Journal article

Distributional semantics insights on agentive suffix rivalry in French


  • 2021
Published in:
  • Word Structure. - Edinburgh University Press. - 2021, vol. 14, no. 3, p. 354-391
English The formation of French agent nouns (ANs) involves a large variety of morphological constructions, and particularly of suffixes. In this study, we focus on the semantic counterpart of agentive suffix diversity and investigate whether the morphological variety of ANs correlates with different agentive subtypes. We adopt a distributional semantics approach and combine manual, computational and statistical analyses applied to French ANs ending in -aire, -ant, -eur, -ien, -ier and -iste. Our methodology allows for a large-scale study of ANs and involves both top-down and bottom-up procedures. We first characterize agentive suffixes with respect to their morphosemantic and distributional properties, outlining their specificities and similarities. Then we automatically cluster ANs into distributionally relevant subsets and examine their properties. Based on quantitative analysis, our study provides a new perspective on agentive suffix rivalry in French that both confirms existing claims and sheds light on previously unseen phenomena.
Faculté des lettres et des sciences humaines
Département de français
  • English
License undefined
Open access status
Persistent URL

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