This book presents a comprehensive review of theoretical work on the
linguistics and psycholinguistics of compound words and combines it with a
series of surveys of compounding in a variety of languages from a wide
range of language families.
Compounding is an effective way to create and express new meanings.
Compound words are segmentable into their constituents so that new items
can often be understood on first presentation. However, as keystone,
keynote, and keyboard, and breadboard, sandwich-board, and mortarboard
show, the relation between components is often far from straightforward.
The question then arises, as to how far compound sequences are analysed at
each encounter and how far they are stored in the brain as single lexical
items? The nature and processing of compounds thus offer an unusually
direct route to how language operates in the mind, as well as providing the
means of investigating important aspects of morphology, and lexical
semantics, and insights to child language acquisition and the organization
of the mental lexicon. This book is the first to report on the state of the
art on these and other central topics, including the classification and
typology of compounds, and cross-linguistic research on the subject in
different frameworks and from synchronic and diachronic perspectives.