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date: 29 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Neither irregular morphological phenomena nor degrees of morphological productivity are susceptible to discrete methods of analysis. The relative productivity of word-formation rules cannot be accounted for by simple morphological blocking or synonymy avoidance. We review a variety of scalar measures of productivity that have been proposed, most prominently the use of measures based on hapax legomena, words that occur only once in a corpus. Electronic dictionaries allow for the study of morphological patterns that have become more or less productive over time and show how the niche in which a given pattern thrives can emerge and change. Dictionary methods are especially useful for investigating how one language can borrow an affix from another. The web and associated large corpora such as Google Books constitute rich resources for analyzing the synchronic productivity of rival affixes in a given language, again demonstrating the value of conceiving morphological productivity in terms of competition.

Keywords: productivity, competition, evolution, emergence, borrowing, probability, dictionaries, corpora, neighborhoods, frequency

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