English Lexicogenesis

ISBN : 9780199689880

D. Gary Miller
336 Pages
163 x 240 mm
Pub date
Feb 2014
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English Lexicogenesis investigates the processes by which novel words are coined in English, and how they are variously discarded or adopted, and frequently then adapted. Gary Miller looks at the roles of affixation, compounding, clipping, and blending in the history of lexicogenesis, including processes taking place right now. The first four chapters consider English morphology and the recent types of word formation in English: the first introduces the morphological terminology used in the work and the book's theoretical perspectives; chapter 2 discusses productivity and constraints on derivations; chapter 3 describes the basic typology of English compounds; and chapter 4 considers the role of particles in word formation and recent construct types specific to English. Chapters 5 and 6 focus respectively on analogical and imaginative aspects of neologistic creation and the roles of metaphor and metonymy. In chapters 7 and 8 the author considers the influence of folk etymology and tabu, and the cycle of loss of expressivity and its renewal. After outlining the phonological structure of words and its role in word abridgements, he examines the acoustic and perceptual motivation of word forms. He then devotes four chapters to aspects and functions of truncation and to reduplicative and conjunctive formations. In the final chapter he looks at the relationship between core and expressive morphology and the role of punning and other forms of language play, before summarizing his arguments and findings and setting out avenues for future research.


1. Theoretical assumptions
2. Productivity and constraints
3. Compounding
4. New patterns of derivation
5. Novel word crafting
6. Metaphor and metonymy
7. Folk etymology and tabu
8. The cycle of expressivity
9. Phonological form and abridgements
10. Sound symbolism
11. Clipping
12. Blending
13. Formative extraction, combining forms, and neoclassical compounding
14. Reduplicative and conjunctive formations
15. Core and expressive morphology: Conclusion

About the author: 

D. Gary Miller is Professor Emeritus of Linguistics and Classics at the Universities of Florida and Colorado, Boulder. His books include Homer and the Ionian Epic Tradition (1982), Improvisation, Typology, Culture, and 'The New Orthodoxy': How 'Oral' is Homer? (1982), Complex Verb Formation (1993), Ancient Scripts and Phonological Knowledge (1994), Nonfinite Structures in Theory and Change (OUP 2002), Latin Suffixal Derivatives in English (OUP 2005), Language Change and Linguistic Theory (2 vols, OUP 2010), and External Influences on English: From Beginnings to the Renaissance (OUP 2012).

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