How is screwage different from screwing? A study of the semantic behaviour of V-age and V-ing nouns in English - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Conference Papers Year : 2019

How is screwage different from screwing? A study of the semantic behaviour of V-age and V-ing nouns in English

Abstract

This corpus-based study aims to carry out a semantic analysis of V-age nouns with the purpose of determining the semantic behaviour of these deverbal nouns. The corpus under study, 188 V-age nouns generated from the OED3, provides historical data allowing for a study of lexicalised nominalised verbs, from pavage 1376 in the sense “paving”, to ownage 1998 in the sense “defeat”.

The first step provides a semantic typology of the senses of the derivative based on OED3 definitions, providing a classification into 6 conceptual and event-based categories:
1- ACT/ACTION/PROCESS of V (confirmed in all 188 V-age nouns)
2- OBJECT of V (floatage 1626, rakeage 1851)
3- RESULT of V / effected object (loppage 1683, trimmage 1693, stealage 1769, breakage 1775, shrinkage 1800)
4-QUANTITY/ACCOMODATION/CAPACITY for V (storage, coverage 1912, wantage 756)
5- PAYMENT/TOLL/TAX/DUTY for V (housage 1578, loadage 1661)
6- INSTRUMENT of V (proppage 1827, stuffage 1569, wrappage 1827)
These categories provide the basis for a frequency-based analysis of sense distribution and combinations with the purpose of determining the semantic behaviour of the noun in relation to the base verb.

In a second step, these feature distribution patterns are then correlated with attestation dates to determine whether V-age nouns follow a general pattern of metonymical semantic extension (Koch 1999, Traugott & Dasher 2002). In a final step, the existence of competing synonymical V-age and V-ing pairs (pavage 1376/paving 1448 in the sense “paved ground”, floutage 1600 /flouting spillage 1934/spilling), begs the question of their specificity. Smith (2018) suggests that -age nouns tend to have a higher level of embodied meaning, in that they refer metonymically to concrete event participants, whereas V-ing forms tend to remain more verbal and event-centered. A corpus analysis seeks to provide some answers to this question, involving the assessment of the degree of “nouniness” of the deverbal nouns.
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Dates and versions

hal-02173658 , version 1 (04-07-2019)

Identifiers

  • HAL Id : hal-02173658 , version 1

Cite

Chris Chris A. Smith. How is screwage different from screwing? A study of the semantic behaviour of V-age and V-ing nouns in English. International conference : Nouns - between syntax and semantics, Mar 2019, Paris, France. ⟨hal-02173658⟩
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