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The Semantics of English Negative Prefixes by Zeki Hamawand

The Semantics of English Negative Prefixes


The Semantics of English Negative Prefixes by Zeki Hamawand

The Semantics of English Negative Prefixes proposes a new system for describing the semantic properties of negative prefixes in English. Specifically, the system captures the semantic distinctions between pairs of negative words that share same bases but end in different prefixes like amoral vs. immoral, dissatisfied vs. unsatisfied, maltreat vs. mistreat, non-human vs. anti-human, etc. The book provides guidance on two matters. As a reference for derivation, it informs the readers about the mechanisms of forming negative words. To do so, it describes the prefixes in terms of the cognitive theories of category, domain and construal. As a reference for usage, it informs the readers about the meaning differences between prefixally-negated words. To do so, it bases the description on actual instances and supports the differences by means of collocations. The Semantics of English Negative Prefixes outlines a model which unifies the principles of two popular approaches to language description. Cognitive Semantics is the theory that takes account of mental operations. Usage-based Semantics is the practice that focuses on actual utterances. Accordingly, it is an essential source for any reader interested in English language. It achieves its aims by means of clear layout, actual data, ample exemplification, lucid explanation and discrete evidence.


'This book presents research on a wide range of negative prefixes arguing that (i) each affix has multiple interpretations, prototypical and peripheral; (ii) the set of interpretations of an affix are partially overlapping with the interpretations of other affixes; (iii) due to a competition between affixes, a decision to use one rather than another always affects interpretation. This book can be useful and inspiring for readers working on the topic...'
Linguist List, June 2010

About the Author

Zeki Hamawand is a cognitive linguist at the University of Hamburg, Germany. He is the author of Atemporal Complement Causes in English: A Cognitive Grammar Analysis (2002), Suffixal Rivalry in Adjective Formation: A Cognitive-Corpus Analysis (Equinox, 2007) and Morpho-Lexical Alternation in Noun Formation (2008).

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Book Info

Publication date

31st May 2009


Zeki Hamawand

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Equinox Publishing Ltd


192 pages


Semantics & pragmatics
Grammar, syntax & morphology



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