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Abstract

This paper investigates the historical development during the past three centuries of the English suffix -en, used to create denominal adjectives (e.g. golden, silken), focusing on words that have remained in the language until the present day. We specify a way of calculating the rate of loss of the suffix and apply this to different lexical items involved in this process. Finally, we explore the roles of word frequency and collocations, in order to shed some light on how these factors relate to the loss of a linguistic form.

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