[Lingtyp] Bound Roots and Affixes

Giorgio Francesco Arcodia giorgio.arcodia at unimib.it
Wed Jan 16 18:09:26 UTC 2019

Dear Chao,

This is one of the main issues I discuss in this monograph (open access):


All the very best,


Il giorno mer 16 gen 2019 alle ore 18:58 Chao Li <chao.li at aya.yale.edu> ha

> Dear Colleagues,
> I was wondering whether I could consult with you on the use of Greek roots
> that had been borrowed into English. For example, *bio*, *anti*, and
> *auto* have their origin in Greek. They are often analyzed as roots from
> Greek. However, in English such forms are generally positionally restricted
> and thus are often found in the list of English affixes (see Aikhenvald’s
> (2007: 28) observation that English has some forms that “are problematic as
> to whether they are better analyzed as roots or as affixes, e.g. *bio- *or
> *anthropo*-”). *I am wondering whether the counterparts of forms like
> bio, anti, and auto are positionally restricted in Greek as well*.
> More generally, *is it reasonable if we adopt a criterion that for a
> bound form to be analyzed as a bound root, it should be positionally
> unrestricted in a polymorphemic word with the meaning of the morpheme in
> question maintained the same in its different uses?* (It appears that
> such a criterion works pretty well for Mandarin Chinese). *If not, what
> is a good criterion for the distinction between bound roots and affixes?*
> (The criterion that the former have content and the latter do not doesn’t
> appear to be quite useful. Moreover, one may adopt the definition that a
> bound root is a bound morpheme denoting a thing, an action, or a property.
> If this definition leads to an analysis of *bio*, *anti*, and *auto* as
> bound roots because the first one denotes a thing and the latter two denote
> a property(??), how would we analyze *un-* as in *unable*?)
> Thank you so much in advance for your input and insight!
> Best regards,
> Chao
> [Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. 2007. Typological distinctions in
> word-formation. In Timothy Shopen (ed.), *Language Typology and Syntactic
> Description, Vol. III: Grammatical Categories and the Lexicon*, 2nd edn.,
> 1-65. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.]
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Prof. Dr. Giorgio Francesco Arcodia
馬振國博士 副教授
Vice-president, *European Association of Chinese Linguistics*
歐洲漢語語言學學會 副會長
Treasurer, *Associazione Italiana di Linguistica Cinese*
意大利漢語語言學學會 財務秘書

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