Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

New from Oxford University Press!


It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: Wie wär's mit einem richtigen Mädelsabend? Plural -s within Compounds in Colloquial Northern German
Author: Carol Fehringer
Institution: Newcastle University
Linguistic Field: Morphology; Phonology
Subject Language: German
Abstract: In standard German, the non-occurrence of -s plurals as the first element of a lexical compound (e.g., *Auto-s-berg ‘heap of cars') vs. the regular occurrence of the other plural suffixes (e.g., Kind-er-club ‘children's club', Frau-en-fete 'women's party') has often been quoted as evidence for a dual mechanism model of morphology, which sees irregular forms as stored in the mental lexicon while regular forms are generated by rule (see Marcus et al. 1995). However, in colloquial northern German, where the s-plural is more widely used than in the standard language, it is possible to form productive compounds containing this suffix (e.g., Mädel-s-treff ‘girls’ meeting'). This paper investigates to what extent -s plurals are acceptable within compounds in colloquial northern German, whether they are subject to any linguistic constraints (for example, morphological or phonological), and what implications they might have for current morphological theory.


This article appears IN Journal of Germanic Linguistics Vol. 21, Issue 2.

Return to TOC.

Add a new paper
Return to Academic Papers main page
Return to Directory of Linguists main page