Patterns and niches in diachronic word formation: the fate of the suffix -men from Latin to Romance

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


The Latin suffix -MEN of words like foramen, nutrimen, albumen, etc. has left traces in all Romance idioms, but the outcome has been quite different in each of
them. The present paper describes in some detail the distribution and the meaning of the successors of -MEN in each of the Romance idioms and tries to uncover the mechanisms behind the fragmentation process. Some of the changes already took place in Latin, while others occurred in Romance times. It is argued that in the absence of lexical continuities between Latin and Romance a close attention to word-formation patterns and semantic niches, as well as a close comparison of similar developments in Romance idioms can be helpful in reconstruction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397 - 465
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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