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The origin of affixes

asked 2018-03-14 14:17:53 -0400

George Ou gravatar image

My name is George Ou, a freelance translator from China. When I started learning Italian and Latin months ago, I noticed that they still share many roots with modern English as languages from the Proto-Indo-European .

But what intrigues me more is about the origin of affixes - how did those prefix, suffix, infix and many other similar bound morphemes come out?

Someone told me affixes in Modern English nowadays were from Latin and Middle English, more specifically speaking, the changing of different grammatical cases became affixes. But they cannot provide reliable reference, which made me confusing and doubtful. And truth be told, the number of Latin cases is far less than the number of current suffixes, not to mention those prefixes in English. My attempts to trace the affix origin failed, and still this question remained bothering me. So here I am. I wonder if you guys could kindly shed me some light on this question? I do believe you all might be very busy, so no need to elaborate too much, a paper or book list could also be helpful.

Thanks in advance!

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answered 2018-03-21 17:31:41 -0400

Kacma gravatar image

I'm not quite sure what you are looking for. Is it just affixes as such, as bound morphemes as a category? Or is it case suffixes specifically?

Affixes are generally thought to come about via the process of grammaticalization, which forms grammatical categories from lexical ones (roughly speaking). The Wikipedia page may be a good starting off point:

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Asked: 2018-03-14 13:53:49 -0400

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Last updated: Mar 14 '18