On the Productivity of the English suffixes: -ness and -ity

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Jimin Kim

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Department of English Language and Literature, Seoul National University
SNU Working papers, Vol. 19
suffix productivityOEDmonosuffix constraintclosing suffix
The sources of the differential distribution of the two nominalizing suffixes, -ness and -ity, have been examined in this study. The overall productivity status of the two suffixes between the nineteenth and twentieth century was explored. Further, Lees (2012) proposal to employ the monosuffix constraint and the closing suffix constraint, proposed by Aronoff and Fuhrhops (2002), to account for the differential selection patterns of the two suffixes and the case of -ous deletion have been reviewed with the data drawn from the Oxford English Dictionary. We found that over the two centuries, -ity has been more productive as compared to -ness. Also, we were able to confirm the claim relating to the monosuffix constraint, while finding a minimal number of
exceptions, all being the cases of -able suffixation. Finally, the claims regarding the -ous deletion were not fully consistent with our data, implying the possibility of further unexplored constraints at play.
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College of Humanities (인문대학)English Language and Literature (영어영문학과)SNU Working Papers in English Language and LinguisticsSNU Working Papers in English Language and Linguistics Vol.19 (2023)
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