English adjectives in -like, and the interplay of collocation and morphology

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This paper presents a corpus-based study of English denominal adjectives in -like. Starting with semantic aspects, including the relationship between N-like and like an N, it then reports on the productivity of -like adjectives by discussing the kinds of nouns to which -like is added, along with the distributions of individual formations in the Bank of English corpus. It next draws attention to the marked collocational patterns in which -like adjectives occur. These relate both to sets of items collocating with individual -like adjectives, and to subsets of -like adjectives collocating with individual nouns. There are implications in these bidirectional collocational patterns, it is argued, for studies of productivity and lexicalization: in particular that collocational constraints may exist at the level of morpheme, not just at the level of word or phrase.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)486-513
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Journal of Corpus Linguistics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011


  • morphology, collocation, adjectives, figurative language, productivity, patterning