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date: 23 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter offers an assessment of theoretical approaches to derivation, arguing that most efforts of theorists over the last fifty years have been devoted to modeling the formal characteristics of derivation without adequately taking into account its semantic properties. Formal treatments of derivation have concentrated on arguing the merits of Item and Arrangement, Item and Process, or Word and Paradigms models without reaching any clear conclusions. Using a reimagining of the Saussurean sign in contemporary terms, the author argues that if the lexical semantic complexity of both simplex and complex words is taken into account, and the theoretical approach to derivation concentrates on the mapping between sound (or the sensory-motor image) and meaning (the conceptual image), attention to the formal structural characteristics of complex words is reduced in importance.

Keywords: theory, derivation, sign, Saussure, Item and Arrangement, Item and Process, mapping, lexical

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