This paper investigates the suffix –erni in Icelandic, its origin, and development from the period of Old Norse to Modern Icelandic. This suffix is most often used to derive a neuter noun from nouns and adjectives with the meaning ‘belonging to’ e.g. faðir ‘father’ => faðerni ‘fatherhood’. By taking a closer look at source material and evaluating words formed with this suffix in their textual context we are able to identify and observe the processes involved in the establishment and spread of this derivational pattern. The current study illustrates how the suffix spreads through different stages to establish a clear derivational pattern that is productively used in the language to form new words. Having access to continuous written material in Icelandic from ca. 1200 to 2011 gives us the possibility to track this process through time and follow each step in the development.
Faculty of Humanities; suffix; Old Norse; Morphology
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11th International Conference of Nordic and General Linguistics, 2012