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Stockholm University (04/06/2008), Olof Eriksson (Dir.)
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La formation agentive en français: les composés [VN/A/Adv/P]N/A et les dérivés V-ant, V-eur et V-oir(e)
Maria Rosenberg1, 2

This study addresses the French morphological construction [VN/A/Adv/P]N/A. The main objectives are to posit a single rule for its formation and to question the implications of the agent polysemy. The theoretical framework is lexeme-based morphology, which adheres to weak lexicalism. The first part of our analysis is qualitative and concerns the availability aspect of productivity. The method is introspective. The internal semantic patterns of the French construction are examined. Our results give evidence for the claim that a single morphological construction rule, [VN/A/Adv/P]N/A, is responsible for the cases where the first constituent is a verb stem, and the second constituent may correspond to an internal argument, an external argument or a semantic adjunct. All cases manifest the same patterns, which are related to the denotative meanings included in the agent polysemy: Agent, Instrument, Locative, Action, Result and Cause. Our contrastive analysis shows that the same patterns are found in the four Swedish agentive formations, [N/A/Adv/PV-are]N, [N/A/Adv/PV]N, [N/A/Adv/PV-a]N and [VN]N, which correspond to the French [VN/A/Adv/P]N/A construction and which also contain a verbal constituent and its internal or external argument, or an adjunct. The second part of our analysis is quantitative and concerns the profitability aspect of productivity. The method is inductive. The aim is to explore the polysemy of agent and its assumed hierarchical structure, in synchrony and diachrony. Four French agentive formations, [VN/A/Adv/P]N/A compounds and V-ant, V-eur and V-oir(e) derivations, are included in order to examine semantic competition and blocking effects. Our results give evidence for the existence of an agent polysemy but deny that it has a hierarchical structure valid for every agentive formation. The meanings in the agent polysemy are more or less profitable according to formation type: blocking effects could explain this behaviour.
1 :  Department of Department of French, Italian and Classical Languages
2 :  Stockholm University
agentive formations – agent nouns – compounds – contrastive – derivations – diachrony – French – instrument – lexeme – morphology – polysemy of agent – productivity – semantic patterns – semantics – Swedish – synchrony – VN compounds – verb stem – word formation

This study addresses the French morphological construction [VN/A/Adv/P]N/A. The main objectives are to posit a single rule for its formation and to question the implications of the agent polysemy. The theoretical framework is lexeme-based morphology, which adheres to weak lexicalism. The first part of our analysis is qualitative and concerns the availability aspect of productivity. The method is introspective. The internal semantic patterns of the French construction are examined. Our results give evidence for the claim that a single morphological construction rule, [VN/A/Adv/P]N/A, is responsible for the cases where the first constituent is a verb stem, and the second constituent may correspond to an internal argument, an external argument or a semantic adjunct. All cases manifest the same patterns, which are related to the denotative meanings included in the agent polysemy: Agent, Instrument, Locative, Action, Result and Cause. Our contrastive analysis shows that the same patterns are found in the four Swedish agentive formations, [N/A/Adv/PV-are]N, [N/A/Adv/PV]N, [N/A/Adv/PV-a]N and [VN]N, which correspond to the French [VN/A/Adv/P]N/A construction and which also contain a verbal constituent and its internal or external argument, or an adjunct. The second part of our analysis is quantitative and concerns the profitability aspect of productivity. The method is inductive. The aim is to explore the polysemy of agent and its assumed hierarchical structure, in synchrony and diachrony. Four French agentive formations, [VN/A/Adv/P]N/A compounds and V-ant, V-eur and V-oir(e) derivations, are included in order to examine semantic competition and blocking effects. Our results give evidence for the existence of an agent polysemy but deny that it has a hierarchical structure valid for every agentive formation. The meanings in the agent polysemy are more or less profitable according to formation type: blocking effects could explain this behaviour.
agentive formations – agent nouns – compounds – contrastive – derivations – diachrony – French – instrument – lexeme – morphology – polysemy of agent – productivity – semantic patterns – semantics – Swedish – synchrony – VN compounds – verb stem – word formation

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