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Title: The development of '-free' and its competition with the suffix '-less' : a corpus based study
Author: Grabias, M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 6059 4154
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2016
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Standard grammars classify the combinations with –free as non-hyponymic adjective-centred compounds (Huddleston and Pullum 2002:1646). Górska (1994 and 2001) is the first to refer to them as derivatives and discuss their meaning relation with adjectives ending in –less. She proposes a cognitive differentiation between their formations, suggesting that they differ with regards to meaning evaluation and human participation as well as conceptual metaphors they express. She also suggests that the privative adjectives in English are undergoing a change, but since her approach is synchronic, she does not analyse it further. My dissertation aims to investigate that change by providing a systematic examination of dictionary entries and corpora occurrences and explaining how –free evolved in the history of English. It also accounts for the resulting competition between counterparts ending in both –free and –less as well as the possible social and cultural changes that underlie the creation of combinations with –free which tend to be the more recent members of the pairs. It is divided in two parts. The first part is a diachronic investigation of the origins of –free. It explores the change of meaning expressed by its formations and the development of present-day combinations by means of the change of semantic functions (according to Huddleston and Pullum 2002) and grammar patterns (following Pattern Grammar by Francis et al. (1996 and 1998)). Since the results of my examinations suggest that –free might be a result of grammaticalisation, I continue to review traditional parameters (Lehmann 1995) and principles ( Hopper 1991) as well as follow other successful studies of grammaticalisation from adjectives to suffixes in order to analyse the grammaticalisation of –free. The second part focuses on five representative pairs ending in –free and –less, i.e. carefree/careless, child-free/childless, pain-free/painless, sugar-free/sugarless and value-free/valueless. It investigates positive and negative evaluations (according to the positive/negative parameter by Hunston and Thomson 2000) associated with them, their collocates as well as collocate networks that I manually create (following Williams 1998 and Baker 2006) and compares their genre distribution. This study is innovative in providing an account of the origins of the combinations with –free in the history of English and proposing that it is undergoing grammaticalisation and becoming an adjectival suffix. It also investigates the relation of –free with –less, another suffix that developed from an adjective through grammaticalisation.
Supervisor: Gonzalez-Diaz, V. G. D. ; Lampropoulou, S. L. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral