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Beauty and the Blend: Implications of Cognitive Constraints and Word Class Distribution in Lexical Blending
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This master thesis investigates underlying principles and usage-based aspects of lexical blending. In a corpus study examining the lexical items, or matrix words, republican, liberal, and vegetarian it was found that there were three cognitive constraints influencing their potential to form blends. Mapping of a prefixation schema onto the lexical item republican was shown to fuel blend formation. Neighborhood effects and morphological lexicalization, on the other hand, were observed to have a negative influence on the possibility to form blends from the terms liberal and vegetarian. Also, an examination of word class distribution in the matrix words and their blend and compound derivatives showed that the patterns of the blends were less consistent than the compounds. These findings point to an important duality in the derivative blends. While they operate in an interplay with regular morphological processes they are at the same time creatively elaborated in use. Therefore blends exhibit a fundamental aspect of language, which is phrased as the dynamic interrelatedness between socio-pragmatic motivation and schematization, or pattern-finding. This positions blending not in the margin, but at the centre of studies on language development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Blending, wordplay, word formation, morphology.
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-118194OAI: diva2:821138
Available from: 2015-06-16 Created: 2015-06-14 Last updated: 2015-06-16Bibliographically approved

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General Language Studies and Linguistics

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