Homework task: Read the chapter on conversion from Word-formation in English by I. Plag and the chapter from English Lexicology by Stefanovski. Compare how the two authors have presented the same topic… Authors Ingo Plag and Ljupco Stefanovski both begin their chapters with a definition of conversion. Plag defines it as derivation of a new word without any overt marking and in the next sentence, where he gives examples of cases of conversion, he extends his definition (at least for those who read it) explaining that the pairs he exemplifies are derivationally related and are completely identical in their phonetic realization. I have to say from the beginning, that I am fond of Stefanovski’s definition more, because I could understand what he was talking about from the very start. With Plag I had to read the examples first, and than understand that conversion, as Stefanovski says, is “the type of word formation in which there is a change of a word from one lexical category to another, without any overt morphological form (an affix or another base) marking the change…” Plag gives systematically arranged examples of the types of conversion next, or to be more precise, which categories can be converted into which, and he continues immediately with the three major theoretical problems with conversion: 1. Directionality
2. Whether conversion can be said to represent a type of zero – affixation, which Stefanovski only mentions in the bottom of the page (footer) , and 3. Whether it is a syntactic or a morphological process
Directionality he explains quite clearly, and the part of the text which is about it is very understandable. Zero affixation I could also understand, but when I came to the part about whether conversion is a syntactic or a morphological process, I got lost. Plag explains conversion as a rather syntactic mechanism explaining that conversion, as a syntactic mechanism, is the use of a word in a syntactic position that it normally does not...
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