Chapter published in:Extravagant Morphology: Studies in rule-bending, pattern-extending and theory-challenging morphology
Edited by Matthias Eitelmann and Dagmar Haumann
[Studies in Language Companion Series 223] 2022
► pp. 73–100
Diggers-out, leaf clearer-uppers and stayer-onner-for-nowers
On creativity and extravagance in English -er nominalisations
To this day, the English -er suffix prototypically derives agent nouns from verbs (ride V → rider – ‘someone who Vs’). Over the course of a millennium, the -er suffix construction has consistently extended its range of application, and from the 20th century onwards, it has further gained in variablity in that it allows for multiple attachment of -er, such as in looker-onner or stayer-onner-for-nower. The repetition of -er is accompanied by an increase in expressiveness. Additionally, internet attestations suggest there are several other English suffixes that can be repeated in the same manner as -er, consider -y in runny-outy red felt pen and -ed in kicked-upped. The systematicity of this morphosyntactic phenomenon suggests that some speakers of English occasionally choose to flout some rules to create structurally unusual, expressive, and extravagant complex words.
- 2.Creativity and extravagance in morphology
- 2.1.2Prescriptive criticism
- 3.Data and methodology
- 4.Derivatives involving -er suffix repetition
- 4.1 -er doubling in nominalisations of particle verbs and prepositional verbs
- 4.2Retriplication of -er
- 4.3 -er doubling in nominalisations of verbs and prepositional phrases
- 4.4Excessive or abundant -er suffixation
- 5.Suffix repetition beyond -er
Published online: 16 March 2022
Ackema, Peter & Neeleman, Ad
Aronoff, Mark & Furhop, Nana
Bauer, Laurie, Lieber, Rochelle & Plag, Ingo
Dixon, Richard M. W.
2012 The Morphology and Semantics of Expressive Affixes. Oxford: University of Oxford. https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:88a23d7c-c229-49af-9fc9-2cb35fce9d54.
Goldberg, Adele E.
Goldberg, Adele E.
Hundt, Marianne & Mair, Christian
Kim, Jong-Bok & Michaelis, Laura A.
Klégr, Aleš & Čermak, Jan
Los, Bettelou, Blom, Corrien, Booij, Geert, Elenbaas, Marian & van Kemenade, Ans
Panther, Klaus-Uwe & Thornburg, Linda
Quirk, Randolph, Greenbaum, Sidney, Leech, Geoffrey & Svartvik, Jan
Ryder, Mary Ellen
Traugott, Elizabeth Closs & Trousdale, Graeme