Tagung zum Thema Wortbildung /

Conference on word formation

Bern, 5. / 6. Juni 2014


Lívia Körtvélyessy / Pavol Štekauer
P.J. Safarik University, Slowakei
Word-formation strategies: transparency vs. economy of complex words. A contrastive analysis of typologically different languages.

The paper examines the word-formation strategies of Polish, Hungarian and Bulgarian speakers of English in terms of the morphological type of their mother tongue. In particular, the empirical research is based on completing a form with naming tasks of three different types. By word-formation strategies we mean the preference for formally more economical vs. semantically more transparent complex words. The research is based on an onomasiological theory of word-formation. The sample of respondents includes 40 informants for each language plus a reference group of native English speakers. The informants completed the form twice, once for the English language and once for their mother language, which makes it possible to answer the following questions: Are the naming strategies in a non-mother language influenced by one’s mother tongue? Are the naming strategies of native speakers identical to or different from those of non-native speakers? Is there any relation between the word-formation system of a language and the preferred onomasiological type? In general, what is the dominant principle in coining complex words – formal economy or semantic transparency?

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