Noun Layers in Old English: Mismatches and Asymmetry in Lexical Derivation

Javier Martín Arista


The aim of the article is to explain the form-function mismatches that occur in the formation of Old English nouns. The analysis identifies pairs of derived nouns that share a lexemic root and represent instances of near-synonymy. Two types of mismatch are found in the formation of nouns, namely convergent derivation due to the competition of suffixes and convergent derivation resulting from the competition of bases. Four types of asymmetry can be distinguished: on the grounds of process, category, productivity and recursivity. The existence of mismatches and the associated asymmetry indicate two waves of word-formation that configure two layers in the lexicon of Old English.



Old English; word-formation; lexical layers; mismatch; asymmetry

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