Sergio Scalise and Francesca Forza

in Linguistics

ISBN: 9780199772810
Published online October 2011 | | DOI:

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  • Linguistics
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  • Language Families
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Compounding is the morphological operation that—in general—puts together two free forms and gives rise to a new word. The importance of compounding stems from the fact that there are probably no languages without compounding, and in some languages (e.g., Chinese) it is the major source of new word formation. Compounds are particularly interesting linguistic constructions for a number of reasons. First, they constitute an anomaly among grammatical constructions because they are “words,” but at the same time exhibit a type of “internal syntax.” Compounds, furthermore, represent a contact point between several crucial linguistic and nonlinguistic notions such as syntagmatic and paradigmatic relationships, syntax and morphology, and linguistic knowledge and pragmatic knowledge. As for the relationship between syntax and morphology, it has often been observed that compounds are the morphological constructions that are closest to syntactic constructions, to the extent that there is no general agreement on which component of the grammar is responsible for their formation.

Article.  9781 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Anthropological Linguistics ; Language Families ; Psycholinguistics ; Sociolinguistics

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