Types of derivatives with prefix mega- in synchronic and diachronic perspectives


The article describes different types of derivatives with the prefix mega- in the English language in terms of word-formation meanings. The study of the component of ancient Greek origin functioning in a synchronic and diachronic perspective made it possible to establish the reasons and describe the mechanisms of its further derivational transformations in English language. In the receiving language, the adjective μέγας undergoes cross-level conversion and is used as a prefix element in various derivatives. The quantitative semantics that is genetically inherent in the component is implemented as a part of terminological units in which the prefix acts as a term element. In other types of discourse, the quantitative identification function is combined with the function of evaluation. In derivatives related to popular science or commercial discourse, the prefix mega- serves to distinguish an object from a number of similar ones and marks it as an exceptional phenomenon. The method of profiling used in the analysis made it possible to describe the internal mechanism of word-formation meanings of derivatives with the prefix mega-. Contextual analysis and survey of informants (native English speakers) allowed for differentiation between the meaning of mega- and super- prefixes used in the evaluation function. It has been found that in English derivatives, the prefix mega- marks the highest degree of the quality and is attached to the bases, which referents could be evaluated in the terms of quantitative characteristics. The addition of the prefix super- is not related to parametric characteristics in the meaning of the root morpheme, which determines its assessment by native speakers as a marker of a lower degree of evaluated quality.


About the authors

E. V. Shapovalenko

Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University, Kaliningrad, Russian Federation

Author for correspondence.
Email: morenov@ssau.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7045-4310

postgraduate student, Institute of Humanities, Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University


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