Hapax Legomena and the Productivity of the Old English Weak Verb Suffixes

Roberto Torre Alonso, Gema Maíz Villalta


The aim of this article is to measure the productivity of the Old English weak verb suffixes -ettan, -læcan, -sian, -nian, -lian, -erian and -cian from a synchronic point of view by taking into account the role played by hapax legomena. Productivity in the narrow sense P and global productivity P* are measured and frequency is calculated in terms of type and token. Three types of hapax legomena are distinguished, namely absolute hapaxes (unique formations that appear in one text), relative hapaxes (formations that appear in different texts, but only once in each text) and mixed hapaxes (a subsumption of both types). This typology of hapaxes puts the focus on -sian, -erian, -lian and -cian, which range between very low and zero productivity.



Old English; weak verb; suffix; productivity; frequency; hapax legomenon

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