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Li8 Structure of English. Word formation. Today’s topics. Types of word formation What they can reveal about other aspects of English. Main types of word formation. Affixation Prefix ( un- ) Suffix (- ish ) Saturative eye poker outer, blew dried… Infix:

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today s topics
Today’s topics
  • Types of word formation
  • What they can reveal about other aspects of English
main types of word formation
Main types of word formation
  • Affixation
    • Prefix (un-)
    • Suffix (-ish)
    • Saturative
      • eye poker outer, blew dried…
    • Infix:
      • lutidine  lupetidine, b-ass-ackwards (?), -iz-, -iznV- (shiznit), -mə- (Homeric infixation), expletive insertion
      • Cf. also language games like Oppen Gloppen
    • Are prefixes always prefixes, infixes always infixes, etc.?
  • Truncation
  • Blends (= portmanteaux??)…
  • English has many productive word formation processes
  • These can reveal interesting properties of the grammar and cognition
    • Phonological structure
    • Morphological analysis
    • Priorities in information preservation
selected references
Selected references

Adams, Michael. 2001. Infixing and interposing in English: a new direction. American Speech.

Bauer, Laurie 1993. Un-bloody-likely words. In L. Bauer & C. Franzen (eds), Of Pavlova, Poetry and Paradigms. Essays in Honour of Harry Orsman. Wellington: Victoria University Press.

Bopp, Tina 1971. On fucking (well). A study of some quasi-performative expressions. In A.M. Zwicky et al (eds), Studies Out of Left Field: defamatory essays presented to James D. McCawley. Edmonton: Linguistic Research.

McCarthy, John. 1982. Prosodic structure and expletive infixation. Language 58.3:574-590.

McCawley 1978. Where you can shove infixes. In Syllables and Segments.

McMillan, James. 1980. Infixing and interposing in English. American Speech.

Sheidlower, Jesse. 1999. The F-word, second edition. Random House.

Siegel 1974. Topics in English morphology. Doctoral dissertation, MIT.

Yu, Alan. 2003. Reduplication in English Homeric Infixation. Paper presented at NELS, SUNY-Stony Brook.

Zonneveld, Wim. 1984. The Game of the Name: Expletive Insertion in English. Linguistic Analysis 13.1:55-60.

how does iz infixation work
How does iz-infixation work?
  • “to be annizounced”
  • Lizadies
  • Mo Money, Mo Problems
    • Lyrically, niggaz see, B.I.G. be flossin jig on the cover of Fortune Five double oh, here's my phone number Your man ain't got to know, I got to go Got the flow down pizat, platinum plus Like thizat, dangerous on trizack, leave your ass blizzack
homeric infixation
Homeric Infixation
  • Yu 2003
    • “insert -ma- after disyllabic trochaic foot”
      • Trochaic foot = σσ
    • “this infix can never appear at the edge”
      • “Two strategies are available to ensure non-peripherality: partial reduplication when the stressed syllable is open and schwa epenthesis when the stressed syllable is closed”
        • oboe-ma-boe
        • grape-a-ma-fruit
  • Some problems with Yu’s analysis:
    • Doesn’t specify initial trochaic foot
    • Doesn’t deal with all disyllabic word types
      • Doesn’t get sitar  sitarmatar, etc.


how does expletive insertion work
How does expletive insertion work?

Let 'em riot. We're Sonic-fuckin'-Death Monkey!

Lady, I wanna get to the bottom of this. ASAFP.

Oh, so do I.

But first I'd like to... butter your muffin.

Why do you have to be such a wanker?

Because I get off on it!

  • Some non-phonological aspects:
  • What parts of speech can it affix to?
  • What exactly does it mean?
  • Is it the same as my fucking job, etc.?
  • Old analysis: must precede main stress and be preceded (but not immediately) by tertiary stress
    • McCawley: -fuckin'- and other infixable epithets optimally go between a light and a heavy beat, as in fan-fucking-tastic
    • Doesn’t get *sur-fucking-prise
  • McCarthy 1982, Pinker 1994: at foot boundary
    • Parallel to aspiration? (we will see how aspiration works in one of the next lectures)





V i n a t i e r i

is affix location fixed
Is affix location fixed?
  • Do infixes always have to be infixes, suffixes always have to be suffixes, etc.?
  • No:
    • Homshetsma imperfective affix:
      • gu lom ‘I cry’, g-ertom ‘I go’
      • garta-gu-m ~ garto-m-gu ‘I read’
    • In Austroasiatic and Austronesian languages, certain VC affixes go before the first vowel of a word, i.e. they are prefixes of V-initial words [VC[V...]] but infixes of C-initial words [C[VC]V...]. (David Stampe)
  • normal pattern (truncate R side)
    • Catherine  Cath, Cathy
    • Lester  Les, not *Lest (cf. frus)
  • Truncate L side:
    • [fre]shmen, [we]blog, [atti]tude, [Hurri]Canes, [po]taters, [uni]varsity
    • [mu]shroom, [hy]dro (type of ganja), [be]tween[ager], [a]fro, [tele]phone, [hair]do-rag
  • subtleties:
    • Montgomery  Monty not *Montgy
    • Victoria  Vicky, not *Victy
    • streptococcus  strep (*strept)
  • 2 parts:
    • brunch vs. blunch
    • himbo, manthrax
    • cankle (Shallow Hal)
    • ga(y)dar
    • fugly
    • flabalanche (Hans and Franz)
    • egotestical
    • sexile
    • procrasturbate
  • 3 parts:
    • Kentaco Hut
    • Texarkana
    • Frappalattecino
  • Infixing? (ricockulous, ridonculous)
  • From wikipedia:
    • “In British English, the term mockney (a Portmanteau of "mock" and "cockney") has come to be used, predominantly in the media, to describe those who present themselves as cockneys (or, by extension, other working-class groups) with the intention of gaining popular credibility. A stereotypical mockney comes from a middle or upper-middle class background in England's Home Counties…It is an affectation sometimes adopted for aesthetic purposes, other times just to sound "cool" or in attempt to generate street credibility. The phenomenon was first named in the mid-1990s and was made famous in describing Britpop bands such as Blur and, on occasions, politicians such as Tony Blair.”
ga y dar
  • the ability of one gay person to spot another
  • the ability to identify a gay male