Next Article in Journal
Language Interaction in Emergent Grammars: Morphology and Word Order in Bilingual Children’s Code-Switching
Next Article in Special Issue
Exaptation, Refunctionalization, Decapitalization—BE + Past Participle with Intransitive Verbs in Mediaeval and Early Modern Spanish
Previous Article in Journal
Auditory–Visual Speech Integration in Bipolar Disorder: A Preliminary Study
Article Menu
Issue 4 (December) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Languages 2018, 3(4), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages3040039

Refunctionalization and Usage Frequency: An Exploratory Questionnaire Study

Romanisches Seminar, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, 79085 Freiburg, Germany
Received: 9 October 2018 / Accepted: 19 October 2018 / Published: 23 October 2018
Full-Text   |   PDF [2775 KB, uploaded 31 October 2018]   |  

Abstract

This paper explores the relationship between refunctionalization and usage frequency. In particular, it argues that (a) refunctionalization is more likely for low-frequency construction than high-frequency constructions, and that (b) high-frequency patterns are more likely candidates as models for refunctionalization processes than low-frequency patterns. It proposes that folk etymology processes be characterized as a type of refunctionalization process because in folk etymology, obsolescent and semantically void morphemes are replaced with morphemes that actually serve a function in language. This assumption allows for an empirical investigation of refunctionalization using an exploratory questionnaire study. The results indicate that usage frequency indeed plays a role in folk etymology processes, and consequently, refunctionalization. In particular, participants were more likely to accept false etymologies when the proposed etymon had a high usage frequency than when it had a low usage frequency. In summary, the present study proposes a way to study refunctionalization processes in synchrony. View Full-Text
Keywords: language change; historical linguistics; refunctionalization; frequency effects; folk etymology; Spanish language change; historical linguistics; refunctionalization; frequency effects; folk etymology; Spanish
Figures

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
SciFeed

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Rosemeyer, M. Refunctionalization and Usage Frequency: An Exploratory Questionnaire Study. Languages 2018, 3, 39.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Languages EISSN 2226-471X Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top