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La Disponibilite Morphologique De La Suffixation Agentive Du Francais

Owoeye, Samuel T. (2013) La Disponibilite Morphologique De La Suffixation Agentive Du Francais. PhD thesis, Covenant University.

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Abstract

The study examines the degree of morphological availability of French agentive suffixation using five suffixes; namely –ant, -eur, -ier, -iste and –oir. The place of morphology in major linguistic theories is first of all examined leading to the choice of the theoretical framework based on constructional morphology, split morphology, lexeme-based morphology as well as on aspects of the Optimality Theory. Our corpus, taken from the online version of Trésor de la langue française, is made up of 2,175 agent nouns consisting of 63 agent nouns formed with the suffix –ant, 1,294 formed with –eur, 342 formed with –ier, 365 formed with –iste and 111 formed with –oir. For the analysis of the corpus, four degrees of morphological availability (very available, available, fairly available and unavailable) were identified and used along with the five criteria of synchronic value of suffix, type occurrence of suffix, syntactic distribution of base lexemes, semantic distribution of constructed lexemes and the blockage capacity of suffix. Each of the criteria is made up of constraints as proposed within the framework of Optimality Theory. The availability analyses showed that while the agentive suffix –eur is available, the other four are just fairly available. These findings led to the revision of the existing morphological rules for the construction of agentive nouns in French in the attempt to account for nouns with nominal and adjectival bases. Accordingly, recourse was had, on the one hand, to the deep structure of base lexemes and to the semantic properties of the constructed lexemes, on the other hand. This allowed the formulation of a pattern to account for all constructed agentive nouns in French. The findings of the study also show that the availability of morphological processes is not simply a ‘yes-or-no’ dichotomy but requires a multidimensional classification of degrees. To examine the implications of the availability of French agentive suffixation for the acquisition of French vocabulary by foreign learners, 200 students of French language randomly selected from some Nigerian Universities were tested with the help of a questionnaire. The investigation sought to determine the ability of the students to use the suffixes under study to form agent nouns. Our investigation revealed that a large majority of the students could not construct agentive nouns using the five suffixes. In view of the implications and the limitations of the study, we suggest further studies in some areas: in the first place, the application of the criteria for the morphological availability, as proposed in the study, to other categories of French affixes as well as affixes in other languages; secondly, the determination of the role of the deep structure of base lexemes in the patterns of lexeme construction rules in French and in other languages; thirdly, the complementary study of availability and profitability in the area of morphological productivity and finally studies on the role of morphological strategies in the teaching and learning of the vocabulary of foreign languages such as French in Nigeria

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Faculty of Law, Arts and Social Sciences > School of Humanities
Depositing User: Mr Solomon Bayoko
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2013 12:22
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2016 10:41
URI: http://eprints.covenantuniversity.edu.ng/id/eprint/1460

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