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date: 09 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Within a theory of morphopragmatics, we give an account of the relationship between morphology and pragmatics starting from two major theoretical premises: first, that pragmatics is not a secondary meaning derived from semantics—on the contrary we assume a priority of pragmatics over semantics—and second, that morphology is capable of a direct interface with pragmatics, not mediated through its semantics. Thus certain morphological patterns may generate autonomous pragmatic meanings, independently of their denotative power. Eligible patterns are primarily evaluative affixes (diminutives, augmentatives, pejoratives), familiarizers, like French -o, and hypocoristics, whose effects extend from the pertinent base word to the entire speech act. Other morphological elements, such as for example the Japanese honorific -masu and the Germanic and Hungarian excessive, limit their pragmatic scope to the word base. Some other morphological patterns are more marginal, for example feminine motional suffixes or pluralis maiestatis.

Keywords: pragmatics vs semantics, morphopragmatics, evaluatives, excessive, honorific -masu, feminine motional suffixes

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