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Extravagant “fake” morphemes in Dutch. Morphological productivity, semantic profiles and categorical flexibility

Kristel Van Goethem EMAIL logo and Muriel Norde

Abstract

Dutch features several morphemes with “privative” semantics that occur as left-hand members in compounds (e.g., imitatieleer ‘imitation leather’, kunstgras ‘artificial grass’, nepjuwelen ‘fake jewels’). Some of these “fake” morphemes display great categorical flexibility and innovative adjectival uses. Nep, for instance, is synchronically attested as an inflected adjective (e.g., neppe cupcake ‘fake cupcake’). In this paper, we combine an extensive corpus study of eight Dutch “fake” morphemes with statistical methods in distributional semantics and collexeme analysis in order to compare their semantic and morphological properties and to find out which factors are the driving forces behind their exceptional “extravagant” morphological behavior. Our analyses show that debonding and adjectival reanalysis are triggered by an interplay of two factors, i.e., type frequency and semantic coherence, which allow us to range the eight morphemes on a cline from more schematic to more substantive “fake” constructions.


Corresponding author: Kristel Van Goethem, F.R.S.-FNRS, Institut Langage et Communication, Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, E-mail:

Funding source: Belgian National Research Fund (F.R.S.-FNRS)

Award Identifier / Grant number: Research Credit FNRS-CDR J.0211.20 ACCROSS

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