Article

Lexical typology and typological changes in the English lexicon

Alexander Haselow

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of English

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199922765
Published online November 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199922765.013.0055

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

 Lexical typology and typological changes in the English lexicon

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  • Linguistics
  • Linguistic Typology
  • Historical and Diachronic Linguistics

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Whereas the typological change of the English language from syntheticity towards analyticity has been described almost exclusively for the inflectional domain, little attention has been paid to the developments in derivation. Focusing on the changes in inflection, however, ignores the fact that this change was embedded in more general trends which also affected the derivational component of English and thus the lexicon. This article describes an alternative perspective on the change of English’s typological profile by analyzing three major changes (one quantitative and two qualitative ones) that occurred in the English lexicon: changes in the frequency of use of bound morphemes (affixes) employed for the indication of lexical categories; changes in the morphological status of lexical bases and thus in the structure of “words”; changes in how a language packages semantic material into words, that is, in the internal semantic structure of words (conflation).

Keywords: English; syntheticity; analyticity; lexicon; inflection; bound morphemes; affixes; conflation; typological change

Article.  4061 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Linguistic Typology ; Historical and Diachronic Linguistics

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