Lexical operations and high -level syntactic operations with Old English -a, -e, -o, and -u

Miguel Lacalle Palacios

Abstract

The aim of this article is to explain the lexical and high-level syntactic operations comprising the Old English suffixes -a, -e, -o and -u. Previous research has dealt with these suffixes, which constitute an area of overlapping between inflection and derivation, in terms of inflection, zero derivation or continuity between inflection and derivation. The position adopted in this article is that these affixes are fully derivational, although interesting points of convergence with inflection arise that deserve discussion. In this respect, a fundamental difference is made between explicit and implicit morphological relations. Such relations are considered in the derivational and the inflectional dimensions. Regarding lexical operations, the analysis concentrates on the subjective and objective functions realized by these suffixes, while, as far as high-level syntactic operations are concerned, a distinction is drawn between motivated and unmotivated inflective relations. The fact that most of the suffixes under scrutiny perform the subjective and the objective function is in keeping with the Separation Hypothesis, in terms of which grammatical morphemes are the output of phonological operations independent of the semantic operations that they realize. The results are also in accordance with the Universal Grammatical Function Theory, which predicts that the functions of inflectional and lexical derivation are the same.

Keywords

Morphology; Lexeme-Morpheme Base Morpoholgy; inflection; derivation; Old English

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