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The Semantics of Word Formation and Lexicalization$
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Pius ten Hacken and Claire Thomas

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780748689606

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748689606.001.0001

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Semantics of diminutivization

Semantics of diminutivization

evidence from Russian

(p.266) Chapter 14 Semantics of diminutivization
The Semantics of Word Formation and Lexicalization

Renáta Panocová

Edinburgh University Press

Whereas the study of the semantics of word formation in the generative tradition concentrates on the question of how a meaning can be associated with a form, in the onomasiological tradition a different range of questions determines the research of word formation. In this chapter this approach is illustrated on the basis of the word formation theory developed by Jan Horecký. Central in this approach is the so-called complete semantic definition (CSD). A CSD is a hierarchical structure of semantic features describing the possibilities arising in a particular domain of word formation. Here a CSD is developed for Russian diminutives. The questions arising in this process are which features play a role in the CSD and how they are positioned hierarchically with respect to each other. Compared to Horecký’s description of Slovak, the CSD of Russian diminutives requires three additional features. One of the outcomes of the CSD is a semantic characterization of the class of words that can be input to diminutivization in Russian. The latter is interesting, because despite its wide applicability, especially for nouns, there are some systematic exceptions of nouns that cannot be diminutivized.

Keywords:   onomasiological approach, evaluative morphology, diminutives, complete semantic definition, semantic features, Russian

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