n Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig - Die Afrikaanse verkleinwoord 1 : 'n morfo-semantiese grammatika : morpho-semantics

Volume 38, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0259-9570



For decades linguists were intrigued by the phonological and semantic complexities of the Afrikaans diminutive. Since 1932, a monograph, a dissertation and several papers were devoted to aspects of this phenomenon. A description of the Dutch diminutive within a Cognitive Linguistic framework by Peter Bakema in 1998 though stressed the fact that much more research is needed on especially the semantic system of the many lexicalized Afrikaans diminutives and its productivity. In this paper it is shown that the four morphonological variants [i] <I>-ie</I>, [pi] -<I>pie</I>, [ici] &lt;I&gt;-tjie&lt;/I&gt; and [ci] <I>-tjie</I>, <I>-jie</I>, <I>-kie</I>, and also &lt;I&gt;-ies&lt;/I&gt; are regularly distributed. On the other hand the diminutive displays an intricate semantic complexity as shown by the many semantic attributes of diminutives listed in previous writings. It is argued that because of the diminutive's productivity this complexity must also be describable within a natural system. A review of the interconnections between the functions of the diminutive is given and it is also highlighted that some of the functions are more prominent than others. This is set out in such a way that it may be included in either morphology or semantic courses.

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