[Lingtyp] Dissecting morphological theory 2: Diminutivization in root-, stem- and word-based morphology

Stela Manova stela.manova at univie.ac.at
Thu Jun 24 19:18:58 UTC 2021


*Dissecting morphological theory 2: Diminutivization in root-, stem- and 
word-based morphology *


Workshop to be held in conjunction with the 46th Austrian Linguistics 
Conference / 46. Österreichische Linguistiktagung (ÖLT) in Vienna on 
11-12 December 2021


Call for papers





This workshop scrutinizes and compares theoretical assumptions in 
morphology. Diminutivization serves as a testing ground. The goal is to 
bring together scholars working within different theoretical frameworks 
as well as computational and experimental morphologists.

Diminutive morphology presents a number of theoretical challenges. Just 
a few issues illustrated primarily with organizers’ research:


    Diminutive affixes if attached to nouns denoting persons do not
    derive diminutives (proper), e.g. Russian mamočka ‘mother-DIM,
    mommy’ does not mean ‘small mother’; thus, some diminutive forms
    appear closely related to hypocoristics (Dressler & Merlini
    Barbaresi 1994; Korecky-Kröll & Dressler 2007; Simonović &
    Arsenijević 2015; Manova et al. 2017).


    Diminutive affixes can change fundamental properties of nouns such
    as gender and countability (Manova & Winternitz 2011;Arsenijević
    2016); in the verbal domain, diminutive affixes can change the
    conjugation class and/or valency of the base (Oltra-Massuet &
    Castroviejo 2014).


    Unlike diminutive nouns, not all diminutive verbs are derived from
    verbs (Grestenberger & Kallulli 2019); and “small is many in the
    event domain”  (Tovena 2011).


    Diminutive affixes can be repeated; all diminutivizers express the
    same semantics but they do not combine with each other freely
    (Manova & Winternitz 2011; Merlini Barbaresi 2012).

To make theoretical assumptions comparable, we differentiate between 
composition and decomposition and recognize three types 
ofcompositionexemplified with the organizations of three theories of 
morphology: Distributed Morphology (DM), Paradigm Function Morphology 
(PFM) and Natural Morphology (NM) :


    Root-based:composition in DM (Halle & Marantz 1998, Bobaljik 2017)
    is of this type, i.e. in a syntax-oriented model such as DM, a
    derivation takes place step-by-step starting from the root, e.g.
    from √read. In DM, roots have a special status and are categoriless;
    the affix attached to the root provides the syntactic category, i.e.
    affixes are heads. However, recent DM studies (De Belder 2011;
    Lowenstamm 2015; Creemers et al. 2018) have claimed that some
    affixes are roots, i.e. categoriless too (on the categorization of
    diminutive suffixes, Grestenberger & Kallulli 2019).


    Stem-based: PFM (Stump 2001) links words in slots of inflectional
    paradigms but derives those words stem-based. Stump (2016) speaks of
    content paradigm, form paradigm and realized paradigm; the
    composition of a word form takes place in the form paradigm and
    starts from a stem (e.g. read; Latin hortā-, from hortor‘encourage’)
    to which then pieces of word structure without semantics (PFM is
    a-morphous) are attached by rules of exponence. The prototypical
    stem has the shape of [root + morpheme]. Similar to roots, stems may
    be categoriless, i.e. morphomes (Aronoff 1994). Morphomes are not
    associated with specific semantics, cannot be derived syntactically
    and are evidence for the existence of morphology by itself, i.e.
    against DM where morphology is distributed between syntax and
    phonology. Nevertheless, recent DM studies seem to use morphomes:
    combinations of categoriless roots and categoriless affixes
    (mentioned in 1) are morphomic stems in a stem-based analysis.


    Word-based:NM (Dressler et al. 1987) is morphology by itself,
    functionalist and cognitively oriented, and allows for root-, stem-
    and word-based composition. Since words have a primary role in
    discourse, word-based morphology is seen as the most natural,
    root-based morphology being the least natural, i.e. if a root or a
    stem coincides with a word (e.g. read), the base is classified as a

With respect to decomposition, all three theories agree that people 
communicate with words and that the latter have internal structure, i.e. 
decomposition seems exclusively word-based. Recent DM-related 
neurolinguistic research has provided experimental evidence for this 
assumption: speakers decompose the (visual) stimulus (e.g. teacher) into 
morphemes, look these up in the mental lexicon, and recombine them 
(Fruchter et al. 2013; Fruchter & Marantz 2015). It has to be mentioned 
herein that PFM and NM have not explicitly addressed decomposition. 
Additionally, in PFM composition is exclusively related to form 
(a-morphous production of forms); in NM composition involves meaning and 
form (NM morphemes relate meaning and form); and in DM composition 
refers to meaning (DM morphemes are abstract and correspond to syntactic 
terminal nodes), while decomposition involves form and meaning (visual 
stimuli such as teacher are well-formed words and thus have meaning). On 
the relation of meaning and form in morphology, see Manova et al. (2020).

Finally, regarding the organization of morphology, i.e. the 
derivation-inflection divide:


    in DM, there is no principal difference between derivational and
    inflectional affixes, i.e. both types of affixes can serve as heads;
    note, however, that the recent claim that some affixes are roots
    (references in 1) holds only for derivational affixes;


    PFM has been explicitly defined as a theory of inflectional
    morphology (Stump 2001) but paradigms have been postulated for
    derivational morphology as well (Bonami & Strnadová 2019 and
    references therein);


    in NM derivation and inflection are the two poles of a continuum and
    there are thus prototypical and non-prototypical derivation and
    inflection (Dressler 1989), diminutivization of nouns being an
    example of non-prototypical derivation, i.e. between derivation and
    inflection but on the derivational side (Dressler & Korecky-Kröll 2015).

We invite papers that, based on diminutives, discuss the (dis)advantages 
of a single theoretical framework or different theories comparatively. 
Papers that profit from a mix of theories are also welcome. Possible 
topics include, but are not limited to:


    Diminutivization of major word classes


    Diminutivization and non-major word classes


    Diminutivization and the derivation-inflection divide


    Gender, animacy, countability and diminutivization of nouns


    Aspect, pluractionality and diminutivization of verbs


    Diminutives versus hypocoristics


    Diminutivization of diminutives


    Acquisition of diminutive morphology


    Diachrony of diminutive morphology


    Diminutive morphology in language contact


    Sociolinguistic variation of diminutive morphology


    Experimental and computational evidence versus theoretical assumptions

Important dates

Deadline for abstract submission: 20 July 2021

Acceptance notifications: Beginning of September

Workshop: 11-12 December 2021 in Vienna (if the pandemic situation 
allows, otherwise the workshop will be held online)

Abstract submission

Anonymous abstracts of max. 300 words (excluding references) in either 
English or German should be submitted via the online form “Registrierung 
Abstracts”, the second form on the following  webpage: 
<https://oelt2021.univie.ac.at/workshops-abstracts/>. In the field 
“Einreichung für den Workshop“, please put the title of the workshop 
“Dissecting morphological theory 2: Diminutivization in root-, stem- and 
word-based morphology”.


Stela Manova <http://homepage.univie.ac.at/stela.manova/>& Katharina 
Korecky-Kröll <https://homepage.univie.ac.at/katharina.korecky-kroell/>

Selected references

Aronoff, Mark (1994). Morphology by Itself. Cambridge, Ma: MIT Press.

Arsenijević, Boban (2016). Gender, like classifiers, marks uniform 
atomicity: Evidence from Serbo-Croatian. CLS (Chicago Linguistic 
Society)52, University of Chicago, 21-23. 4. 2016.

Belder, Marijke De (2011). Roots and affixes, eliminating lexical 
categories from syntax. PhD diss., Utrecht University.

Bobaljik, Jonathan (2017). Distributed Morphology. Oxford Research 
Encyclopedia of Linguistics.Retrieved 17 Jun. 2021, from 

Bonami, Olivier & Jana Strnadová (2019). Paradigm structure and 
predictability in derivational morphology. Morphology29(2): 167–197.

Creemers, Ava., Jan Don & Paula Fenger (2018). Some affixes are roots, 
others are heads. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory36:45–84. 

Dressler, Wolfgang U. (1989). Prototypical differences between 
inflection and derivation. Zeitschrift für Phonetik, Sprachwissenschaft 
und Kommunikationsforschung 42: 3-10.

Dressler,Wolfgang U., Willi Mayerthaler, Oswald Panagl  & Wolfgang U. 
Wurzel (1987). Leitmotifs in Natural Morphology. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Dressler, Wolfgang U. & Lavinia Merlini Barbaresi (1994). 
Morphopragmatics: diminutives and intensifiers in Italian, German, and 
other languages. Berlin: de Gruyter.

Dressler, Wolfgang U. & Katharina Korecky-Kröll (2015). Evaluative 
morphology and language acquisition. In Nicola Grandi & Livia 
Körtvélyessy (eds.). Edinburgh Handbook of Evaluative Morphology, 
134-141.Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Fruchter, Joseph & Alec Marantz (2015). Decomposition, lookup, and 
recombination: MEG evidence for the Full Decomposition model of complex 
visual word recognition. Brain and Language 143: 81–96.

Fruchter, Joseph, Linnaea Stockall  & Alec Marantz (2013). MEG masked 
priming evidence for form-based decomposition of irregular verbs. 
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 7: 1–16.

Grestenberger, Laura & Dalina Kallulli (2019). The largesse of 
diminutives: suppressing the projection of roots. In M. Baird & J. 
Pesetsky (eds.), Proceedings of NELS 49, Cornell University, Oct. 5-7, 
2018, vol. 2, 61–74. Amherst: GLSA. Available at: 

Halle, Morris & Alec Marantz (1993). Distributed morphology and the 
pieces of inflection. In Kenneth Hale & Samuel Jay Keyser (eds.), The 
view from building 20, 111–176. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Korecky-Kröll, Katharina & Wolfgang U. Dressler (2007). Diminutives and 
hypocoristics in Austrian German (AG). In Ineta Savickienė & Wolfgang U. 
Dressler. eds. The acquisition of diminutives. A cross-linguistic 
perspective, 207-230. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Lowenstamm, Jean (2015). Derivational affixes as roots: Phasal spell-out 
meets English stress shift. In Artemis Alexiadou, Hagit Borer & Florian 
Schäfer (eds.) The syntax of roots and the roots of syntax, 230–259. 
Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Manova, Stela & Kimberley Winternitz (2011). Suffix order in double and 
multiple diminutives: with data from Polish and Bulgarian. Studies in 
Polish Linguistics 6: 115-138. URL: 

Manova, Stela, Dušan Ptáček  & Renáta Gregová (2017). Second-grade 
diminutives in Czech and Slovak: A contrastive study with data from 
corpora. In Luka Repanšek & Matej Šekli (eds.). 12. letno srečanje 
Združenja za slovansko jezikoslovje / 12th Slavic Linguistics Society 
Annual Meeting / XII ежегодная конференция Общества славянского 
языкознания. Ljubljana, Slovenia, Sept. 21-24. Založba ZRC, Inštitut za 
slovenski jezik Frana Ramovša, pp. 121-122. ISBN 978-961-05-0027-8.

Manova, Stela, Harald Hammarström, Itamar Kastner & Yining Nie (2020). 
What is in a morpheme? Theoretical, experimental and computational 
approaches to the relation of meaning and form in morphology. Word 
Structure 13(1): 1-21.

Merlini Barbaresi, Lavinia (2012). Combinatorial patterns among Italian 
evaluative affixes. SKASE Journal of Theoretical Linguistics9(1): 2-14. 
URL: http://www.skase.sk/Volumes/JTL20/pdf_doc/1.pdf 

Oltra-Massuet, Isabel & Elena Castroviejo (2014). A syntactic approach 
to the morpho-semantic variation of -ear. Lingua151: 120-41.

Simonović, Marko & Boban Arsenijević (2015).Just small or small and 
related: On two kinds of diminutives in Serbo-Croatian. Presented at 
TIN-dag, 7 February 2015, Utrecht: 

Stump, Gregory T. (2001). Inflectional morphology.Cambridge: Cambridge 
University Press.

Stump, Gregory T. (2016) Inflectional paradigms: content and form at the 
syntax-morphology interface. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Tovena, Lucia M.. (2011). When Small Is Many in the Event Domain. Lexis 
[Online]6: 41-58, URL : http://journals.openedition.org/lexis/414 
<http://journals.openedition.org/lexis/414>; DOI: 10.4000/lexis.414.*

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