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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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Semiproductivity and the place of word formation in grammar

Semiproductivity and the place of word formation in grammar

(p.28) Chapter 2 Semiproductivity and the place of word formation in grammar
The Semantics of Word Formation and Lexicalization

Piusten Hacken

Edinburgh University Press

In the discussion of morphology in his Parallel Architecture, Jackendoff (2002, 2010) does not distinguish between inflection and derivation, but only between productive and non-productive rules. In terms of Corbin’s (1987) analysis of productivity, Jackendoff’s notion of productivity is based on regularity and rentabilité (‘profitability’), rather than on disponibilité (‘availability’). This causes problems when we consider processes that are available, but not entirely automatic in their application, a phenomenon which Jackendoff calls semiproductivity. As I argue here, partial regularity and partial profitability can be explained as a result of the need for a new name. A new word is not produced because the rule is available, but because a new concept is to be named. This concept then contributes decisively to the resulting meaning. The crucial point is whether a word formation process is available for the formation of new lexical entries or not. This cannot be expressed propertly in Jackendoff’s system unless a separate word formation components is added to his Parallel Architecture. As a consequence, semiproductivity is reduced to an epiphenomenon, emerging from the interaction of the word formation component with naming needs.

Keywords:   productivity, naming, availability, regularity, profitability, semiproductivity, word formation, inflection, Parallel Architecture

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