Skip to navigation – Site map


Full text

1When Scalise [1984] came up with an idea of evaluative morphology as the third level of morphology, distinct from both derivational morphology and inflectional morphology, he gave an important impetus for research in this field. While it was demonstrated by, for example, Stump [1993] and Katamba [1993] that Scalise’s assumption is language-specific rather than of universal nature, Scalise succeeded in pointing out the importance of this field of morphology. Research into various languages of the world has revealed an unequal status of morphological diminutives and augmentatives on the inflection – derivation scale.

2At the same time, our cross-linguistic data shows that evaluative morphology does not play the same role in each language. About one-third of the languages of the world can do without any morphological instruments to express the meaning of diminutiveness and/or augmentativeness. On the other hand, Slavic languages and also languages like Slavey, Wichí, and West Greenlandic abound in evaluative affixes. In addition, it has been shown (Universals Archive, Stekauer, Valera, Kortvelyessy, to appear) that the category of diminutiveness is morphologically much more widespread than that of augmentativeness, which has been captured as an implicational tendency saying that if a language has augmentatives it has diminutives.

3There are many not yet resolved issues concerning diminutives and augmentatives, including, inter alia, the scope of evaluative morphology in terms of semantic categories; synchronic and diachronic aspects of research; evaluative morphology from the perspective of langue and parole; the relation between the morphological and the genetic type of language, on one hand, and the way of expressing evaluative categories, on the other; the typology of diminutives and augmentatives, and the related cross-linguistic aspects of research; evaluative morphology and word-classes; phonetic symbolism in relation to the categories of diminutiveness and augmentativeness; homonymy/polysemy of evaluative affixes; productivity of morphological processes (suffixation, prefixation, compounding, reduplication, etc.) used for the formation of diminutives/augmentatives; evaluative morphology and recursiveness; etc.

4The articles in this volume aim to discuss some of these open questions, and thus contribute to this intriguing field of linguistics.

Top of page


Electronic reference

Lívia Körtvélyessy and Pavel Stekauer, IntroductionLexis [Online], 6 | 2011, Online since 27 March 2011, connection on 25 March 2023. URL:; DOI:

Top of page

About the authors

Lívia Körtvélyessy

P.J. Šafárik University, Košice, Slovakia

By this author

Pavel Stekauer

P.J. Šafárik University, Košice, Slovakia

Top of page



Creative Commons - Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International - CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Top of page
Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search