Monday, 26 March, 2018 - 13:30

Word-formation systems in European languages

The talk introduces a large-scale project covering word-formation systems in 73 languages of Europe. The basis for their comparison is 100 word-formation comparables representing 12 word-formation processes. The data is used to examine (a) the structural richness of word-formation systems at the level of individual languages, language genera, families and the linguistic area of Standard Average European by means of the parameter of Saturation Value; this parameter indicates the degree to which a particular word-formation system makes use of all the word-formation options under examination; and (b) the parameter of the Maximum Comparable Occurrence that identifies those word-formation comparables that are present in all languages under consideration, i.e., in all languages of a genus, a family or a linguistic area (Standard Average European). In the latter case, it identifies the so-called Euroversals. The paper first presents the fundamental theoretical and methodological principles and, subsequently, illustrates the results in selected areas of research.


Pavol Štekauer is Professor of English Linguistics at P.J. Šafárik University. His research concentrates on an onomasiological approach to word-formation, sociolinguistic and psycholinguistic aspects of word-formation, meaning predictability of complex words, and cross-linguistic research into word-formation. He is the author of A Theory of Conversion in English (Peter Lang 1996), An Onomasiological Theory of English Word-Formation (Benjamins 1998), Meaning Predictability in Word-Formation (Benjamins 2005), and Word-Formation in the World’s Languages. A Typological Survey. (CUP 2012; with S. Valera and L. Körtvélyessy), and co-editor of handbooks mapping the field of word-formation (Springer 2005, OUP 2009 and 2014) (with R. Lieber). He is an editor-in-chief of the SKASE Journal of Theoretical Linguistics (Scopus).