Delineating Derivation and Compounding

Susan Olsen

in The Oxford Handbook of Derivational Morphology

Published in print September 2014 | ISBN: 9780199641642
Published online March 2015 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

Delineating Derivation and Compounding

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Compounds are contrasted in structure and meaning with affixations. It is shown how affixes may develop historically from productive compound patterns when a productive core constituent can no longer be associated with its independent form. Meaning extension and separation is a common occurrence in compounds. Recent psycholinguistic findings indicate that frequent constituents of non-transparent compounds have separate entries in the mental lexicon as bound variants of their free counterparts. The so-called “lexical affixes” of certain noun incorporating languages present interesting borderline cases, as they contain a mix of lexeme-like semantics with formal properties of affixes. They too may have arisen via a grammaticalization process from (bound) roots to formatives. Synthetic compounds are argued to be genuine compounds with derived transitive heads. Finally, complex conversion structures, analogies, blends, and back-formations are differentiated on the basis of their restricted interpretation from productive compounds.

Keywords: semi-suffix; morphological transcendence; bound root; lexical affix; neoclassical compound; conversion; analogy; back-formation; blend; reduplication

Article.  11273 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Lexicography

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