Gli aggettivi denominali come basi di derivazione prefissale

nel corpus Midia


Claudio Iacobini



Taking the study on Italian denominal adjectives derivation presented in Grossmann (1999) as a reference base, this paper provides new data and reflections on the use of prefixes in the derivation of denominal adjectives. The availability of the Midia corpus allowed us to investigate the distribution of Italian denominal adjectives over time and text types, as well as to identify the most used suffixes and prefixes in this word-formation pattern. The sample of prefixed denominal adjectives extracted from the Midia corpus reveals important differences concerning the use of suffixes: almost all of the prefixed denominal adjectives are formed from bases derived with about one half of the different suffixes attested in the sample. The suffixes also differ for their use in prefixed relational or qualificative adjectives: some of them are used exclusively or preferably with either one or the other type of adjectives, some others with both types in a quantitatively equivalent distribution. The use of prefixes with relational adjectives does not seem to depend on the specific suffix of the adjectival base. Rather, it is probably linked with the semantic equivalence existing among the suffixes forming relational adjectives. As for the distribution in textual genres, prefixed relational adjectives are used preferably in legal, administrative, and scientific texts. The most recent time phase (1841-1947) of the Midia corpus shows that prefixed relational adjectives have also spread in less specialized fields, due to their increased use in expository and personal texts. The most used prefix with relational adjectives is anti-1, meaning ‘against, opposite’. Prefixed qualificative adjectives are present especially in poetry. The most used prefix with qualificative adjectives is by far in-, which expresses antonymic meaning. Unlike relational adjectives, qualificative adjectives do not present significant diachronic trends regarding their use in the different text genres.


Keywords: prefixation • suffixation • denominal adjectives • diachrony • word-formation and text genres

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