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Original scientific paper

Gabriela Buljan, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Osijek

 

Abstract

The formation of Croatian verbs has been described in various ways in Croatian linguistics.
Unfortunately, many descriptions fall short of being truly illuminating since the data have not
been held up to sufficient scrutiny. What is missing is their critical assessment in the light of
issues and debates that have dominated theoretical morphology, viz. on the nature of derivational
and inflectional categories and their differentiation (but see Marković 2012). The goal of the
present paper is to foreground some of the vagueness and inconsistencies that this situation has
engendered in the description of the formation of Croatian verbs from non–verbs. We will discuss
arguments for an alternative interpretation of what has typically been analyzed as the derivation
of denominal verbs by means of the suffixes –i–, –a–, –ov–a–. This will underscore the need to
at least buttress the time–honored descriptions with proper arguments, if not modify them in
the light of the arguments presented. This concerns primarily the status and function of those
suffixes in the structure of denominal verbs given that a review of existing literature points to:
(a) a lack of arguments for treating those suffixes as derivational, (b) the existence of alternative
descriptions in anglophone linguistic references of analogical word formation processes in other
Slavic languages, including Croatian, where the corresponding/given suffixes are not considered
(primarily) derivational, (c) a lack of consideration of the above–mentioned theoretical issues
which might have led to more substantiated if not fundamentally different analyses. Since the
arguments to be presented clearly indicate a gradient nature of the three suffixes, making them
neither uncontroversial means nor unquestionable symptoms of verb formation, we will argue
that there is no room for any strict (binary) categorical judgements in the analysis of these
verbs, including for a categorical ʻno' as a response to the question in the title of this paper. 

 

Key words

verb formation, conversion, denominal verbs, inflectional and derivational
morphology, aspect, thematic suffixes, Croatian language

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