The Middle English Suffix -Ish: Reasons for Decline in Productivity

Ewa Ciszek
2012 Studia Anglica Posnaniensia  
The aim of the present paper is to investigate the reasons for the significant decline in both the frequency and productivity of the suffix -ish in Middle English. The major factors responsible seem to be the growing popularity of the of + Noun phrases as well as the competition among -ish and other suffixes. The analysis will be preceded with the introduction of some essential facts concerning the semantic development and productivity of the OE suffix -isc in Middle English. Unauthenticated
more » ... Unauthenticated Download Date | 8/24/17 7:24 PM E. Ciszek 28 2. The semantics of -isc in Old English 2.1. Previous studies The OE suffix -ish has been subject to only narrow interest as demonstrated in merely a few dictionary entries and short descriptions among other affixes found in some Old English grammars or histories of English. As regards dictionaries, Bosworth and Toller (1898-1921) and the OED online list it as a separate entry. Bosworth and Toller (1898-1921) describe the suffix as follows: -isc, modern -ish, a suffix of adjectives, connoting the quality of the object denoted by the stem, e.g. ceoel-isc 'churl-ish', cild-isc 'child-ish'; also connotes origin from a place or stock, e.g. Engl-isc, Grēc-isc, Iudē-isc. The suffix may be seen in the cognate dialects in the following words, Goth. þiud-isk-o 'after the manner of the Gentiles';
doi:10.2478/v10121-012-0002-z fatcat:3j4k6wwxjrgvngurmflxyn3pke