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Title: The morphology and semantics of expressive affixes
Author: Fortin, Antonio
ISNI:       0000 0003 6019 0240
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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This dissertation focuses on two aspects of expressive affixes: their morphological/typological properties and their semantics. With regard to the former, it shows that the expressive morphology of many languages (including Bantu, West Atlantic, Walman, Sanskrit, English, Romance, Slavic, and others), has the following properties: 1) it is systematically anomalous when compared to plain morphology, or the ordinary processes of word-formation and inflection. From this, it follows that many familiar morphological arguments that adduce the data of expressive morphology ought to be reconsidered; and 2) it is far more pervasive than has been traditionally thought. For example, the Sanskrit preverb, and the Indo-European aspectual prefix/particle generally, are shown to have systematically expressive functions. With respect to the semantics of expressive affixes, it develops a novel multidimensional account, in the sense of Potts (2005, 2007), of Spanish "connotative affixes," which can simultaneously convey descriptive and expressive meaning. It shows that their descriptive meaning is that of a gradable adjective, viewed as a degree relation which includes a measure function, in the sense of Kennedy (1997). The expressive meanings of connotative affixes, and expressives generally, arise as they manipulate the middle coordinate, I, of expressive indices which, it is proposed, is inherently specified on all lexical items and canonically set to "neutral." It introduces a new mechanism, AFF, which is an algebraic operation for manipulating I, and which accounts for the well-known, and seemingly "contradictory," range of meanings that expressive affixes can express. Whereas prior work assumes that expressive affixes are inherently polysemous, this approach derives their many attested meanings and functions (e.g., "small," "young," "bad," deprecation, appreciation, hypocorism, intensification/exactness, and attenuation/approximation, as well as pragmatic effects like illocutionary mitigation) compositionally, from the interactions of their multidimensionality with the meanings of the roots to which they attach.
Supervisor: Maiden, Martin ; Asudeh, Arshia Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Linguistics ; Spanish ; Emotion ; semantics ; pragmatics ; morphology ; expressives ; typology