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

New from Oxford University Press!


Language Planning as a Sociolinguistic Experiment

By: Ernst Jahr

Provides richly detailed insight into the uniqueness of the Norwegian language development. Marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Norwegian nation following centuries of Danish rule

New from Cambridge University Press!


Acquiring Phonology: A Cross-Generational Case-Study

By Neil Smith

The study also highlights the constructs of current linguistic theory, arguing for distinctive features and the notion 'onset' and against some of the claims of Optimality Theory and Usage-based accounts.

New from Brill!


Language Production and Interpretation: Linguistics meets Cognition

By Henk Zeevat

The importance of Henk Zeevat's new monograph cannot be overstated. [...] I recommend it to anyone who combines interests in language, logic, and computation [...]. David Beaver, University of Texas at Austin

Query Details

Query Subject:   Are there any languages without compound words?
Author:   Emiliano Guevara
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Linguistic LingField(s):  Morphology

Query:   Dear Linguist List,

My question is a very simple one, though I still have not been able to
find a clear answer to it.

Are there any languages without compound words or without any
productive compounding processes?

A bit of background on the problem: research in typology and linguistic
universals has dedicated little if any attention to compounding. It seems
that the commonplace is to assume that compounding is really
pervasive in the world's languages, although a great deal of variation in
preferred structural types and relative productivity. The extent of this
variation is enormous, as I have been able to prove in previous
exploratory research (Guevara and Scalise 2009, URL:

One interesting quote by Greenberg might still subsume what we know
There are a considerable number of languages without inflections,
perhaps none without compounding and derivation. (J. Greenberg
1963: 92)

Thank you very much in advance,


University of Oslo
LL Issue: 22.2807
Date posted: 08-Jul-2011


Sums main page