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An Escap-ee from French to English who will never return: A semantic and syntactic study of the -ee suffix in English
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Language, Literature and Intercultural Studies.
2017 (English)Student paper other, 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Suffixet som rymde från franska till engelska : En semantisk och syntaktisk studie av det engelska suffixet -ee (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this paper is to investigate the semantic and syntactic properties of the -­ee suffix in English. The -­ee suffix was borrowed from the French ‑­é suffix during the late Middle Ages, when French started to exert its linguistic influence on English. Previous research suggests that the -­ee suffix in English exhibits the semantic properties of sentience, episodicity and passivity. Syntactically, the function of the ­-ee suffix in English may suggest ergativity. Furthermore, it has been suggested that contextual anchoring is involved in the use of the -­ee suffix. I explored these characteristics of the ­-ee suffix by testing non‑­standardised ­-ee suffixed nouns with the mentioned semantic and syntactic properties. The process of differentiating non‑­standardised from standardised -­ee suffixed nouns was done with the help of a well­-established dictionary and the Internet. The results showed that sentience and episodicity applied to most -­ee suffixed nouns. In addition, passivity was an important feature in the -­ee nominalisation of transitive stem verbs. When the meaning of ­-ee suffixed nouns was complex, contextual anchoring served to facilitate the understanding of the meaning of the noun. Syntactically, the relationship between the ‑ee suffix and ergativity was weak. Thus, it can be concluded that the use of the ‑ee suffix is controlled by several semantic properties simultaneously, whereas the syntactic properties are relatively unimportant.

Abstract [sv]

Den här uppsatsen undersöker -ee-suffixets semantiska och syntaktiska egenskaper i engelska. Suffixet lånades från det franska suffixet -é under senmedeltiden, när det franska språket började påverka engelska. Tidigare forskning hävdar att det engelska -ee-suffixet påvisar semantiska egenskaper såsom animacitet, episodicitet och passivitet. Syntaktiskt sett kan suffixet även tyda på ergativitet. Användning av suffixet är i viss mån förknippad med förankringen i kontexten. Ickestandardiserade -ee -avledda substantiv identifierades och deras semantiska och syntaktiska egenskaper undersöktes. Urvalet av icke-standardiserade och standiserade substantiv utfördes med hjälp av ett väletablerat lexikon och Internet. Resultatet visade att de flesta -ee-avledda substantiven uppvisar episodicitet och majoriteten även animacitet. Passivitet är ett viktigt kännetecken av suffixet när det gäller substantiveringen av transitiva verb. Betydelserna av vissa mer svårtydda eeavledda substantiv förankras ibland i kontexten med exempelvis förekomsten av er-/-or-avledda motsvarigheter. Syntaktiskt sett är ergativitet inte ett tydligt särdrag av -ee-suffixet. Sammanfattningsvis kan det hävdas att -ee-suffixets användning styrs framför allt av samverkan mellan flera olika semantiska aspekter, medan den syntaktiska egenskapen, ergativitet, är relativt oväsentlig.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. , p. 41
Keyword [en]
Contextual anchoring, derivational morpheme, ergativity, semantic roles
Keyword [sv]
Kontextförankring, derivationsmorfem, ergativitet, semantiska roller
National Category
Specific Languages
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-64715OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-64715DiVA: diva2:1150401
Subject / course
English
Educational program
Secondary Education Programme: Upper-Secondary School: English (300 ECTS credits)
Presentation
Karlstads universitet, Karlstad (English)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2018-01-24 Created: 2017-10-18 Last updated: 2018-01-24Bibliographically approved

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  • Other locale
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