
as
'room
forsleeping
(slaf-).'
The semantic
change here
is
very
subtle,
almost
imper-
ceptible
on
purely
extensional
grounds,
as
is
generallythe
case
between
a
verb
and
its
correspondingaction noun:the
difference
is
normallycharac-
terized
as
onebetween
an
activity
viewed
as suchin
the
case
of
the
verb
and
the
same
activity
viewed as
anentity
in
the
case
of
the actionnoun.Somewhatmore
concrete
but
also
moreintricate
is
the
semantic
evolu-
tion
that
led
Latin
-aticus,
a
suffix
originallyformingrelational
adjectiveslike
herbaticus
relating
to
grass'(from
herb-
'grass'),toend
up
in
French
as
a
collective
suffix
(cf.
plumage
'plumage,'from
plume
'feather')and
as
an
action
noun
suffix
(cf.
lavage
'washing,'from
lav-
'to
wash').
Accord-
ing
toFleischman
(1977),
both
changes
presupposethe
use
of
-aticus
in
Late Latin
as
a
nominal
suffix
designating
taxes,
a
new
function
which
arose
through
the
ellipsis
of
thenounmeaning
'tax'
(census,
tributum,
etc.)
in
noun
phrases
of
theform
census,
tributum,
etc.
+
relational
adjec-
tive
in
-aticus/um.
Thus,for
example,asearly
as
722,
herbaticum
is
at-testedwith
the
meaning'paymentfor rightto
pasture
stock'
(Fleischman
1977:
29).
The
changefrom 'tax'to
collective
meaning
is
explained
in
the
followingterms
by
Fleischman:
Taxes
on
goods
and
agriculturalproducts
were
frequently
paid
in
kind
rather
than
in
money.
From
the
meaning
'tax
paid
in
a
particularcommodity'
to
thatof
'the
commodityitself'
is
but
a
short
step
semantically,
and
given
thefact
that
the
majority
of
such
commodities
were,
grammatically
speaking,
collectives
or
mass
nouns,
a
number
of
Old
French
tax
designations
thus
acquired
an additional
col-lective
meaning,
cf.
cortillage
(-
cortil
small
enclosure')
'tax
on
garden
produce,'
'vegetables,
garden
produce';
[...].
(Fleischman
1977: 91)
The
same
kind
of
explanation
is
given
for
the
rise
of
the
action
meaning:
In
addition
to
commodities,
work
activitieswere
alsotaxed,
notably
those
in
which
the subordinate
utilizedthe
facilities
belonging
to
the
lord
or
for
whichhe
had
to
obtain
the
lord's
permission.The passage
from
'tax
on
a
given
activity'
to
'the
activity
itself'
to
'verbal
action
signifyingsuch
an
activity'
(and
eventually
to 'verbal
actionper
se')
is
a
logicalsemantic
transition
and
onewhich
probably
 
Semantic
change
in
wordformation
417
resulted
in
a
number
of
tax
designations'
coming
to functionconcurrently
as
actionnouns
(especially
incases
of
deverbalderivation).
(Fleischman
1977:
92)
Every
morphologistcould
supply
manymore
examples
of
this kindfromany
language
familiarto
him.
However,
though
thephenomenon
in
itself
has
beenwell-known
since
the
nineteenth
century
andpertinent
observa-
tions on
single cases
abound
in
the
literature,it
is
surprisingthat,to
the
best
of
myknowledge,
no
scholar
seems
to
have
tackled
the
problem
in
asystematic
and
comprehensive
manner.
No
systematic
treatment
of
our
problemmay
be
found
in
general
handbooks
suchas
Paul
(1975
[1880]),
Breal
(1924
[1897]),
Sturtevant
(1917),
Bloomfield
(1984
[1933]),
Anttila
(1989),
Hock
(1991),
or
Lehmann
(1992),
nor
in
Malkiel's
(1966)
mono-graphic
article
or
in
collective
volumes
on
historical
semantics
(andwordformation)
like
Fisiak
(1985)
or
Blank
andKoch
(1999).
The
same
is
truefor
language-specific
histories
of
word
formation
like
Henzen
(1965
[1947]),
Marchand
(1969
[1962]),
Nyrop
(1908),
or
Meyer-Liibke
(1966
[1921]),
the
most
complete
treatment
being
thatof
Leumann
(1963:
§167).
The
only exception
seems
to
be
Jaberg's
(1905)
substantial
review
of
Roediger
(1904),
the
first
monograph
in
Romance
linguistics
devotedto
thesemantic
development
of
an
affix.
Jaberg's
theory
of
semanticchange
in
word
formation
is
statedin
such
a
succinct
manrier
that
it
will
be best
to
quoteit verbatim
here.
He
starts outwith
a premise
on
the
nature of
the
meaning
of
suffixes:
5
Was
wir
'Bedeutung
eines
Suffixes'
nennen,
ist
nicht
ein
selbstandiger
Begriff;
es
ist
bloB
die
konstanteModifikation
verschiedenerGrundbegriffe.
Fur
das
Sprach-
bewu[3tsein
bilden
Stamm
und
Suffix
einen
einzigen
Begriff.
6
(Jaberg
1905:
459)
From
this
subsidiary
role
of
the
meaning
of
suffixes
with
respect
to
the
meaning
of
words,
Jabergthen
derives
the
following consequences:
Das
Suffix
alssolches
kann
somit
seine
Bedeutungnichtverandern,
es
verandert
sie
nur
in
Verbindung
mit
demStamm.
Sobaldnunaber
eine
Anzahl von
W6r-
tern,
die
mit
demselben
Suffix
gebildet
sind,
ihreBedeutung
nach
derselbenRich-
tung
hin
verandern,
so
verandert
sich
auch
die
Funktion
des
Suffixes;
wir
sagen:
es
hat
eine
neue
'Bedeutung'erhalten. Dies
aul3ert
sich
darin,
daB
mit
dem
Suffix
in
neuer
Bedeutungneue
Ableitungen
gebildet
werden.
Es
ergebensich
aus demVor-hergehendenfolgendemethodische
Forderungen:
1)
Die Bedeutungsiinderung
eines
Suffixes
ist
aus
dem Bedeutungsilbergang
einzelner
W6rter
zuerklaren.
2)
Es
ist ein
prinzipieller
Unterschied
zu
machen
zwischenBedeutungsuibergangen
einzelner
W6rterundNeubildungen
auf
Grund
einerneuen
Bedeutung
des
Suf-
fixes.
7
(Jaberg
1905:
459)
The
secondone
of
these
methodological
claims
is
undoubtedly
correct.
What
I would
like
to
investigate
in
this
article
is
whether
this
is
also
true

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