Modern Icelandic Word Formation

University dissertation from Uppsala : Institutionen för nordiska språk

Abstract: Icelandic is known for its conservative word formation, largely involving native sources. The main focus of the present research is to describe which mechanisms are used in forming words in Modern Icelandic. Furthermore, a postulated additional category within Icelandic complexes, introduced here under the label compilations, is examined.The discipline of word formation has not yet attained the attention it deserves within the science of language. Its status within linguistics is still not steadfast and there seems to be little agreement as to the methodological and the theoretical framework of the discipline. The present study offers some new ways of observing the system of word formation by trying to depict the sources, processes, patterns and results relevant to that system. The depiction constitutes a general theory of word formation, later applied to the Icelandic system. This theory is used, in turn, to establish the first hypothesis of the morpho-etymological types of Icelandic word formation. The second hypothesis, concerning compilations, attempts to solve the problem posed by a special type of complex containing syntagmatically bound but paradigmatically free morphs, such as aðal-, einka-, -fræðingur and -stjóri. This type of complex has been described as derivatives by some scholars and as compounds by others, but does not seem to fit in either category.The results show that almost all postulated word formation types are represented in the corpus. Moreover, compilations constitute a significant number of 10% of the studied data and are proved to be sufficiently distinct from derivatives and compounds to justify a separate category.

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