In this paper I propose a framework for a contrastive investigation of English, German and Dutch adverbial suffixes. According to the morphological literature, these three genetically related languages have an inventory of suffixes for the creation of adverbs. However, only English has a systematic process of adverb formation (namely, with the suffix -ly) whereas German and Dutch lack such regularity. Any attempt at investigating German and Dutch adverbs and adverb formation more closely has to deal with problematic formal class distinctions. In this paper I aim to show that a function-based approach sheds new light on the notion of adverbial morphology and that the traditional conception of “adverbial suffixes” as morphemes for adverb formation may need to be fine-tuned. As such, a contrastive study of English, German and Dutch adverbial morphology from a functional perspective can contribute to a greater understanding of the more general issue of the demarcation of a class of adverbs.
© School of English, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland, 2011