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word-08-12 - In a Word The Wonderful World of Words...

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In a Word The Wonderful World of Words Morphology 3 September 30, 2008
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Morphology assignment is now due!
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Compounds When we form a word from two substantive words (or substantive morphemes) we have a compound . A compound is itself a substantive word , so we can compound (v.) a compound (n.) (in other words, it may be both a noun and a verb, as substantive words frequently are).
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N N N fire man N N N fire fly
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N A N strong man N A N black berry
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bláckberry vs. blàck bérry bláckbird vs. blàck bírd gréenhouse vs. grèen hóuse stróng man vs. stròng mán
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The Right Head Rule: In English, the category of complex words is determined by the rightmost morpheme (remember suffixes vs. prefixes?) But there are a few exceptions to that : The prefixes be- and en- which we already discussed
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Are Compounds Compositional ? which is to say, can we compute the meaning of the compound from the meaning of its parts ?
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N N N fire man + N N N fire fly +
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N A N green house + N A N strong man +
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Compounding and Structure kitchen [tówel ràck] [kítchen towel] ràck tráde union délegate assembly lèader
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t Ó wel(N) ràck(N) N kitchen(N) N k í tchen(N) towel(N) N r à ck(N) N
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Other Compounds red hot makeup blackout baby sit red neck fixer upper How are these compounds different from those we already discussed?
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redneck is NOT a neck And likewise : paleface , bigfoot , dimwit etc.
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Compounds can be exocentric – this means that they don’t appear to have an obvious head, and instead, their category is determined from the ‘outside’ so to speak, or maybe they have a covert head [ [red neck] N ] Compounds can be endocentric - this means that the right member of the compound is the head – it determines both the category and what the compound is about, it functions, in a sense, like the skeleton around which the compound it built. [[fire] man N ]
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makeup is NOT a kind of up blackout is NOT a kind of out These, too, are exocentric compounds, in that the category is not determined from within the compound, but in a sense, they are not as exocentric as redface, because, plausibly, blackout does have something to do with black , and makeup does have something to do with make.
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And finally, an odd mix of others: babysit – what is this about? fixer upper – what is this about?
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Compounds Are made of substantive lexical items If they are endocentric, they are headed on the right , like most other English derived (complex) words Mostly, have a kind-of relations with their head Are not necessarily compositional The left stem bears the stress The different stems are inseparable (the different parts of the compound cannot enter a direct relations with other words such as coordination, pronominalization, etc.)
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