English Linguistics: Compounding Essay

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Compounding belongs to the linguistic discipline of morphology, which is concerned with the study of the creation, structure and form of words and it is the most significant word formation process next to derivation and conversion. Compounds – the products of compounding - are word combinations of at least two free and already existing morphemes. Hence the basic compound structure is F + F, meaning a free morpheme + another free morpheme. Moreover, there are two different methods of categorizing compounds.
There is one basic definition of the word formation process compounding, namely “compounding as the combination of two words to form a new word” (Plag 133). This definition comprises two substantial presumptions: Firstly, it creates
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The head – the rightmost element of a compound – is crucial for defining a compounds´ lexical class: The most frequent type of compound is the noun compound. Most noun compounds consist of a root, which may be a verb, an adjective or an adverb, and a noun as the head, e.g. arm-chair, dare-devil, black-bird and back-talk. The exception of noun compounds are so called “special noun compounds” which are a combination of a verb and an adverb as the head, e.g. blast-off and drive-in. Verb compounds are constituted of a noun, a verb or an adjective with a verb as the head, e.g. baby-sit, drop-kick, sweet-talk and over-do. The third variation of compounds is adjective compounds. Those comprise a noun, an adjective or an adverb and an adjective as the rightmost element, e.g. sugar-free, blue-green, stone-deaf and blood-red.
Furthermore, compounds can also be categorized semantically into four types. The first type of compound is the endocentric or modifier-head compound. The meaning of the endocentric compounds can be derived from combining the meanings of its components (Bieswanger 92). For example the compound dining table is a special type of table, more precisely a table where you eat your dinner. The left morpheme “dining” determines the head “table” of the compound (Bieswanger 92). The compound laser printer is a special kind of printer where the left element “laser” defines the element to the right “printer”. A book cover is a

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