LINGUIST List 10.1233

Sat Aug 21 1999

Qs: Linking morphemes in Dutch compounds

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  1. Andrea Krott, Linking elements in compounds

Message 1: Linking elements in compounds

Date: Wed, 18 Aug 1999 17:45:29 +0200 (MET DST)
From: Andrea Krott <Andrea.Krottmpi.nl>
Subject: Linking elements in compounds


I am working on linking morphemes in Dutch nominal compounds and I am
searching for other languages revealing a similar phenomenon. The only
languages I know about are Dutch, German, and Danish.

Here is a description of what linking morphemes in Dutch are: There
are two main linking morphemes in Dutch: -s- and -en-. They appear
between the two constituents of a nominal compound.

examples:

boekenkast (standard orthography)
boek-en-kast (morpheme breakdown)
book-LINK-shelf
"book shelf"

regeringsvorm (standard orthography)
regering-s-vorm (morpheme breakdown)
government-LINK-type
'type of government'


Historically, linking morphemes in Dutch are old genitive singular
suffixes or nominative plural suffixes. Syncronically, the linking -s-
often cannot be interpreted as a plural or genitive suffix of the
first constituent (e.g., 'regerings' is not the correct plural form
for 'regering'). It is also questionable whether the -s- still bares
any semantic information. On the other hand, the linking -en- only
occurs after nouns which syncronically form their plural with -en, and
there is evidence that -en- still bares the plural meaning.

In Dutch linking morphemes are productively used in novel compounds.
People mostly agree on which linking morpheme to use in a novel
compound. Although, they have a flexible sense of what is "correct"
(unlike inflectional morphology).


I would be thankful for any information about any language with any
kind of linking elements in compounds (not only in nominal compounds).

Andrea
__________________________________________

Andrea Krott M.A.

Interfaculty Research Unit for Language and Speech &
Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
Wundtlaan 1
PB 310, 6500 AH Nijmegen
The Netherlands

E-mail: akrottmpi.nl
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