R: Substitives and suffixes
|Date:||Tuesday, August 29, 2000, 9:25|
Matthew Kehrt wrote:
> During the course, I realized that English has many ways of forming
> new words. Two of these are substitive words, where a word is used as
> another part of speech (i.e. American for an American PERSON; noun
> becomes an adjective) and the process of adding suffixes to change
> the part of speech (for example teacher from teach + -ER).
> What I want to know is whether these two processes are standard in
> other natlangs as well. I speak a little French, but not enough to
> know. I specifically am wondering about non-IE langs such as
Italian adjectives are essentially nouns, so the passage is simple. I mean,
not only we can directly transform 'un uomo americano' (an American man)
into 'un Americano' (an American) - here notice the passage small-capital
letter, that is the lone way to distinguish a nationality adjective from a
nationality noun. We can transform, e.g., 'rosso' (red) into 'il rosso'
(meaning 'the red colour' or 'the sovietic communist') or 'il Rosso' (which
can be used as antonomasia as in 'Eric il Rosso' = 'Erik the Red'). I think
a good number of languages does this. AFAIK, all the Romance family. As for
the -er, here we have two choices: take an existing word directly derived
from Latin; make up a new one from the root of th past participle of the
verb + 'ore' (pl. 'ori')- for male; or +'rice' (pl. 'rici')- for female. The
result is 90% the same, every way you choose:
1_ from Latin (ag-tor >) actor: attore
2_ from the participle of agire (atto): att-ore > attore.
Note: the real ending of the nomen agentis is '-tore', '-trice' in italian
as well. But if you don't want to figure out a morphophnemic process every
time you need one of them, then it's better taking a look at the past
participle, which you have to know by heart, which happens to undergo (with
its ending -to, -ta) to the same process.