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Bookmark and Share Paper 2234

The French i-Conjugation from a Diachronic Perspective
Christoph Schwarze
35-49 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


This paper proposes a sketch of how /sk/, a Latin suffix of word formation, developed into an inflectional stem-extension in French. The reconstruction of the process rests upon the following assumptions: (1) morphological representations may differ from phonological surface representations; (2) inflectional classes are sets of properties and implications in the line of Wurzel (1984) and Dressler et al. (2003); (3) in addition to reanalysis and spreading, lexical storage is an important factor in morphological change. The author discusses Maiden's (2004) claim that /sk/ survived after the loss of its meaning because it was still a sign. He then presents a corpus-based study of the evolution of the i-conjugation from Old to Modern French. It shows that the combination of theme-vowel /i/ and stem-extension /s/ was already well established in Old French and then showed continuous lexical growth and remarkable stability.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 6th Décembrettes: Morphology in Bordeaux
edited by Fabio Montermini, Gilles Boyé, and Jesse Tseng
Table of contents
Printed edition: $190.00