STUF: Sprachtypologie und Universalienforschung; March 2011, Vol. 64 Issue: 1 p65-74, 10p
The present paper gives an historical account of agent noun formations in ‑mon‑in Old and Middle Irish, based on the Proto-Indo-European prehistory of this suffix. The patterning of agent nouns in ‑mon‑ in Irish points to a polysemy already inherited from the originally adjectival Proto-Indo-European derivates denoting affiliation. This is supported also by polysemous nominalizations in Ancient Greek. Formations in ‑mon‑, originally deverbal in Proto-Indo-European, came to be formally enlarged and functionally reinterpreted in Early Celtic, thus leading to the polysemy in Irish, with both deverbal and denominal ‑mon‑formations designating professions, occupations and functions as well as instruments and even animals.