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COMPOUNDS and COMPOUNDING
1. INTRODUCTORY REMARKS glass case; garden party, pyjama top; queen bee; filmsociety; deep-fry, knee-deep, greenhouse; polar expedition, scissor-sharpener; ropewalker; homebaked (cookies) , heart-breaking (events); breadbaking; sightseeing etc. Compounds name “relevant categories” in the speaker’s experience of the world. They are predominantly based on the relation of hyponymy, i.e., the compound as a whole denotes a hyponym of the head. Semantically this means that the set of entities possibly denoted by the compound is a subset of the entities denoted by the head: e.g., the compound film society denotes a subset of the head ‘society’.
The right-hand head rule (Williams 1981): The head of compounds usually occurs on the righthand side The compounds inherits most of the semantic and syntactic information from its head, e.g., if the compound is pluralized the plural marking occurs on the head, not on the non-head. Compare: parks commissioner vs park commissioners. (2) N(sing) N(plural)
parks (N,pl) commissioner (N sing) park (Nsing) commissioners (Nplural)
the bracketings in (5) are assigned on the basis of meaning because the semantic interpretation of each reading is compositional 4 . compounds have a constituent structure (5) [student [ film society]] film society for students [[student film [society] society for student films example (5) is ambiguous between two readings.2. depending on the way brackets are assigned. polymorphemic words are analyzed as hierarchical structures always involving binary sub-elements.recursiveness: (4) ice-cream ice-cream maker ice-cream maker society II. COMPOUNDING AS A MORPHOLOGY/SYNTAX INTERFACE Phrase-like properties of compounds I. compounding and syntactic phrases .
These are ‘predicateargument’.III. modifier-head’ and ‘apposition/coordination’: (6) predicate – argument truck-driving drawbridge meat-eater modifier-head file cabinet greenhouse blackbird apposition apprentice -welder hero-martyr doctor-patient gap 5 . Bloomfield (1933): the elements of a compound may have relations to each other which resemble the relations holding between the constituents of a sentence.
the Compound Stress Rule): a true compound of two elements is stressed on the first constituent i.CRITERIA FOR COMPOUND IDENTIFICATION 3..3. exhibits fronted primary stress. while a phrase is stressed on the last major constituent i. (7) a) noun phrases: (8) [black b´ird] [green c´arpet] [this new h´ouse] b) nominal compound [bl´ackbird] [pa´yment problems] Compound stress rule: ‘stress is on the left-hand member of a compound’ Nuclear stress rule: ‘phrasal stress is on the last word of the phrase.e.e.’ The Compound Stress Rule is applicable to multi-word compounds. the stress pattern being indicative of a certain kind of interpretation: (8) (a) m´ail delivery service (a’) mail d´elivery service (b) st´udent feedback system (b’) student fe´edback system (9) [[mail delivery]service] [mail[delivery service]] [[student feedback]system] [student[feedback system]] 6 .1 STRESS IN COMPOUNDS The standard assumption (Chomsky and Halle 1968.
This is particularly clear in N A compounds. it falls on the head. Stress falls on the head: (9’’) a disease prone blood thirsty germ resistant b) lily white dirt cheap crystal clear 7 . otherwise. since this is a complement. Thus in (9’’a) nuclear stress falls on the non-head. if this is a complement.Stress indicates constituent structure Cinque (1993) (9’) Specifier X X X Complement Stress falls on the non-head of a compound. In (9’’b). the left hand constituent has the character of a modifier ( specification).
Interesting exceptions from the compound stress rule are the following (Plag 2003): (10) geologist-as´tronomer Michigan h´ospital summer n´ight Boston m´arathon apple p´ie Madison A´venue aluminium f´oil Mahler sy´mphony All the above carry stress on the second constituent. Ingo Plag (2003:138) convincingly argues that the exceptions below are not really idiosyncratic but are more or less systematic exceptions of the compound stress rule 8 .Several exceptions to the rule have been identified. Adopting the hypothesis entertained by different scholars.
g. aluminium foil. the compound denotes one single person who is both a geologist and an astronomer) Meaning relationships such as temporal. road. therefore.g.g.. causative.The rightward prominence is restricted to only a very limited number of more or less well-defined types of meaning relationship or are based on the analogy to existing compounds. Boston marathon) . A. summer night. . Mahler symphony) Analogy to existing combinations: street names involving ‘street’ as the head have the stress on the first constituent( e. 9 B. C. locative (e. Fourth Street). Oxford St´reet. phrasal stress. tie) or ‘created’ (e. all combinations with avenue. Main Street. paraphrased as ‘made of’ (e.e.. i. Compounds like geologist-astronomer differ from other compounds in that they refer to the same entity (these are coordinative or appositional compounds. have rightward stress.g. silk.
i. the non-heads of compounds never refer to specific objects.2 THE SEMANTIC CRITERION A typical semantic property. This is why these non-heads can be used attributively. inherent. that is they are often lexicalized: (11) battle fatigue = a condition of psychic trauma induced by a soldier’s direct experience of the horrors of war on a battlefield. so that their full semantic specialization must be learned on an individual basis. i. the semantic bond between the elements of a compound reflects a habitual. Anaphoric islandhood is a special case of a more general property of words. we cannot refer to the tea of teapot using an anaphor. it is impossible to ‘see inside’ them and refer to their parts. Thus. For instance. for instance. namely lexical (morphological) integrity. The general pattern is that no syntactic process is allowed to refer exclusively to parts of words. there is no sense in which the element tea actually makes reference to the stuff tea in determining the reference of the whole expression.. Likewise. further property is that of non-referentiality. compounds have a more specialized meaning than phrases. in the expression teapot. neither film. Compounds tend to be referentially opaque. It is the additional semantic specialization that determines that battle fatigue should be classed as a compound while housecleaning fatigue.e. should not (Levi 1975). water-bird denotes only birds that have some permanent association with water (lives near and walks or swims in rivers) rather than any bird that happens to have fallen into it or flown above it.3. Another semantic property that distinguishes compounds from phrases is ‘the permanent aspect criterion’.e. This test is equivalent to the claim that all compounds become (at least partially) lexicalized. A compound like battle fatigue does not denote a feeling of simple tiredness after any kind of battle. Compounds are anaphoric islands: that is.e. permanent association between the elements. 10 . nor student in student film society serve to pick out any specific student or film. Thus. Yet another semantic test for compounds is the one known as semantic specialization i.
The so called deictic compounds are used in conversational situations in which they are equivalent to descriptive phrases. because of some changes in the language system. good-bye. nonce formations are coined on the spur of the moment to cover some immediate needs. Bauer 1983). Typical of this stage is that the potential ambiguity is ignored and only some of the possible meanings are used. The final stage steps in when. etc. As known. The nonce formation comes to be established /institutionalized when the compound becomes interpretable without recourse to a single immediate context. when the nonce formation comes to be used by other speakers as a lexical item. A lexicalized form is the final stage in the history of the word. c) lexicalized unit (cf. 11 . An institutionalized word is the next stage. We could mention here the well-known apple-juice seat exemplified by Downing (1977) (a seat in front of which a glass of applejuice has been placed). b) institutionalized word/established formation. At first. think of yesterday. downstairs. the lexicalized form is one of the three stages in the history of a word (a) nonce formation . the lexeme has taken on a form which it could not have had if it had arisen by the application of productive rules.
the terms advance man. or double blind are entirely transparent and motivated for the specialist (politicians and psychologists. 12 . it is precisely the open-ended property of metaphor interpretation that accounts for this possibility: (12) icebox = coffin-nails = (i) box for ice (ii) any place that is extremely cold (i) nails for coffin (ii) cigarettes A large number of compounds are based on metonymy: exocentric compounds are generally based on metonymic transferences: (13) hunchback = person who has a hump on his/her back redcap = porter featherbrain = dull witted person Many compounds that might seem opaque to one speaker/reader/listener might be perfectly transparent to others. who have to learn it as a single unit. respectively) and completely opaque for the nonspecialist. by metonymic and metaphoric transferences.Opacity . sometimes.achieved. The following compounds that allow both a literal interpretation as well as a metaphorical one.
Exceptions: (14) systems analyst/ parks commissioner . etc. the first element is often the default singular form: trouser-press. pyjama-top. programs coordinator services coordinator service coordinators woman doctor women doctors Elements of compounds are not modified.2 THE MORPHOLOGIC CRITERION Compounds have morphologic integrity. 13 .3. scissor sharpener. *very blackbirds Compounds may be the basis for derivation: compound derivatives: pickpocket-hood. no constituent can intervene. etc.
root compounds 2. stone. have a second constituent which is deverbal. in contrast. Synthetic compounds. COMPOUND TYPES 4. window-cleaning. stir-fry.1.4. church-goer. clear-sighted Root compounds are compounds whose second constituent is not derived from verbs. greenhouse.deaf. (15) Synthetic compounds beer drinker. 14 . synthetic compounds ( verbal compounds) (14) Root compounds towel rack. namely: 1.The process of compounding yields two types of compounds. shopclearance.
e. The sub-classification of compounds has been done not only according to what form classes the constituents of compounds belong to (Marchand 1969. dry-clean the interpretation of which resembles that of appositional compounds i. V. ROOT COMPOUNDS there should be a distinction between productive and non-productive compound patterns -. verbs. 15 .2. P may be involved in root compounding. Such classifications could include as much as a total of 40 compound types (nouns. A. Bauer 1983). the most productive patterns are with noun and adjective bases (16) Noun Verb Adjective Preposition Noun towel rack pickpocket greenhouse afterbirth Verb brainwash stir-fry blindfold Adjective stone-deaf light-green - Verb-based compounds are widely assumed to be the result of backformation or conversion with the exception of the V-V pattern: stir-fry. adjectives).4. to stir-fry means to stir and fry simultaneously.although all major lexical categories N. freeze-dry. Adams (2001) offers a synopsis of semantically based taxonomies which lead to a proliferation of possible semantic categories.
This classification. beginner’s luck instrumental: battering ram. 16 . bow tie. though bulky. hearing aid locative : drawing paper. still leaves out a number of compounds such as for instance concert pitch or conscience money which have been argued to need a rather complex paraphrase.object: chewing-gum. beer glass This type of classification is of little interest and futile since in principle it can be extended in any direction. heartache Verb . apron stage composition/form/ contents : air stream. death-penalty associative: bull’s eye. diving board resemblence: cotton tail. Scholars agree that more profitable would be to ask what kind of interpretations are in principle possible given a certain compound.(19) Subject -verb : bee-sting. drawstring appositional : buffer state.
The semantic relationship involved is that of hyponymy. 17 . In all these cases the compound AB has a head word B and a determinant A which is subordinated to B. damp proof. breadbasket. shaving cream denote a subclass of the referents of the head: a book cover is a kind of cover. a breadbasket is a kind of basket etc.Endocentric compounds Root (primary) compounds exhibit a variety of patterns (see 16) and the relations between the components are predominantly those of modifier-head. they display the endocentric subordinative type. these compounds are called endocentric compounds. The syntactic head of these compounds also qualifies as the semantic head of the compound. Most English root compounds are of this type. Noun-noun compounds like book cover. (Bloomfield 1933).
18 . They could be said to have two semantic heads.g.Not all compounds are based on the subset relation. there are too many poet-translators in this country) behaving grammatically like bona fide endocentric compounds. Consider the examples below: (17) a) singer-songwriter scientist-explorer poet-translator (b) the doctor –patient gap a modifier-head structure the mind-body problem Both sets of words are characterized by the fact that neither of the two constituents of the compound seems to be more important than the other. neither being subordinate to the other. i. With these types. they have been labeled copulative compounds or dvanda compounds( Sanskrit. the compound AB is made up of two entities of equal rank and has an interpretation roughly equal to ‘both A and B’. literary ‘two and two’ meaning twins/pair). i. both members equally contribute to the meaning of the compound. These compounds are right-headed.e have a syntactic head (e. semantically.e. There are compounds in which the two elements AB do not show any dependency holding between them. the modifier-head type (subordinative).
This type of copulative compound is sometimes called ‘appositional compound’. or sweet and sour. i.Endocentric copulative compounds fall into two classes depending on their interpretation.child relationship = mother and child relationship.g. Other types of compounds may display this type of semantic relationship: adjectival compounds like sweet-sour or bitter-sweet are appositional compounds denoting entities that are at the same time bitter and sweet. a public-private partnership. On the other hand there are coordinative adjectival compounds that are used attributively just like the corresponding noun-noun compounds: a French-German cooperation. the doctorpatient gap is a gap between doctor and patient.e. In (17a) each compound refers to one entity. This type of compound is sometimes known as a coordinative compound. The two members that make up the compound represent different individuals. for instance. the high-low alternation. A poet-translator is a person who is both a poet and a translator. These compounds resemble ‘‘and’ phrasal constructions’: mother . By contrast the dvandas in (17b) denote two entities that stand in a particular relationship with the head of the phrase: e. the two members of the compound represent two facets of the same individual. As already mentioned verb-verb compounds may also be interpreted as 19 appositional compounds: stir-fry .
future shock. laugh wrinkles. air pressure. Variants: Adj + N. oil crisis. where the A is N-base or N-related electric shock. compound stress N Y Examples: drug death. fatigue headache. [ X CAUSE Y] (productive) a. hysterical paralysis. deficiency disease. financial dilemma/ crisis 20 . language riots. cigarette burn.Productive conceptual patterns 1. onion tears. heat rash. occupational hazards. moth hole. job tension. genetic disease. energy crisis. snow blindness. cultural shock. internal structure N N X b. thermal cracks. sex scandal.
21 .Productive conceptual patterns 2. malarial mosquito. internal structure N Y N N X b. sob story. growth hormone. concussion force. mortal blow. traumatic event. accident weather. compound stress Examples: flu virus. [ Y CAUSE X] (less productive) a.
cartwheel.Productive conceptual patterns 3. presidential power. apple core. professional standard. maternal instinct. beachhead. bridgehead. company assets. 22 . judicial discretion. people power. student problems. national capital. enemy strength. onion-peel etc A+N feminine institution. nationl resources. [X HAS Y] ( productive) (meronymic) (N+N. bedside. fish scales. arrow head. party members. city wall. family antiques. tire rim. A+N) Examples: N+N lemon peal (peal of the lemon). government land.
nut bread. national capital. bear country. [Y HAS X] (not productive) Examples: N+ N picture book. gunboat. musical comedy. A+ N pictorial atlas. salt lake. industrial area. apple cake. lace handkerchief.Productive conceptual patterns 4. 23 . vegetable soup. etc.
glass eye. N+N (X is an instrument): steam boat. castor oil. cell block. farm boy. heat engine A+ N atomic energy. vacuum cleaner. starvation diet. cable network. etc. mountain range. steel helmet. hand-brake. oil lamp. beet sugar. reptilian leather. country butter. steam roller. nervous system. silk worm. music box. water wheel. N+N (concrete location) store clothes. sap tree. candy cigarette. grain alcohol.Productive conceptual patterns 5. coke machine. A+N stellar configuration. song bird. // X is the THEME of Y] Examples: N+N honey bee. wood shavings. bacon grease. kennel puppies. oil well. hydrogen bomb. plastic toys. cane sugar. alligator leather. peanut-butter. seat glands. chocolate bar. automobile plant 24 . wind mill. floral wreath. solar generator. alcohol lampe. gas-stove. test-tube baby. electrical clock. sea breeze. gutter language. The Agentive qualia. smoke signals. shock treatment. nuclear weapon. etc. [Y PRODUCES X. machine translation. the SOURCE pattern [Y has its SOURCE/ORIGIN/LOCATION/ INSTRUMENT in X] Examples: N+N (origin) olive oil (oil has its source in olives). copper coins. oil lamp. etc. daisy chain. paper money. coal dust. rye-whiskey.
[Y has subkind X] Examples: cactus plant. mountain lodge. logical impossibility. etc. (abstract location): marital conflicts. sports magazine. temporal and special location [Y is SPATIALLY LOCATED in X] Examples: N+N field mouse. spinal inflammation. evening hours. river god. pastoral art. political cartoon. water bug. metropolitan transport. etc. wood frog. winter activity. etc. city folk. marginal note. wood dove. morning prayers. desert rat. sylvan flora. city unrest. water lily. mountain cabin. surface tension. etc. academic wrting. love song. city libraries. neighborhood bars. long-distance courses. 25 . country man. A+ N urban riots. rural policeman. winter sports. city police. urban parks. etc.Productive conceptual patterns 6. midnight snack. textual errors. field weed. warsong. adolescent turmoil. water witch. academic novel. hedge-sparrow. nocturnal flights. etc. water plant. terrestrial life. hospital wards. academic transfers. aquatic mammals. [Y is TEMPORALLY LOCATED in X] Examples N+ N night flight. childhood dreams. A + N autumnal rains. child hood dreams. weekend boredom. The formal qualia.
clothing shop. administrative office. cat food. industrial equipment. digestive system.Productive conceptual patterns 7. headache pill. teaching strategy. fertility pill. The teleological qualia [ Y SERVES FOR/ IS FOR X] (highly productive) Examples N+N/A+N dog house. pet spray 26 . bug spray.
that is the syntactic head does not qualify as the semantic head of the compound. 27 .Exocentric compounds There are numerous examples of root compounds in which the whole structure is not a hyponym of the grammatical head. What the examples share is the fact that they designate persons. Consider the following 2 sets of examples: (18) (a) pickpocket (b) loudmouth cut-throat redhead spoilsport greybeard The examples above differ from the endocentric nominal compounds on account of the fact that their semantics is strinkingly deviant . They are known as exocentric compounds or bahuvrihi compounds.
the right-hand member of the compounds qualifies as head in point of the grammatical properties of the compound (category. nevertheless. a pickpocket is not a kind of pocket but someone who picks pockets. 28 . These compounds are known as semantically exocentric. sport). Similarly. plural marking) Examples of exocentric compounds may cover other patterns: N+N (agony aunt= woman who gives counselling on personal matters). and the same holds for cut-throat and spoilsport . A+N (golden goose = a source of unlimited prosperity). Loudmouth does not designate a kind of mouth but a kind of person and the same holds for redhead and greybeard. spoil) and an argument type element (throat. cut. Exocentricity is achieved by metaphoric or metonymic transferences. From a syntactic point of view. pocket. Since such compounds designate persons it means that the semantic head is outside the compound. in this type of compounds we can isolate a predicate type element (pick. N+A (colour blind = making no distinction on grounds of skin colour or ethnic origin).
Verbal compounds: #ing compounds Adjectival deverbal #ing compounds 37 . 1.
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