Sino-Tibetan: Mandarin Chinese

Antonella Ceccagno and Bianca Basciano

in The Oxford Handbook of Compounding

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199695720
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

 Sino-Tibetan: Mandarin Chinese

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  • Linguistics
  • Grammar, Syntax and Morphology
  • Language Families


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This chapter, starting from the classification of compounds argued for by Bisetto and Scalise (2005), puts forth a redefinition of their macrotypes in order to be able to undertake an in-depth analysis of Chinese compounding. One widely discussed theoretical issue in the literature is the morphological position of the head in the languages of the world. The chapter discusses headedness in Chinese compounds and proposes a new Head Position Principle, which challenges some widespread assumptions and could well be of interest for the analysis of headedness in other languages. In the analysis of Chinese compounds, a phenomenon never analysed before has been identified: the formation of new compounds from underlying compounds, named ‘metacompounding’. These compounds have implications for headedness.

Keywords: Chinese compounds; compounding; Head Position Principle; metacompounding; headedness

Article.  4633 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology ; Language Families

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