RELATION OF THE MEANINGS OF DIMINUTIVE FORMATION AND FUNCTIONS IN THE TEXT

Jurgita Macienė
Šiauliai University



Lithuanian diminutives are suffixal derivatives, thus they have a formative meaning. Usually this meaning denotes smallness or kindness (or both qualities together), sometimes scantiness (ordinariness, poverty, contempt). Two more formative meanings can be expressed – grandness (abundance, intensity) and special. Very few diminutive suffixes show, clearly which meaning is the basic one. If we want to clearly determine the meaning of the diminutive it is important to mind its functions in the text as well as the wider context. Referring to the relation of the diminutive with other words and its position in the sentence four functions of the diminutive can be pointed out: two main functions – specifying and evaluating, and two supplementary ones – text-linking and aesthetic. When a diminutive performs the specifying function the suffix most often carries the meaning of smallness. The diminutive is given the formative meaning of kindness or scantiness or irony when the evaluating function predominates. It is possible to define the precise meaning of the diminutive formation only when the functions performed by a diminutive in the text are known and when the wider context is analyzed. To be more exact, only on this condition it is possible to judge the situation, in which the diminutive with the meaning of smallness or kindness is used.

JURGITA MACIENĖ
Šiaulių universitetas
Lietuvių kalbos katedra
Lyros g. 30–30, LT–78261, Šiauliai
El. paštas jurgamac@delfi.lt