Morphophonological salience through constructional schemas : an analysis of two case studies of English Slang Words Ending in {o}

Source document: Brno studies in English. 2021, vol. 47, iss. 1, pp. 47-71
  • ISSN
    0524-6881 (print)
    1805-0867 (online)
Type: Article
This paper is aimed at examining salient morphophonological traits of English slang words ending in {o} and conveying the meanings 'foolish person' and 'mad person', e.g. dozo, crazo. The study is based on the corollary that schematic generalizations reflect the principles of salience and embedded productivity. Data was taken from the Oxford English Dictionary, Green's Dictionary of Slang, and the Oxford Dictionary of Slang. The schemas are elaborated upon the aspects of phonological content (PHON), morphosyntactic properties (SYN) and semantic value (SEM). Findings suggest that constructions, being overtly disyllabic and trochaic, show a standard phonetic template (Cl1 VCl2 o), 'Cl' and 'V' standing for consonant cluster and vowel, respectively. Besides instantiating the bases with the value of 'PERSON perceived as possessing negative qualities', the suffix -o, which is generally attached to a nominal or an adjectival base, might lead to variation of grammatical category and the expression of pejorative/ marginal traits.
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