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: What's in a compound?
Author: Andrew Spencer
Linguistic Field: Morphology
Subject Language: Chukot
Abstract: The Oxford Handbook of Compounding surveys a variety of theoretical and descriptive issues, presenting overviews of compounding in a number of frameworks and sketches of compounding in a number of languages. Much of the book deals with Germanic noun-noun compounding. I take up some of the theoretical questions raised surrounding such constructions, in particular, the notion of attributive modification in noun-headed compounds. I focus on two issues. The first is the semantic relation between the head noun and its nominal modifier. Several authors repeat the argument that there is a small(-ish) fixed number of general semantic relations in noun-noun compounds ('Lees's solution'), but I argue that the correct way to look at such compounds is what I call 'Downing's solution', in which we assume that the relation is specified pragmatically, and hence could be any relation at all. The second issue is the way that adjectives modify nouns inside compounds. Although there are languages in which compounded adjectives modify just as they do in phrases (Chukchee, Arleplog Swedish), in general the adjective has a classifier role and not that of a compositional attributive modifier. Thus, even if an English (or German) adjective-noun compound looks compositional, it isn't.


This article appears IN Journal of Linguistics Vol. 47, Issue 2.

Return to TOC.

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