Occasional Diminutives: Types and Functions in a Speech Act Cover Image

Okazionalūs deminutyvai: tipai ir paskirtis kalbiniame akte
Occasional Diminutives: Types and Functions in a Speech Act

Author(s): Rūta Kazlauskaitė , Jurgita Macienė, Kazimieras Župerka
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies
Published by: Vytauto Didžiojo Universitetas
Keywords: diminutive; occasional word; occasionalism; nonce word; potential word; neologism

Summary/Abstract: Unusual or occasional diminutives are characterized by atypical derivation, sporadic use from the viewpoint of time and space, hue of individuality and (or) informal speech. A diminutive is recognized from the derivative formant – suffix. Another part of a diminutive is a stem common with a base word. The occasionality of diminutives is determined by one of two derivation components – suffix, base word, or the relation between both derivation components. Regarding the form, a diminutive is considered occasional if it is formed with one rare suffix (vaik-ėkštis ‘kid’ – an example of informal speech), with several suffixes at once (maž-ut-ėl-yt-ut-ėl-ėl-aitis ‘the very smallest’ – an example from the poem by Albinas Žukauskas), a base word not functioning in speech is diminutized (čiulad-yt-ėla – an example from the folk song) or a base word is a pronoun, verb, adverb, particle, interjection, onomatopoeic word (išdžiūvutėlė ‘very dried’ – an example from a short story by Juozas Aputis, cf. the participle išdžiūvęs ‘dried’; ačiukas ‘thankee’– an example of youth slang, cf. the interjection ačiū ‘thank you’). The feature of occasionality also appears because of the semantic dissonance between a base stem and a suffix of a derivative, for example, the noun įniršis means ‘strong anger’, thus the lexical meaning in a diminutive įnirš-iukas dissonates with the suffix -(i)ukas indicating smallness and delight. Diminutives of violated derivation, occasional diminutives have a clear communicative function. Being witty and unexpected they show the language as a means of expression of unlimited creativity and a possibility of more colourful communication in general.

  • Issue Year: 15/2013
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 90-100
  • Page Count: 11
  • Language: Lithuanian