Forson, Barn
University of Venda
South Africa

Barn Forson
University of Venda
P/B X5050
Thohoyandou, Venda
South Africa 0950

Strand: lexicogrammar English

Title: The Bound a- as an Adverbial Marker in English

One of the claims in our earlier studies of class-converting affixes in English (Forson 1994, 1996a and 1996b) was the fact that only verbs, nouns and adjectives could mutually be derived from one through affixation. That fact, it was concluded, could be an argument for considering those three as the only true 'major' word classes. It was pointed out, for example, that, though adverbs could be converted from adjectives, items from none ofthe three major classes could be converted from adverbs, and, on that basis, could not qualify as a major word class.

The morpheme -ly was identified as the only suffix that could convert adjectives into adverbs.

In this study, we look at one largely overlooked adverb marker - the prefix a- in such items as

a-breast, a-board , a-part, a-round, a-lone, a-side.

Among the specific points of interest, we look at (a) the relationship between the basic forms and the resulting adverbs (breast/abreast); (b) the types of word classes that the prefix a- selects; and (c) the structure of the items it selects.


Forson, B (1994): Verbalizers in English. ISFC 94, Leuven, Belguim. Forson, B (1996a): Nominalizers in English. ISFC 96, Sydney, Australia Forson, B (1996a): Formal Markers of Adjectives in English. 8th Euro-Systemic Functional Workshop. Nottingham, U.K