On the Notion of 'Suffixal Alternation' in Wordformation

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This paper presents the analysis of a subsystem of Portuguese nominal suffixes: on the one hand, learned suffixes that, according to historical grammarians, alternate with non-learned suffixes (e.g. -ário ~ -eiro) and, on the other hand, unproductive suffixes that were replaced by rival suffixes (e.g. -ádego; ‑agem).
Since suffixal correlations have synchronic effects on the productivity or non-productivity of some morphological processes, this study aims at:
- restricting the concepts of alternant suffixes and rival suffixes;
- providing evidence for the dissociation of suffixes and similar phonological elements that have never occurred as suffixes in Portuguese;
- contrasting the notion of derivative with that of inherited word;
- demonstrating the relevance of studies with an underlying diachronic perspective in the analysis of word-formation in general and of morphological productivity in particular, which enables us to disallow some synchronic descriptions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGrammar and Text
Subtitle of host publicationSelected papers from the 10th and 11th Fora for Linguistic Sharing
EditorsM.Antónia Coutinho, Beatriz Carvalho, Ana Guilherme, Joana Teixeira
Place of PublicationNewcastle Upon Tyne
PublisherCambridge Scholars Publishing
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)1-5275-0568-5
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventX Fórum de Partilha Linguística -
Duration: 27 Nov 201528 Nov 2015


ConferenceX Fórum de Partilha Linguística


  • morphology
  • word formation
  • portuguese historical grammars


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