Talk: Semitc Verbal Diminutives and Their Morphological Derivation

A DM Approach

Verbal diminutives involve the reduction of a verbal event into multiple, shorter events, which take the temporal scope of otherwise just one event. In most Semitic languages, which are known for their templatic word-formational nature, verbal diminutives are formed through templatic changes, involving the addition of at least one further consonantal (and vocalic) position, though the shape and position of those additions is by no means uniform, causing unclarity regarding the precise derivation of (Semitic) verbal diminutives. As a first step towards an answer, it is asked here, whether Semitic verbal diminutives are derived from stems, meaning already existing nouns, denominally, and already derived verbs, deverbally, or directly from the root, deradically.
Comparing cross-Semitic data from three branches of Semitic, specifically the Northwest-Semitic Modern Hebrew, various Southwest-Semitic Ethiosemitic languages, as well as the East-Semitic (Old-Babylonian) Akkadian, I argue that Semitic verbal diminutives are derived deradically, by evidence of weak roots, number of root consonants, (phonetic) voice alternations and semantic idiosyncrasies.
Thereby, it is not argued that all pluractional verbs in all Semitic languages are formed in the same manner. However, despite the differences in verbal diminutive formations, the observed similarities in the resulting meaning, shape, and behaviour of the pluractionals reveal that all derivations provide similar evidence for root access at the moment of diminutivisation. Further, it appears that in all Semitic languages investigated tense, aspect, voice, and φ-features are only merged afterwards.


Day: 2020-11-19
Start time: 09:00
Duration: 00:30
Room: Agathe Lasch
Track: Theoretical Linguistics
Language: en



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