Article published in:The Form of Structure, the Structure of Form: Essays in honor of Jean Lowenstamm
Edited by Sabrina Bendjaballah, Noam Faust, Mohamed Lahrouchi and Nicola Lampitelli
[Language Faculty and Beyond 12] 2014
► pp. 177–192
Overlapping morphologies in Arabic hypocoristics
We show that Arabic uses some regular suffixes to build hypocoristics, i.e., nicknames derived from proper names, after emptying these suffixes of (most of) their semantic and morphological content. This gives rise to overlapping morphologies in which a suffix has one function in the usual paradigms of the language and, in a semantically and morphologically degenerate form, another function in hypocoristics. We discuss six such suffixal clones in Kuwaiti, Levantine, and Moroccan Arabic. These suffixation rules decompose Arabic proper names morphologically (i.e., they strip away affixal material). We also document idiosyncratic hypocoristics which, instead of using suffixes polysemically, make pun-like use of similar-sounding words of the language.
Published online: 17 December 2014
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