Article published In:Review of Cognitive Linguistics: Online-First Articles
The competition between noun-verb conversion and -ize derivation
Contrastive analyses of two productive English verb-formation processes
The process of noun-verb conversion, which is highly productive in English, has been dealt with from a variety of theoretical perspectives. What is missing so far is a systematic analysis of conceptual-semantic factors which motivate this process and set it apart from another productive verb-formation process, namely -ize derivation. The present article is intended to fill this gap. While some conceptual-semantic patterns which are displayed by converted verbs but not by -ize verbs have already been identified in the literature, more fine-grained contrastive analyses show that converted verbs display even more patterns not attested for the overtly derived verbs. Even if the two verb-formation types share a conceptual-semantic pattern, they may be in complementary distribution at a lower level of abstraction. Moreover, non-derived denominal verbs allow for a wider range of metaphorical meanings. The difference in semantic diversity is ascribed here to the fact that -ize verbs denote more specialized activities, whereas converted verbs typically (though not necessarily) express activities reflecting speakers’ interaction with basic-level objects, which may be based on experience or imagination. Since the activities denoted by converted verbs are readily transferred to different domains of experience (e.g., to bottle up emotions), these verbs more frequently undergo metaphorical meaning extension. Formally, the higher degree of semantic versatility observed for converted verbs is reflected by the fact that conversion – unlike -ize derivation – is constrained neither by predetermined Lexical Conceptual Structures nor by selectional restrictions, but motivated by metonymy, which may be enriched by metaphorical extension.
Keywords: noun-verb conversion in English, -ize derivation, Lexical Conceptual Structures, selectional restrictions, metonymy, metaphor
- 2.Overt derivation and event-schema metonymy
- 3.Semantic factors distinguishing noun-verb conversion from -ize derivation
- 3.1Relations expressed by converted verbs but not by -ize verbs
- 3.2Partial overlaps in the semantics of -ize derivatives and converted verbs
- 3.3Metaphorical meaning extensions
- 3.3.1Data collection for the description of metaphorical extension
- 3.3.2Contrasts and similarities observed for the metaphorical use of -ize verbs and converted verbs
- 5.Summary and outlook
Published online: 30 May 2023
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