Survie des diminutifs latins en français
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The article deals with French words coming from Latin diminutives. The corpus, based mainly on the Reino Hakamies’ work (Étude sur l’origine et l’évolution du diminutif latin et sa survie dans les langues romanes, Helsinki, 1951) that has been verified and completed, includes 184 terms. It is shown that diminutives lose their original meaning, taking the sense of the primitive which has not survived (e.g. soleil ‘sun’ ← *sōlĭcŭlus, aiguille ‘needle’ ← *acūcŭla, while sōl and acŭs → ø). Sometimes they have been preserved next to the primitives, but with a particular meaning (e.g. chapelle ‘chapel’ ← cappella, chapeau ‘hat’ ← cappellus, while cappa → chap(p)e ‘cloak’). The purpose of the article is to point out some examples of Latin diminutives inherited in French and to characterise not only their historical development from the semantic and formal point of view, but also the evolution of their non-diminutive primitives.
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