LINGUIST List 12.2976

Wed Nov 28 2001

Sum: Co-ordination in Word Formation

Editor for this issue: Marie Klopfenstein <>


  1. Laurie Bauer, Coordination in word-formation

Message 1: Coordination in word-formation

Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2001 09:56:24 +1300
From: Laurie Bauer <>
Subject: Coordination in word-formation

In LINGUIST 12.2916 I posed the following question:
>Does anyone know of any study of co-ordination in word-formation?
>In English, it is often possible to co-ordinate elements in
>compounds, although this has been suggested as a way to distinguish
>between compounds and N+N phrases (See Bauer, L. When is a sequence
>of two nouns a compound in English? English Language and Linguistics
>2 (1998) 74-75).
>postmen and -women
>girl- and boy-friends
>In related languages such as Dutch and German, this is certainly no problem.
>In Dutch, at least, it is possible to co-ordinate with suffixes
>which are of a suitable phonological structure. G. Booij & A. van
>Santen, Morfologie, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 1995: 130
>cite examples such as
>christen- en heidendom 'Christen and heathen-dom'
>vader- of moederschap 'father- or motherhood'
>but not
>*rood- of groenig 'red or greenish'.
>In English it is possible to co-ordinate learned prefix-like things, as in
>audio- and video-files
>psycho- and socio-linguistics
>but not
>*phon(o)- and morphology.
>It is also possible to co-ordinate certain prefixes:
>pre- and post-match celebrations
>but not
>*over- and review.
>I suspect that there are various things going on here: phonological
>status, zeugma, pragmatics.... Does anyone know if this has been
>looked at in any detail, or what the most relevant factors are?

I should like to thank all of those who responded:

"Geoffrey S. Nathan" <>
"Ingo Plag" <>
"Martha Edwards" <>
"Seizi Iwata" <>
George Smith <>
Omar Larouk <>
Pius ten Hacken <>
Ron Artstein <>
Ronald Cosper <Ronald.CosperSTMARYS.CA>

I was given the following references (I have not yet seen all of
these so cannot comment on how compatible the solutions given are);

Gustave Antoine, "La Coordination", (2 Vol.)
Booij, Geert (1985). Coordination reduction in complex words: A case
for prosodic phonology. In Harry van der Hulst and Norval Smith
(eds.), Advances in Nonlinear Phonology, vol. 7 of Linguistic Models,
pp. 143-160. Dordrecht: Foris.
Okada, Sadayuki (1999). On the conjoinability of affixal morphemes in
English. Word 50(3), pp. 339-363.
Smith, George (2000). Word Remnants and Coordination. In Thieroff et
al (eds.), Deutsche Grammatik in Theorie und Praxis. Tuebingen:
Niemeyer. 57-68.
Further, Ron Artstein and Omar Larouk (for e-mail addresses see
above) are working on theses parts of which address my question.

The major explanation seems to run along the lines that phonological
words can be coordinated. This alone explains most of the data in my
query, and the observation that 'phono- and morphological' is OK,
despite 'phon(o) and morphology' not being. (Incidentally, some
writers queried my acceptability judgements; I tried to find genuine
examples but failed, which may prove something!) That is the message
of Booij (1985) and has been picked up by others. (See e.g. Wiese,
Richard 1996. The Phonology of German. OUP. 69-74.) However, two
types of counter-example were cited. The first concerns the
permissibility of conjoining prefixes which are not phonological
words in German:
>You also find "be- oder entladen" (at least on traffic signs in Basel).
The second type involves places where phonological words cannot be
coordinated, as in
>?? black- and floorboards. (as in: ??As part of our renovation
>project, I need to order some black and floorboards.)
which is probably a demand for parallel semantic structure (i.e. a
prohibition against zeugma, as suggested in my question) but may be
to do with degrees of lexicalisation in some way.

Laurie Bauer

Professor of Linguistics
School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies
Victoria University of Wellington
PO Box 600
New Zealand
Ph +64 4 472 1000 x 5619 or DDI +64 4 463 5619
Fax +64 4 463 5604
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