Notes on the history of suffixation in -ize: The historical competition between -ize and -ify

Abstract : Questions of competition between various suffixes and -ize as well as certain patterns that no longer seem to be productive provide clues to the analysis of the morphophonetics of these suffixes. Bauer (1983: 222) and Lieber (1998), among others, underline the competition between -ize and -ify, especially in certain phonological contexts. Patterns with disyllabic final-stressed adjectives (in'tensify, di'versify) need to be reconsidered: 1/ obsolete divinize (attested from 1656) shows that the distributional preference must have settled later; 2/ 'immunize (1889) shows that such adjectives have not all taken -ify; 3/ adjectives like ab'surd, se'vere, au'gust, etc, rarely undergo suffixation either in -ify or in -ize; 4/ adjectives in -id (solid, humid, fluid) often take -ify even though they do not have final stress, and it even triggers stress shift: so'lidify. A number of verbs in -ize were lost in favour of -ify: modern English sanctify had a variant sanctize (1691) with the same meaning. Indeed, sanctize was the only verb with a monosyllabic base in an NCobsCobs cluster. The historical competition between -ize and -ate deserves attention. Both suffixes have a similar phonological structure (suffix-initial long vowel in a monosyllabic consonant-final suffix) and most such verbs survive in their -ate form only. Further historically minor patterns: 1/ Now obsolete examples like abastardize, asservilize, beruffianize, encruelize, etc, can explain the accentuation of amortize and acclimatize. 2/ An intricate semantic as well as formal influence can be detected in the stress patterns of aggrandize, chastise from disyllabic verbs like devise, advise, surprise. References Bauer, Laura. 1983. English Word-formation. CUP, Cambridge. Durkin, Philip. 2009. The Oxford Guide to Etymology. Oxford University Press, Oxford. Lieber, Rochelle. 1998. The suffix -ize in English: Implications for Morphology. In: Lapointe, Steven G., Diane K. Brentari and Patrick M. Farell (eds.) Morphology and Its Relation to Phonology and Syntax. CSLI Publications, Stanford, California, pp.12-33.
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Daniel Huber. Notes on the history of suffixation in -ize: The historical competition between -ize and -ify. Symposium on Historical Phonology, Jan 2014, Edinburgh, United Kingdom. ⟨hal-02074791⟩

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