Agent Nouns, Productivity and Diachrony: An Analysis of [VN/A]N/A Compounds and –eur Derivations in French
2007 (English)In: On-line Proceedings of the Fifth Mediterranean Morphology Meeting (MMM5) Fréjus 15-18 September 2005 / [ed] G. Booij, L. Ducceschi, B. Fradin, E. Guevara, A. Ralli & S. Scalise, Bologna: Università degli Studi di Bologna , 2007, 359-378 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
This study addresses the semantic structure of two types of French agent nouns, [VN/A] N/A compounds (porte-drapeau) and -eur derivations (porteur) from a diachronic perspective. The focus is on established words listed in the TLFi. The main objective is to question Dressler’s (1986) hierarchy of Agent: Human Agent > Animal Agent > Plant > Impersonal Agent > Instrument > Locative, which proposes that meaning extension diachronically follows this direction. My previous research results show that, synchronically, the Instrument is the most productive/profitable meaning for the [VN/A] N/Aformation. The diachronic results of this study likewise fail to confirm the hierarchy. In particular, the semantic structure of the [VN/A] N/Aviolates the direction implied by the hierarchy. Hence, I reach the conclusion that the different meanings in the polysemy of Agent can be more or less central for different types of agent formations, i.e. both derivations and compounds; the Agent is not necessarily always the primary meaning from which all others originate. This hypothesis will be further examined in future studies that take into account other agentive formations in French and contrast them with similar formations in Swedish.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bologna: Università degli Studi di Bologna , 2007. 359-378 p.
, On-line Proceedings of the Mediterranean Morphology Meetings (MMM), ISSN 1826-7491
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-9988OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-9988DiVA: diva2:176507
the Fifth Mediterranean Morphology Meeting (MMM5) Fréjus 15-18 September 2005