Date: Wed, 18 Mar 1998 17:17:26 EST
From: RonButters RonButters[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]AOL.COM
Subject: arbitrariness of derivational morphology

"Why can't CONTEMPT be made into a verb in English?" asked my Turkish student.
"And why can't DESPISE be made into a noun?" English is so very flexible when
it comes to interchanging categories--with and without derivational
morphology--one wonders why we can't say, "*David feels the sailor's
despise/despisation for him" or "*Giovanni contempts/contemptates Jacques."

Any answers--other than the usual language-is-arbitrary response?