Productivity and English derivation: A corpus-based study

Baayen, H., & Lieber, R. (1991). Productivity and English derivation: A corpus-based study. Linguistics, 29(5), 801-843. doi:10.1515/ling.1991.29.5.801.
The notion of productivity is one which is central to the study of morphology.
It is a notion about which linguists frequently have intuitions. But it is a notion which still
remains somewhat problematic in the
literature on generative morphology some
15 years after Aronoff raised the issue in his (1976) monograph. In this paper we will review some of the definitions and measures of productivity discussed in the generative and pregenerative literature.
We will adopt the definition of productivity suggested by Schultink (1961) and propose
a number of statistical measures of productivity whose results, when
applied to a fixed corpus, accord nicely with our intuitive estimates of productivity, and which shed light on the quantitative weight of linguistic restrictions on word formation rules. Part of our
purpose here is also a very
simple one: to make
available a substantial
set of empirical data concerning
the productivity of
some of the major derivational
affixes of English.
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