Many languages possess morphological rules which serve to express diminution or augmentation, endearment or contempt; examples are the Breton rule relating potr 'boy' to potrig 'little boy', the Shona rule relating chibikiso 'cooking tool' to zichibikiso 'huge cooking tool' and the Italian rule relating poeta 'poet' to poetastro 'bad poet'. Because of the possibility of interpreting diminution and augmentation in affective rather than purely objective terms (Wierzbicka, 1980: 530°.; Szymanek, 1988: io6ff.), morphological expressions of diminution or augmentation are not always discrete from those of endearment or contempt; that is, diminutives and augmentatives are frequently used as expressions of endearment (such as Italian sorella 'sister' → sorellina 'dear little sister', donna 'woman' → donnotta 'fine, stout woman') or disdain (Italian uomo 'man' → uomicciuolo 'contemptible little man', donna → donnona 'overgrown girl').
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Stump, Gregory, "How Peculiar is Evaluative Morphology?" (1993). Linguistics Faculty Publications. 28.