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207 morphbooklet

  1. 1. 1 LG207 The Structure of English MorphologyAndrew SpencerRoom: 4.334email: spenatel: 2188
  2. 2. Contents1 BASIC MORPHOLOGY 5 1.1 The lexeme concept . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 1.2 Morphological processes - inflection and derivation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 1.2.1 Derivation (derivational morphology) the creation of new lexemes . . . . 5 1.2.2 Inflection (inflectional morphology) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 1.2.3 Morphological operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 1.3 Types of inflectional processes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 1.3.1 Inherent inflection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 1.3.2 Contextual inflection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 1.4 Compounds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 1.5 Clitics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92 English Inflection 11 2.1 Introduction - Functional categories and inflectional categories . . . . . . . . . . . 11 2.2 Noun inflection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 2.2.1 Plurals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 2.3 Verb inflection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 2.3.1 Analytic vs. synthetic forms: the tense/aspect system . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 2.4 Adjectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 2.4.1 Comparative and superlative . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 2.4.2 Comparative and superlative - inflection or derivation? . . . . . . . . . . . 193 Clitics 21 3.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 3.2 English auxiliary clitics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 3.3 Other types of clitic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 3.3.1 Pronominal object clitics in English . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 3.3.2 Prepositions and determiners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 2
  3. 3. CONTENTS 34 COMPOUNDING 27 4.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 4.2 The internal structure of compounds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 4.2.1 Headed (endocentric) compounds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 4.2.2 Adjective-headed compounds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 4.2.3 Non-headed (exocentric) compounds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 4.2.4 Morphophonological properties of compounds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 4.2.5 Morphological properties of compounds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 4.3 Compounds vs. phrases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 4.3.1 Phonological properties of compounds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 4.3.2 Semantic properties of compounds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 4.3.3 Syntactic properties of compounds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 4.3.4 Compounds and composite nominals: structure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 4.3.5 Synthetic compounds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 415 Derivational Processes 43 5.1 Patterns of derivation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 5.2 Two types of derivation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 5.3 Productive, semi-productive and unproductive morphology . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
  4. 4. Chapter 1BASIC MORPHOLOGY1.1 The lexeme concept (1) cat, dog Two words (2) cat, cats Two words? One word? CAT LEXEME (3) kat kats word forms Sg. Pl. (4) a. Tom will walk to work b. Tom walks to work c. Tom is walking to work d. Tom walked to work (5) walk: {walk, walks, walking, walked}1.2 Morphological processes - inflection and derivation1.2.1 Derivation (derivational morphology) the creation of new lexemesOften (but not always) changes grammatical category: (6) V ⇒ N: (to) print ⇒ printer V ⇒ A: print ⇒ printable V ⇒ V: print ⇒ re-print N ⇒ V: flea ⇒ de-flea N ⇒ A: milk ⇒ milky N ⇒ N: mother ⇒ motherhood A ⇒ N: happy ⇒ happiness A ⇒ V: thick ⇒ thicken A ⇒ A: happy ⇒ unhappy 4
  5. 5. CHAPTER 1. BASIC MORPHOLOGY 5Derivation typically adds a new lexical meaning component: (7) printable: ‘such that can be printed’ motherhood: ‘property of being a mother’ thicken: ‘become or cause to become thicker’Derivation is iterative (feeds into itself, sometimes referred to as recursion): (8) in-de-cipher-abil-ity1.2.2 Inflection (inflectional morphology)Creates word forms of a lexeme (9) CAT: cat (Singular) cats (Plural) (10) a. SING: sing Base form sings 3sg Present Tense singing Present Participle sang Past Tense sung Past Participle (Perfect/Passive Participle) b. WALK: walk Base form walks 3sg Present Tense walking Present Participle walked Past Tense walked Past Participle (Perfect/Passive Participle) (11) a. COLD: cold Positive colder Comparative coldest Superlative b. GOOD: good Positive better Comparative best Superlative1.2.3 Morphological operationsMorphological operation =def ‘concrete change made to a word form in order to signal a deriva-tional or inflectional process’ (12) reprints: ‘3sg Present Tense RE[PRINT]]’ = ‘print again’ prefix root suffix re print s Affix = prefix or suffix
  6. 6. CHAPTER 1. BASIC MORPHOLOGY 6 Other languages permit more radical changes, e.g. infixation, circumfixation, replacement,subtraction, reduplication, . . . Example of replacives morphology in Eng.: Marx-ist ‘one who follows the tenets of Marxism’ Marx-ism philosoph-y ∼ philosoph-er, nomin-ate ∼ nomin-ee.Other operations in English:Vowel change: man ∼ men sing ∼ sang ∼ sungSometimes this accompanies affixations: break ∼ broke ∼ broken (= broke + en) write ( ∼ wrote) ∼ writtenConsonant change: house [haUs] ∼ (to) house [haUz] knife [naIf] ∼ knives [naIvz]Stress shift: contrast ∼ (to) contr´ st ´ a N∼V(Languages with tones may use tone alternations to realize grammatical processes)Conversion: word of one class treated as belonging to a different class without any overt mor-phological operation:N ⇒ V: paper ∼ to paper (the wall) skin ∼ to skin a rabbit head ∼ to head a department, an inquiry, a phrase police ∼ to police a town, a regulationV ⇒ N: walk ∼ go for a walk fall ∼ take a fall sleep ∼ get a good night’s sleepAlso phrasal verbs: take off ∼ a smooth take off put down ∼ a cruel put down run through ∼ a quick run through (one’s lecture)A ⇒ N: the good, the bad and the uglyN ⇒ A: orange (balloon), primrose (wallpaper)A ⇒ V: wet (the paper), dry (the dishes)
  7. 7. CHAPTER 1. BASIC MORPHOLOGY 71.3 Types of inflectional processes1.3.1 Inherent inflectionExpressing functional categories which can be interpreted semantically (interpretable, mean-ingful functional categories) There are a variety of grammatical functions (or grammatical ‘meanings’) that can be ex-pressed by inflectional means. These include: • verb tense: e.g. past, present, future • verb mood: e.g. indicative, subjunctive, imperative, ... • noun: number, definiteness, case • comparison of adjectives: positive, comparative, superlative This type of inflection is close to derivation (and can be difficult to distinguish from deriva-tion).1.3.2 Contextual inflectionExpresses relations between words and phrases in a sentence. Doesn’t express a meaning(uninterpretable functional categories). Two main kinds: agreement, government. (Englishhas little of either think of some examples).Inflectional paradigmsThe tables we have seen so far are all examples of paradigms, sets of the inflected word forms ofa language. Paradigms are defined by the grammatical distinctions which a language choosesto code morphologically. E.g. nouns in English have to be inflected for Number, but not Caseor Possessor. Verbs in Russian are inflected for Tense, Mood, Voice and agree with their Subject,but don’t agree with their Object.There are often systematic relations between parts of a paradigm. Consider the paradigms fora regular (‘weak’) and irregular (‘strong’) verb: Form label weak verb strong verb Base form climb swim Present Participle climb-ing swimm-ing 3Sg climb-s swim-s Past climb-ed swam Perfect/Passive Participle climb-ed swum Table 1.1: English verb paradigms Notice that the Past form and the Perfect/Passive Participle are identical for climb. This istrue of all regular verbs. Such a coincidence of form is called syncretism. Most inflectionalparadigms exhibit some form of syncretism.
  8. 8. CHAPTER 1. BASIC MORPHOLOGY 81.4 Compounds N N N (13) morphology lecture ‘lecture which has something to do with morphology’ lecture = head of compound, morphology = modifier Compound with head = endocentric Meaning of compound determined regularly from meanings of elements Compounding is recursive: (14) morphology class room change announcement (procedures (review (committee (chair- man (. . . ) (15) blackbird N A N black birdNon-compositional: meaning of whole compound can’t be inferred from component nouns.[Why?] Unheaded compounds (exocentric): (16) lazybones pickpocket forget-me-not Various birds’ names are like this: redcap, yellow hammer, . . .1.5 CliticsWords which can’t exist independently and need a host to ‘lean on’ (attach to phonologically): (17) a. it’s it is, it has b. could’ve could have c. she’ll she will/shallThese contracted forms can attach to any category of word in principle, hence, they aren’tproper affixes.
  9. 9. CHAPTER 1. BASIC MORPHOLOGY 9 (18) a. The man responsible’s been fired b. The man responsible has been fired (19) a. The ones over here’ll be fresher b. The ones over here will be fresher Phrasal affix - Possessive ’s (‘Saxon genitive’)Here the clitic can’t be thought of as a reduced form of a full word. The clitic attaches to wordsof any category, provided they’re on the right edge of the NP: (20) a. Harriet’s hat b. the man who Harriet met’s hat c. the girl I’m speaking to’s hat The clitic behaves just like an affix except that it attaches to the edge of the phrase ratherthan to the syntactic head of the phrase (as a true Genitive Case ending would).
  10. 10. Chapter 2English Inflection2.1 Introduction - Functional categories and inflectional categoriesAs we saw in Chapter One inflections are a subset of the functional categories, which governsyntactic relations in sentences. Functional categories are expressed as syntactic features, e.g.the definiteness property of English noun phrases: the cat [DEFINITE +] a cat [DEFINITE -]Here is a list of the main functional categories needed for English:Grammatical relations SUBJECT (or Nominative Case) OBJECT (or Accusative/Objective Case) ADJUNCT (or Adverbial) POSSESSOR MODIFIER (e.g. attributive adjective)Nominal features DEFINITENESS NUMBER PRONOUNPronominal features PERSON NUMBER GENDERAdjectival featuresCOMPARATIVESUPERLATIVE 10
  11. 11. CHAPTER 2. ENGLISH INFLECTION 11Verbal features TENSE {PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE} ASPECT {SIMPLE, PERFECT, PROGRESSIVE} VOICE {ACTIVE, PASSIVE} MOOD {INDICATIVE, IMPERATIVE, INTERROGATIVE} MODALITY {various modal auxiliary verbs} POLARITY {Positive, Negative}Agreement SUBJAGR{3sg}Some of these categories correspond to inflections: [Number:{Sg., Pl}] [Tense: {Past, NonPast}] [SubjAgr:[Person:3, Number:Sg]]Other functional categories are expressed in four main ways: 1. word order (e.g. for grammatical relations: ‘Tom saw Harriet’ ⇒ SUBJ [Tom], OBJ [Har- riet]) 2. function words (e.g. [DEF +] ⇒ the, OBJECT PRONOUN NUMBER SG, PERSON 3, GENDER FEM ⇒ her) 3. combination of function word and specially inflected word form, e.g. passive ‘Harriet was seen by Tom’: VOICE PASSIVE ⇒ appropriate form of auxiliary verb be + [Verb- Form:Participle:Past] of lexical verb 4. inflections, e.g. NUMBER PLURAL ⇒ [Number:Plural] catsWhere functional categories are expressed by (2, 3) we say that we have an analytic (or pe-riphrastic) construction; where they are expressed by (4), i.e. solely by inflections, we call it asynthetic construction.2.2 Noun inflection2.2.1 Plurals<Work out the different ways of forming an irregular plural>Count vs. mass (coercion)We customarily distinguish two types of noun on the basis of semantics: count and mass.Count nouns denote individuated objects, while mass nouns denote stuff, substances or ag-gregates that can’t be individuated. This distinction cuts across the other distinctions such asproper/common or abstract/concrete. Examples:
  12. 12. CHAPTER 2. ENGLISH INFLECTION 12Count: chair, idea, difficulty, chocolateMass: milk, justice, difficulty, chocolateOnly count nouns can take a plural form. However, many nouns seem to be in both categories: (1) a. Your proposal faces several difficulties b. Harriet ate several chocolates a. The level of difficulty of the exercise was too high b. Harriet’s fingers were covered in chocolateThis is common behaviour for other nouns, where a count or mass interpretation is forced ona mass/count noun a process often known as coercion: (2) You’ve got egg on your tie [count ⇒ mass] (3) She ordered a milk and two coffees [mass ⇒ count]PossessorWe can express possession analytically (by means of the preposition of) or synthetically bymeans of the phrasal affix ‘s.A peculiarity of the phrasal affix is that it can’t cooccur with a plural suffix: (4) a. my friend’s book b. my friends’ book [*my friend-s-’s book] c. one of my friends d. one of my friends’ book [= the book of one of my friends]In other words a sequence of s-s is simplified to a single s. This phenomenon, where twoadjacent homophonous affixes or clitics, usually with different ‘meaning’, are simplified tojust one token, is quite common cross-linguistically. The technical term for this is haplology.Nominal function wordsPronouns: Personal pronouns have special forms for SUBJ/OBJ, often referred to as Nomina-tive/Accusative case forms. The designation is a little misleading, since the subject form isonly used for certain subjects, namely, when the pronoun is the sole exponent of the SUBJ fea-ture/function. Everywhere else we get the obj form (hence, the obj form is the default subjectform). Compare: (5) a. Tom went for a walk b. Tom and I went for a walk [literary English only] c. Tom and me went for a walk [normal colloquial English] d. *I and Tom went for a walk e. Me and Tom went for a walkNB. Prescriptive grammarians usually try to ‘ban’ examples such as (5c, 5e) in favour of theartificial construction type (5b). However, this is simply due to ignorance of the facts of Englishand of the principles of linguistics.
  13. 13. CHAPTER 2. ENGLISH INFLECTION 13 (6) Who’s going for a walk? Me. *I I am *Me am (is) (7) It’s me/*IThe obj form is used with prepositions: (8) between you and meThe expression between you and I is becoming current. It started out as a straightforward gram-matical error (an example of hypercorrection), originally from speakers with limited commandof written English who were called upon to speak in public. Now it’s entering the language asa high register variant of between you and me. However, I haven’t heard anyone saying ‘betweenI and NP’ (e.g. There’s nothing between I and my secretary).Possessive pronounsNote that there’s an adjectival and a pronominal use: (9) a. This is my book b. This (book) is (one of) mine Singular Plural poss adjective poss pronoun poss adjective poss pronoun my mine our ours thy thine your yours his his     her hers  their theirs   its its   one’s one’s (This parallels demonstratives v. inf.)ReflexivesThese are formed by suffixing self/selves to a possessive adjective (1st/2nd person) or to theobject pronoun (3rd person): my-self, thy-self, our-selves, your-selves himself, herself, itself, oneself, themselvesDemonstrativesThe only modifiers which have special plural agreement form: this/these, that/those.Can be used as either a modifier or as the head of the nominal phrase (like possessives):
  14. 14. CHAPTER 2. ENGLISH INFLECTION 14 (10) I want that (book) (11) I bought these (flowers)2.3 Verb inflection2.3.1 Analytic vs. synthetic forms: the tense/aspect systemTenseThere is a long standing controversy over the number of tenses in English. On the one handwe may wish to distinguish Present, Past, Future: Harriet runs, ran, will runOn the other hand, verbs only have two tense inflections. The solution is to recognize thedifference between morphological (inflectional) features and syntactic functional categories.The syntactic functional feature TENSE has three values PRESENT, PAST, FUTURE, but themorphological, inflectional feature just has two [Tense:Past, NonPast]. Thus, one of the TENSEfeatures has to be expressed analytically (by means of the modal auxiliary will + base form.)AspectBoth aspects are expressed analytically: HAVE + -en Perfect BE + -ing ProgressiveIn addition it makes sense to distinguish a Past Habitual tense/aspect: Tom used to play the fluteThis can just about cooccur with the Progressive: Tom used to be making a nuisance of himself all the timeThe Habitual doesn’t readily cooccur with modals: *Tom may/could/would/can. . . used toThis should be distinguished from BE USED to V-ing: Tom is used to getting up lateThis might be thought of as a kind of Customary aspect. This occurs in other tense/aspectforms:  was        Tom    had been  used to getting up late   *is being    Whether we treat Customary and Past Habitual constructions as grammatical aspects dependson the extent to which we think they’ve been grammaticalized.
  15. 15. CHAPTER 2. ENGLISH INFLECTION 15AgreementOnly in 3sg for NonPast tense forms (but even then not for modal auxiliaries). BE: supernu-merary agreement for Number in Past and Present: Singular Plural am (art) are is was wereParticiplesNB: Two systematic syncretisms: Past Tense/Past participle syncretism [regular verbs only] Passive/Perfect participle syncretism [all verbs]These two syncretisms are rather different in kind. The first is found with all regular verbs andsome irregulars, but not all: walk walked walked bring brought brought keep kept kept send sent sent cut cut cutBUT write wrote written take took taken ring rang rung run ran runThe perfect/past participle syncretism is completely exceptionless and is therefore part of ageneralization that goes deeper than just morphological form. (12) a. Tom has bought a book b. The book was bought by Tom a. Dick has rung the bell b. The bell was rung by Dick a. Harriet had taken the message b. The message had been taken by HarrietEven: (13) a. Everyone had had a good time b. A good time was had by all
  16. 16. CHAPTER 2. ENGLISH INFLECTION 16Past participle as adjectiveParticiples are much more common as post-modifiers than as pre-modifiers: ??the rung bell the bell rung by the church wardenIf the participle itself is modified, to form a kind of compound adjective, we get better results: the recently-rung bell, freshly-mown hay, a seldom bought book, an oft-cited remarkHowever, a participle can’t have any genuine syntactic complements or adjuncts: the book given to Harriet (by Tom) *the given to Harriet (by Tom) book the messages taken yesterday *the yesterday taken messages *the taken yesterday messages-ing formThis is usually known as the Present Participle, though this is misleading in several respects.It has three main uses: • Formation of Progressive aspect (with aux. BE) • Formation of Gerund/Verbal Noun • Formation of Participle1. Progressive aspect see aboveThe progressive aspect isn’t found with verbs which denote States (as opposed to ‘dynamic’events which evolve through time such as Activities, Processes and so on) *Tom is knowing the answer to these questions *Tom is being tall nowadaysYou can sometimes ‘coerce’ a special reading: Tom is being stupid again Harriet is being half a cow in this year’s pantomime2. Gerund/Verbal Noun (VN) The Gerund/Verbal Noun is a nominalized form of the verb,which, however, still keeps its argument structure (SUBJ, OBJ complements).The term ‘gerund’ is sometimes used just for the adverbial use: Walking home one night, I bumped into an old friend With students taking more Linguistics courses, we’ll need more books for the libraryVery often it’s interchangeable with the infinitive:  Taking          candy from a baby (isn’t always that easy)     To take    The Gerund/Verbal Noun functions as a clausal SUBJ (see above) or as a complement to the
  17. 17. CHAPTER 2. ENGLISH INFLECTION 17verb or to a preposition: Tom remembered/tried/advised closing the door quietly the trick of closing the door quietly after/instead of/by/despite closing the door quietlyVerbal properties of Gerund/VNWhen the OBJ is realized in the manner of the OBJ of a verb, the Gerund/VN is modified byadverbs (like a verb) not by adjectives: Continually (*continual) playing loud music (is forbidden)No def. art. is possible (though a possessor is possible): Tom’s (continually) playing loud music *the (continually) playing loud musicVN of Perfect aspectual forms (VN/gerund form of HAVE): having said that, . . . Tom having left, we started discussing Harriet’s new book Tom’s having left early, we had to postpone the rest of the discussion Tom remembered having closed the door3. ParticipleBy ‘participle’ we mean the form when used as attributive modifier, i.e. functioning like anadjective modifying a noun.Pre-nominal: The singing detective, a dripping tapMore natural as post-nominal modifier: the girl reading a book anyone claiming invalidity benefitsThe use is similar to that of the -en (“past”) participle: a broken window a letter written by a small child in blue crayonDefective forms and unusual forms: modal auxiliariesModal auxiliaries lack ing forms and past/perfect participles: *Tom is musting open the door with his credit card [cf Tom is having to open the door with his credit card] *The door is musted open [cf The door is needed open; the door must be opened] *Tom has musted open the door with his credit card [cf Tom has had to open the door with his credit card]
  18. 18. CHAPTER 2. ENGLISH INFLECTION 18Modals lack a special 3sg form, the default form being used instead: Tom can(*s) speak Russian Harriet should(*s) leave earlyAlthough there’s a base form for all auxiliaries, there’s no to-infinitive: *To must leave early is annoying *To can play the organ is very satisfying *Tom expected to will be firedExpressions like ‘to be able to’, ‘to have to’, ‘to be obliged to’, ‘to be about to’ are often used tofill in the lacunae in the analytic paradigms with auxiliaries.2.4 Adjectives2.4.1 Comparative and superlativeFormed by adding er/est to monosyllabic adjectives or adjectives ending in an unstressed syl-lable of a certain type (oversimplifying the facts somewhat): long longer longest green greener greenest happy happier happiest noble nobler noblest common commoner commonest narrow narrower narrowestSuppletive cases: good better best many/much more most little less least bad worse worstBUT: *frequenter/est *pueriler/est *curiouser/est2.4.2 Comparative and superlative - inflection or derivation?The semantics of the comparative and superlative is rather complex. E.g. longer means ‘longto a greater extent than some reference point’ I thought the play was longer ‘King Lear’ is longer than ‘As You Like It’ The average British soundbite is longer than the average American soundbiteThe superlative means ‘longer than any other’. The question arises whether these are to be regarded as inflected forms or derived forms.This means asking whether longer, longest are forms of the lexeme LONG or whether they’reseparate lexemes in their own right. From the semantic point of view one might wish to saythat they’re different lexemes because of the significant meaning change. It’s not obvious that
  19. 19. CHAPTER 2. ENGLISH INFLECTION 19we want to say that this meaning (roughly MORE and MOST) is actually grammaticalizedand hence is represented as a grammatical feature. Moreover, the comparative/superlativeforms have different complementation properties, because they take a than-phrase, whereasthe positive form doesn’t permit this.
  20. 20. Chapter 3Clitics3.1 IntroductionClitics are functional elements (realize functional features/categories) which don’t have theirown stress or accent and for this reason cannot be phonologically independent (i.e. they can’tappear as free independent words). For this reason, clitics are sometimes referred to as boundwords. Because they invariably realize functional features they are similar to inflectional af-fixes and for that reason it’s appropriate to consider them here. A number of function words inEnglish can appear either as clitics or as fully fledged (accented) words. It is their intermediatestatus between fully-fledged words and affixes which makes the behaviour of clitics especiallycomplex and interesting. Clitics are obliged to ‘lean’ on a host word (the word clitic itself comes from the AncientGreek word meaning ‘lean’), to which they are attached phonologically. The fact that they arebound elements makes them similar to affixes. Like affixes they can appear either before theirhost or after it. Unlike affixes true clitics can attach to hosts belonging to any part of speech. Affix Clitic prefix proclitic suffix enclitic Zwicky (1977) outlines a helpful typology of clitics. There are three basic sorts. The firsttype is a phonologically reduced form of a function word which can appear accented underthe right circumstances. The clitic surfaces in the same place in the linear syntactic string ofwords that the full form word would appear in. Such clitics are called simple clitics. An ex-ample would be the reduced form of the pronoun them /@m/ as in ‘I haven’t finished’em yet’.This has exactly the same distribution as the full form of the pronoun but it’s phonologicallyattached to the previous word. In other languages we find more complex situations in whichthe placement of the clitics is determined by principles specific to those clitics. For instance,many languages (for instance, the Romance languages and many of the Slavic languages) havespecial clitic forms of pronouns but they appear in specially defined positions and don’t havethe same freedom of occurrence as full form pronouns. In some cases we find that the cliticsoccur in positions from which full form pronouns are normally excluded. Where the place-ment of a clitic can’t be given by the general principles of syntax which apply to that languagebut has to be determined by special principles we speak of a special clitic. The distinction isnot always easy to draw, but it’s a useful starting point. 20
  21. 21. CHAPTER 3. CLITICS 213.2 English auxiliary cliticsIn (1 - 4) we see examples of English auxiliaries: (1) a. it is b. it’s (2) a. could have b. could’ve (3) a. she shall/will b. she’ll (4) a. we had/would b. we’dThe full forms are found (in ordinary spoken English) when the auxiliary is stressed, to em-phasise the polarity of the sentence: We HAD locked the door (after all). The reduced forms arecliticized to the word to the immediate left.The phonological shape of the clitic isn’t always easy to predict from the full form. The auxil-iaries give us the following system: am @m (m)/m will @l/l/l are @ " would " @d/d is z should @d/d has z have @v/v had @d/d Table 3.1: Auxiliary clitic formsIn addition, there are reduced forms of other auxiliaries which, however, don’t really behavelike clitics: can /k@n/, do /dU/ Some of the clitics are given in two shapes. The form without any vowel is found exclu-sively with vowel-final subject form personal pronouns. The form with the reduced vowel isfound everywhere else, including after a vowel-final word (v. inf.). The clitic appears in the same syntactic position as the full form auxiliary, which meansthat in principle it can attach to a word of any category (in (1, 3, 4) the clitic attaches to apronoun while in (2) it attaches to another auxiliary). In (5) we see further exemplification ofthis ‘promiscuity’: (5) Tom’s a linguist A friend of mine’s a linguist The girl we met yesterday’s a linguist The man you were talking to’s a linguistSimilar examples can be constructed for other clitics: (6) A friend of mine’ll do it The men you were talking to’ve left
  22. 22. CHAPTER 3. CLITICS 22It’s possible to have a string of clitics: (7) The boys’ll’ve been playing footballThe clitics have to be enclitics. This means that we can have a clitic auxiliary in a question, inwhich the subject and auxiliary are inverted: (8) Is Tom a linguist? *’sTom a linguistThe cliticized subjects show restricted syntactic distribution. For instance, they don’t appearafter parenthetical phrases positioned after the subject: (9) The man you were speaking to, according to Bill, is a linguist *The man you were speaking to, according to Bill’s a linguist (10) The boys, unless I’m mistaken, will’ve been playing football *The boys, unless I’m mistaken’ll’ve been playing footballIn addition, they don’t appear before such parentheticals: (11) *The man you were speaking to’s, according to Bill, a linguist *The boys’ll’ve, unless I’m mistaken, been playing footballWhat this shows is that it’s necessary for the cliticized subject to form an unbroken, continuousphrase with the VP. It can’t be separated from it by a parenthetical phrase which creates its ownintonational phrasing. I said that it’s impossible for an inverted auxiliary to be cliticized because the auxiliaryclitics are enclitic (suffixes). However, what if we have a sentence which begins with somephrase other than the subject? Again, the clitic must be in the same intonational phrase as theVP whose features it realizes, as shown in (12): (12) Why is Tom a linguist? *Why’s Tom a linguist? These restrictions apply to the ’s clitic corresponding to has and is. However, the syllabicclitics, i.e. those clitics which have a reduced vowel, such as /@v/, /@l/, /@d/ occur in awider set of contexts. In this respect the ’s clitic is uncharacteristic. For instance, we can haveexamples such as (13), in which an inversion structure is possible with a syllabic clitic auxiliaryprovided it has a host to its left: (13) The boys haven’t finished their homework and neither’ve the girls The journal articles’ll be easy to get and so’ll the books Similarly, wh-question words can host the syllabic clitics: (14) Why’d they left? When’ll they come back Which book’ve they read?
  23. 23. CHAPTER 3. CLITICS 23It’s not possible to follow the cliticized word with a pause or a sentence gap (this is very clearwith ’s, though less so with some of the other clitics): (15) Tom’s a linguist and Harriet is, too *Tom’s a linguist and Harriet’s, too (16) The girls’ll’ve been playing football but I don’t know whether the boys will’ve *The girls’ll’ve been playing football but I don’t know whether the boys’ll’ve (17) Tom’d do it, and Bill would, too *Tom’d do it, and Bill’d, too (18) Harriet’ll come but I don’t whether Tom will *Harriet’ll come but I don’t whether Tom’ll (19) Harriet’ll come but I don’t whether Tom will want to Harriet’ll come but I don’t whether Tom’ll want to *Harriet’ll (want to) come but I don’t whether Tom’ll (20) Tom’s a linguist but I don’t know whether Harriet is *Tom’s a linguist but I don’t know whether Harriet’s3.3 Other types of cliticFunction words tend not to be accented in ordinary conversation, and for this reason prettywell any function word is prone to become permanently unaccented and hence prosodicallydependent on some other word, i.e. a clitic. In this final section we look at other cases whichare commonly treated as cliticization in English. We’ll see that in some cases the clitics haveactually developed into affixes, just as in the case of the inflected subject pronouns.3.3.1 Pronominal object clitics in EnglishThe object forms of pronouns are also subject to reduction and hence cliticization: Bake me /mI/ a cake I’ve baked you /jU ∼ j@/ a cake Bake ’im /Im/ a cake Bake ’er /@(r)/ a cake Bake us /@s/ a cake Bake ’em /@m/ a cakeOccasionally, it appears that an object pronoun has become a clitic, in that it triggers idiosyn-cratic allomorphy on its host: Give me a break! Gimme a break /gImI@/However, this only happens with a very small number of verbs, usually in specific idiomaticcontexts, so it’s too early to say that we’re dealing with genuine affixation yet.
  24. 24. CHAPTER 3. CLITICS 243.3.2 Prepositions and determinersThe articles are prosodically clitics except when they’re specially accented (when a differentallomorph is found): He’s THE /Di:/ Noam Chomsky I asked for A /eI/ watermelon, not a dozen of the thingsHowever, the indefinite article shows affix-like behaviour in that it has an idiosyncratic al-lomorphy before vowel-initial words: an. In British dialects the same is true of the definitearticle: this is pronounced /Di:/ before consonants and /D@/ before vowels. Prepositions which have a grammatical function rather than a lexical meaning tend to getphonologically and accentually reduced to become clitics. This is most obvious with of, to, for(it doesn’t seem to happen to by). The process applies to to and for when they appear as theinfinitive marker and a complementizer respectively. a cup of tea k2p@ (Note the loss of the final consonant in of here.) the man to meet mant@ tea for two ti:f@The clitic form of of is enclitic, but the cliticization process is less pronounced with to, for whichcan also be proclitic: Where did they send it? To you (/t@ju:) Who’s it for? For me (/f@mi:In jocular English the cliticized expressions cup=of and pint=of seem to have become affixedforms, as witnessed by the spellings ‘cuppa’ and ‘pinta’. Notice also the expression toofer (tu:f@)as in ‘toofer the price of one’.
  25. 25. Chapter 4COMPOUNDING4.1 IntroductionIn this chapter we look at cases in which combinations of words seem to have properties of sin-gle lexemes. There are several kinds of such multi-word combinations. The most well-knownand well studied is the compound. However, it we’ll see that it’s appropriate to consider com-pounds in the company of other types of construction such as idioms and lexicalized phrasesof various sorts. An important theme in this chapter will be the distinction between syntactically constructedphrases and morphologically constructed expressions such as compounds. We’ll discuss waysof drawing this distinction as we proceed. Another important theme (which recurs throughoutthe study of morphology and the lexicon) is that of lexicalization. At various points I shall be referring to the analysis presented in the most influential currentdescriptive grammar of English, namely, Huddleston and Pullum (2002), which I shall refer toas ‘CGEL’.4.2 The internal structure of compoundsEnglish shares with many languages the ability to create new words by combining old words:houseboat, boathouse, penknife, bread knife, blackbird, and thousands of others. Although thesewould appear to be combinations of two words, and hence effectively phrases, we will seelater in this chapter that in many cases such expressions behave more like single words as faras the syntactic principles of English are concerned. It is expressions of this sort, that clearlyconsist of two lexemes (content words) but which behave like a single word with respect tosyntax, that we call compound words or compounds. I shall restrict my attention almost entirely to English compounds in this chapter (a goodsurvey of compounding cross-linguistically can be found in Bauer 2009). In this section we’lllook at the way compounds are built up and how their component words relate to each other.We often find that compounding types derive historically from types of syntactic constructionsand so we shouldn’t be surprised to find that compounds are often similar in their structure toordinary syntactic phrases. We’ll look in much more detail later on at ways of distinguishingcompounds from phrases. Like phrases, many compounds have structure in which there is amain word, the head, and a non-head usually functioning as a modifier. These are the headedor endocentric compounds, such as coffee table or blackbird. The crucial property of such com- 25
  26. 26. CHAPTER 4. COMPOUNDING 26pounds is that they have the semantic relation of hyponymy with respect to their heads. Insimpler terms this means that a blackbird is a kind of bird (i.e. blackbird is a hyponym of bird,or conversely bird is a hypernym of blackbird). However, it is also usual to distinguish a series ofnon-headed or exocentric compounds, in which the modifier-head structure is lacking. Paradeexamples are pickpocket or yellow hammer, which are not instances of pockets or hammers. There are other types of compound which don’t fit easily into the headed/non-headed cat-egorization. They tend to be named with the terms used by Sanskrit grammarians for suchexpressions over two millenia ago. The dvandva (= ‘two-and-two’) type of compound is es-sentially the name of a composite entity, in which both parts get named. A number of propernames are like this: Austria-Hungary, Morgan-Grenfell, Time-Warner, . . . . Austria-Hungary wasa country/empire consisting of two smaller entities, Austria and Hungary. In a number ofcases such compounds are formed so as to serve as modifiers of another noun, as in mother-daughter (relationship). A similar type is the coordinative compound, illustrated by player-manager. This doesn’tnormally denote two distinct people but rather one person who satisfies both descriptions.1 Another type with a Sanskrit label is the bahuvrihi (‘having much rice’), exemplified bylazybones, birdbrain, redhead. Here the compound can be thought of as a (usually metaphorical)expression of the form ‘having N that is A/like that of N’, e.g. ‘ a person with a red head/brainlike that of a bird/. . . ’.4.2.1 Headed (endocentric) compoundsIn this section we look at compounds which can be plausibly analysed as consisting of a headand a non-head. There are very few compounds headed by verbs in English2 , so we will con-centrate mainly on noun-headed compounds and then look more briefly at adjective-headedcompounds. A blackbird is a type of bird, a windmill is a mill, a coffee table is a table and so on. Wesay that bird, mill, table are heads, and headed compounds are called endocentric. The otherpart of the compound is a modifier. Thus, in (32) house is the modifier, while in (1b) boat is themodifier: (1) a. N b. N N N N N house boat boat houseIt is possible to form compounds out of compounds. For instance, we can have coffee tablebook, coffee table book cover, coffee table book cover design, coffee table book cover design fashion, etc, asillustrated in (2): 1 Of course, player-manager could also be used as a dvandva, as in the expression player-manager tensions, = ‘tensionsbetween players and the manager’. 2 There are very many languages which do permit regular compounding with verb heads, though, see footnote 9.
  27. 27. CHAPTER 4. COMPOUNDING 27 (2) N N N N N cover N N book coffee tableThere is no logical (i.e. linguistic) limit to the lengths of such compounds. This possibility ofallowing a process to feed itself ad infinitum is called recursion and we say that compoundingin English is recursive. This is an important property which makes compounding resemblesome sort of syntactic process. I shall return to this point later when we see that in most casesit’s probably best to think of the process as being syntactic rather than morphological. We can combine adjectives with nouns, or nouns with nouns (coffee table). We can alsocombine nouns with adjectives (canary yellow, iron hard, sky blue). We can also form adjective +adjective combinations (dark blue, icy cold). I shall return to the adjective-headed constructionsin due course. Examples such as swearword (verb + noun) and babysit (noun + verb) are rareexamples in which a verb is part of the compound. Such V N compounds are represented byjust a handful of cases and the construction is unproductive. There are many cases in which itmay appear that a modifier is a verb but this is because so many verbs in English also doubleas nouns. Thus, raincoat is a N N compound not a V N compound. Finally, there are verysporadic instances of V V compounds, generally appositional in their semantics, and usuallyused as modifiers of nouns, as in drink-drive (campaign) (an advertising campaign warningagainst the hazards of driving while under the influence of alcohol), stop-go (policy). The verb-headed compounds of the kind babysit, proof-read, arm-twist and so on are almostwithout exception backformations. Backformation is the creation of new words by virtue ofanalogy with existing words, as opposed to word formation through the operation of regularand productive morphological processes. Thus, English has a productive N N compound-ing rule but no N V compounding rule (in other words, English is not a noun incorporatinglanguage). Now, we sometimes find that words enter a language despite their being no pro-ductive rule or principle which licenses their form. Instead, the word appears as the result of amisanalysis of a previous word. For instance, in the history of English the verb peddle appearedsomewhat later than the word peddlar. Originally, peddlar was treated a single morpheme. Asthe word became an accepted part of the vocabulary it came to be reanalysed as consisting ofpeddle + er by analogy with hundreds of other words of this structure. Thus, the verb peddlecame into existence by a kind of reverse word formation process. Later in the history of En-glish exactly the same thing happened to the word editor. This word is a loan from Latin. Afterit had become established the verb edit was created, by the same analogical move which gaverise to peddle. Exactly the same thing has happened with babysit. Originally, a N N compound was formedfrom baby and sitter meaning ‘one who sits with the baby’ or some such. But sitter clearly comesfrom suffixation of the verb sit: sit + er ‘one who sits’, so speakers have permitted themselvesthe licence of provided babysitter with a second parsing: [[babysit]er], which can now be treatedas deriving from a verb babysit. In effect, words such as edit, peddle arise through a false morphological parsing of the word.Speakers assume that the final component is an affix rather than just part of the root. This kindof false analysis is known as folk etymology. A recent example of this is given by the wordhamburger. This has been etymologized as ham + burger. As a result the component burger has
  28. 28. CHAPTER 4. COMPOUNDING 28come to mean ‘sandwich in bun containing cooked filling’ and has given rise to cheeseburger,baconburger, chickenburger (and possibly other burgers which have not entered into the culinaryhorizon of the author), as well as the generic word burger itself. As a piece of linguistic historythis is unexceptional, though as a matter of fact it rests on a false etymology. The originalhamburger is supposed to contain beef, not ham, of course, and the word itself comes from theGerman word meaning ‘of or pertaining to the town of Hamburg’. The example of babysit is not purely a case of false etymology, however, Unlike the case withhamburger or edit, speakers are still aware that babysit contains baby and sit (in some sense).Thus, they have effectively reanalysed the word, but in a fashion that violates the normalrules of language. This is often done as a form of wordplay, and is found in poetic language.If the idea catches on and more N V compounds are formed in this fashion then we mayreach a situation in which N V compounding becomes part of the language and hence a bonafide morphological process. This hasn’t yet happened in English, though it’s interesting thatin technical or specialist vocabulary of various kinds we tend to find far more of these N Vcompounds than in ordinary language. Maybe the N V compound process is acquiring themark of specialist vocabulary, in which case the process may not spread. On the other hand ifit were to become linguistically very fashionable to use specialist vocabulary in non-specialistcontexts then N V compounding might ultimately spread into ordinary language. This patterning is summarized in Table in 4.1, where unproductive types are given insquare brackets: Modifier/Head Noun Adjective Verb Noun houseboat colour-fast [babysit] Adjective blackbird red-hot slow-cook Verb [swearword] tamper-proof [drink-drive] Table 4.1: Compound types in English Some of these types are much more productive and frequent than others.Some examples of compounds whose meaning can only be figured out given the right context: elephant gun, speed camera Cf also the following paradigm: sunflower oil, olive oil, whale oil, cod liver oil, . . . , baby oil4.2.2 Adjective-headed compoundsCGEL ch. 19 §4.3 p. 1658f There are compounds in which an adjective is modified by a noun as in sky blue, rock hardor by another adjective as in dark blue or icy cold or in the case of fail-safe, tamper-proof by a verb.CGEL categorizes them in the following way:Intensifying: bone-dry, dirt-cheap, feather-lightMeasure terms: ankle-deep, week-longIncorporated complement/modifier: accident-prone, burglar-proof, user-friendlySelf -compounds: self-confident, self-evident, self-righteous
  29. 29. CHAPTER 4. COMPOUNDING 29 However, although CGEL describe these as compounds we could just as easily say thatthey are adjectives with noun or adjective modifiers. CGEL: 547 describes various ways ofmodifying an adjective syntactically, including by NP, as in a [two inch long] nail or a [day long]trip. It’s not clear, then, why we should treat the regular and productive types of adjective-headed construction as anything but syntactic phrases. We’ll return to the question of how todistinguish compounds from phrases later in the chapter. CGEL provides instances such as foot-loose, headstrong, threadbare, top-heavy as examples ofparticularly lexicalized compounds.4.2.3 Non-headed (exocentric) compoundsNot all compounds are headed. Although the word lazybones clearly consists of lazy andbones, neither word is the head of the compound. An unheaded compound of this sort iscalled exocentric and there are several subtypes. One type is represented by examples suchas Austria-Hungary, parent-teacher (association), mother-daughter (relationship) and with adjectivesblue-green. Here the compound is just two nouns combined with equal status and so we cancall them coordinate compounds. Where we have a semantically transparent compound wecan again say that the compound is made up of two fully-fledged lexemes, neither of which isthe sole head. In (3, 4) we see two further examples of exocentric compounds: (3) N (4) N V N V pick pocket V Particle take offThe example in (4) actually shows a case of conversion, of a particle verb (phrasal verb) (to) takeoff into a noun (a) take-off. The result is a noun which consists of two words but which lacks ahead in the ordinary sense. Although verbs rarely enter into headed compound constructionsthey are rather more common in unheaded compounds such as (3, 4). However, exocentriccompounding other than the coordinate compound type is unproductive in English.4.2.4 Morphophonological properties of compoundsStandard examples of compounding involve fully-fledged words such as coffee or pick. Englishalso has compounds consisting entirely of bound morphemes. These are often known as neo-classical compounds. Some examples are given in (5): (5) anthropology logorhea erithrocyte anthropomorphic rheostat cytoplasm morphology elasmobranch hydrogenSuch words are formed from Greek (sometimes Latin) roots which are not generally used ontheir own. Sometimes, one of these roots does correspond to a word, as in biosphere (sphere) or
  30. 30. CHAPTER 4. COMPOUNDING 30psychology (psycho). In the case of psycho (and many other such examples) the word is formedby clipping of a fuller neo-classical compound (e.g. psychosis or psychotic). The examples in (5)can be segmented as follows: (6) anthrop-o-log-y log-o-rhe-a erithr-o-cyte anthrop-o-morph-ic rhe-o-stat cyt-o-plasm morph-o-log-y elasm-o-branch hydr-o-genIt is difficult to know how best to analyse the components of neo-classical compounds. On theone hand they are not really affixes, since many of them can appear at the beginning or theend of the word (e.g. cyte). On the other hand, they are not obvious examples of roots becausethey generally can’t appear unless they are attached to some other similar form (e.g. erithr-or -plasm). In some cases the element may have a preference for the beginning of the end ofthe word. Bauer (1983) refers to these respectively as Initial Combining Forms (ICF) and FinalCombining Forms (FCF). For example, erithr- doesn’t seem to occur finally, so this would bean ICF. Many, however, are like cyte in functioning both as ICF’s and FCF’s. Returning to the compounds in (5/6) we see that in each case the two elements are sepa-rated by an -o- element (see later for discussion). Two examples are illustrated in (7): (7) N ? intermorph ? erithr -o- cyte cyt plasmIn other languages it’s not uncommon for the elements of most or all compounds to be sepa-rated from each other by special linking elements of this kind and in languages such as Germanor Dutch we find a variety of such elements being used, depending on the words combined,their phonological or morphological structure and so on. Such elements are sometimes calledintermorphs (or intermorphemes) as shown in (7). They are another example of meaninglessmorph(eme). Compounds in other languages may exhibit other morphological properties. In some lan-guages endocentric compounds are left-headed rather than right-headed as in English, whileother languages may make much use of exocentric (non-headed) compounds.4.2.5 Morphological properties of compoundsEnglish compounds in the majority of cases adhere to a principle which is fairly widespreadin compounding processes throughout the world’s languages: the internal (non-head) com-ponents can’t be inflected. For verbs this is not easy to demonstrate because compoundingdoesn’t productively allow a verb to be a modifier. Nonetheless, in those rare examples of VX compounds we never find uncontroversial inflection, i.e. Past Tense forms or 3sg agreementforms. Thus, alongside swearword we would never find *sworeword or *swearsword. The situa-tion is rather different with ing participles, however, which can be interpreted as nouns. Thus,compounds such as riding boots or training centre are not actually V N compounds but N Ncompounds. Thus, we can conclude that inflected forms of verbs never appear as the modifierin an endocentric compound. A similar situation obtains with adjectives: when we have an A
  31. 31. CHAPTER 4. COMPOUNDING 31N compound the adjective doesn’t inflect for comparative and superlative forms. Indeed, it’sdifficult to find even lexicalized compounds based on comparatives or superlatives. The situation is slightly different with plurals of nouns. We’ll just consider N N compoundsand to start with we’ll have to consider the meaning of a noun in more detail. A concrete nounused in sentence will generally be able to refer to a concrete object or collection of objects, i.e.it will be part of a phrase which is referential: (8) a. The cat is sitting on the mat b. A cat is sitting on the mat c. (Some) cats are sitting on the matThe functional system of English (i.e. the set of functional features including inflections andfunction words) forces us to make explicit information about number and definiteness. How-ever, the noun cat on its own doesn’t express such information, it simply conveys the generalconcept of cathood. The noun can only denote a specific, definite, indefinite, etc. cat or catswhen it appears in a specific inflected form modified by specific function words as part of asyntactic phrase. Now, in a N N compound a lexeme such as cat isn’t accompanied by anyexponents of functional features. It therefore can’t refer to any particular cat or cats, but canonly denote the general concept. For this reason, the ‘cat’ in the compound catfood doesn’t pickout any concrete cat at all. We say that cat fails to refer, i.e. that it is non-referential3 . Given that the modifier component of a N N compound is non-referential it isn’t surprisingthat it fails to attract those types of inflection which would make it referential, such as num-ber marking. If [Number:Plural] is simply the morphological exponent of a syntactic feature[NUMBER PLURAL] this is not surprising. Thus, catfood may be thought of as ‘food for cats’,but actually it’s better to think of the meaning as more like ‘food for the generic cat’. The vastmajority of N N compounds in English are like this. Because N N modifiers are non-referentialit’s rare to find proper names inside compounds – the proper name in its canonical usage hasto refer to a concrete individual, which means that it’s inappropriate as a noun modifier. However, there are cases in which plurals do appear inside compounds. In some cases thisis simply because the plural form of the word has undergone semantic drift or specializationand is therefore no longer merely a form of the noun lexeme. For instance, the noun systemsin systems analyst isn’t just the plural of system. Rather, it’s acquired a specialist, technicalmeaning, and hence, effectively, has become a new lexeme. The semantic drift has, in otherwords, turned an inflected form into a derived lexeme. In other (admittedly rather rare) cases,though, we encounter what appear to be bona fide plurals in compounds: teeth marks, parkscommissioner, prisons inspectorate and so on. In each case, however, we can argue that the plu-ral has been reinterpreted as a kind of collective noun and hence has undergone some slightdegree of semantic drift. The crucial point is that we never find is a systematic singular-pluraldistinction inside compounds. A hypothetic example of such a distinction would be the fol-lowing. Suppose there were a folder which was designed to store individual compact disks,and suppose there was also a folder which stored more than one disk at a time. We wouldn’tdistinguish the two types of folder by calling the first a disk folder and the second a disks folder.Rather, we’d use the term disk folder for each and if we wished to distinguish them we’d prob-ably resort to calling the first type a single disk folder or some such. It is in this sense that wecan’t productively make a number distinction inside compounds (in English). A feature of compounds that is often cited is that it’s impossible for the modifying ele-ment to be a syntactically formed phrase. For instance, we can have compounds such as book-shop but not [expensive book]shop (meaning ‘a shop for expensive books’) or [books about music] 3 Recall the discussion of referring expressions in the ‘Meaning’ segment of the module.
  32. 32. CHAPTER 4. COMPOUNDING 32shop (meaning ‘a shop selling books about music’). This is sometimes expressed as the ‘NoPhrase Constraint’, which, interestingly, violates itself, because No Phrase is itself, apparently,a phrase. What does seem to be possible is for a noun to be modified by a phrase which hasbeen lexicalized to some degree. Thus, although there is no compound *expensive book(s) shopbut we can say second-hand book shop, in which second-hand appears to be a syntactic modifier ofbook. Likewise, we can have examples such aerial acrobatics team, infectious diseases specialist, but,joking apart, we can’t have *[dangerous acrobatics] team or [disgusting diseases] specialist, with thebracketings shown (and with the intended interpretations ‘team performing dangerous acro-batics/specialist in disgusting diseases’). Of course, this raises the question of what counts as‘lexicalized’.4.3 Compounds vs. phrasesOn the face of it a compound is very similar to a phrase: both are higher level units consisting ofmore than one word. Indeed, a productive (as opposed to a lexicalized) compound of necessityconsists of more than one lexeme. A consequence of this is that a string consisting of, say, aDeterminer + Adjective + Noun can in principle be given two distinct analyses, in which the[A N] constitutes a phrase (NP) as in (9) or a compound noun (AN) as in (10): (9) DP (10) DP D NP D NP a N’ a N AP N A N A bird black bird blackHowever, compounds are generally said to have a number of properties that distinguish themfrom phrases, including phonological, semantic and syntactic properties. We’ll briefly surveythese properties in turn.4.3.1 Phonological properties of compoundsThe main phonological property distingushing compounds in English from phrases is stressor accent. An ordinary syntactically formed phrase spoken in a pragmatically neutral contexttypically bears a main accent on its rightmost lexical word. ‘Pragmatically neutral context’means that there’s no special emphasis or focussing, so that the phrase is spoken as it wouldbe when the speaker wishes to make the most general statement in which all the content wordsare equally informative. For instance, in response to a question such as ‘what is the cat lookingout of the window at?’ we might say: (11) that large black BIRDAs indicated, the main accent will then fall on the word ‘bird’, because we aren’t emphasizingthat the bird is specifically large or black. However, if the conversation had already introducedthe topic of black birds of various sizes and the speaker wished to emphasize that the cat waslooking at the large one so as to correct the misapprehension that the cat was looking at thesmall one she might say (12):
  33. 33. CHAPTER 4. COMPOUNDING 33 (12) No, he’s looking at that LARGE black bird, (not the small one)If it was the colour of the bird that was at issue then the speaker might say: (13) No, he’s looking at that large BLACK bird, (not the brown one) The principle that says that it’s the final lexical (content) word which is assigned accentin neutral discourse we’ll call the principle of Phrasal Accent or Phrasal Stress. The pointof Phrasal Accent is that compounds often behave differently. Thus, the normal way of pro-nouncing the compound word blackbird in a neutral context would be with stress on black: (14) The cat’s looking at that large BLACKbirdThis pattern of initial stressing is called Compound Accent or Compound Stress. Now, this would be a very good diagnostic for identifying compounds if it were withoutexceptions. Unfortunately, there are two respects in which the phonological criterion is lessthan fully helpful. First, we sometimes find that the normal Phrasal Accent puts the stress on aword other than the final lexical word. However, this is very unusual with, say, NPs consistingof AP + N, so this ambiguity will seldom arise. More significantly, we frequently find casesin which we have a fairly clear example of a compound but with phrasal accent. Attemptshave been made to determine when a compound will appear with phrasal stress but so farnone have successfully accounted for all cases. In particularly, there are some contrasts whichappear to be irreduceably lexicalized. Why, for instance, do we say town h´ ll but t´ wn house? a o Some well-known examples involve streets and cakes. Consider the compounds in (15 -16): (15) a. Abbey Road ´ (16) a. mince p´e ı b. Penny L´ ne a b. treacle t´ rt a c. Peyton Pl´ ce a c. custard cr´ am e d. ´ Fifth Avenue d. apple turnover ´ ... ... ´ e. Oxford Street e. c´ rrot cake aAll of these examples look rather like compounds (and pass the syntactic tests for compoundsto be discussed below). In particular, they are all N N combinations, a typical compoundingstructure. However, only the last examples, headed by street and cake actually have compoundstress. US and British English even differ on the stressing of some cases, e.g. UK ice cr´am e(phrasal stress) vs. US ´ce cream (compound stress). ı4.3.2 Semantic properties of compoundsThe productively formed compounds we’ve seen so far are semantically compositional. Thesemantic interpretation rules may be somewhat complex but they are no more so for phrasesthan for compounds. As we’ve seen, the interpretation of a nonce compound will generallydepend substantially on pragmatic factors, but the same can be said of phrase interpretation.But how do we interpret the semantically transparent compound formations? We’ll return tothis question below in §4.3.4 However, not all compounds are compositional. Many of the compounds that have enteredinto common use have become lexicalized. A well-known and oft-cited example of such a lex-icalized compound is blackbird. As a consequence of lexicalization its semantic interpretation
  34. 34. CHAPTER 4. COMPOUNDING 34is not related in a straightforward way to the meanings of its constituent nouns, that is, thesemantic interpretation is not compositional. In the case of ‘blackbird’ there are two senses inwhich this is true. First, we find that the denotation is semantically restricted. In the modern language thecompound blackbird doesn’t denote just any entity which is both a bird and is black. A crowis not a blackbird, and neither is a black swan (though both are black birds, of course). In fact,the term ‘blackbird’ applies solely to the species Turdus merula. In other words, the term onlyapplies to a proper subset of the things it would apply to if its interpretation were completelyfree, as in the case of the phrasal construction. For this reason, it’s possible to say withoutcontradiction ‘This black bird is not a blackbird’. A more drastic deviation from compositionality is seen when we observe that female black-birds are actually brown. Thus, it’s perfectly logical to say ‘This blackbird is not black’. Evenwithout brown blackbirds, we could easily imagine an albino blackbird, or a blackbird that hadbeen dyed green, and so on, in which case we could say without contradiction ‘This blackbirdis white/green/. . . ’. Of course, not all compounds show these deviations from compositionality. This happensonly when the compound has been fixed in the lexicon of speakers and has been allowed to getsemantically restricted, or to ‘drift’ semantically, or both. In this respect, blackbird is differentfrom, say, seabird. A seabird is any bird that has some appropriate connection with the sea. Theterm doesn’t denote a particular kind of seabird (though in principle it could have done, ofcourse). In the case of seabird we can reasonably say that the meaning of the whole is derivedfrom that of the parts, much as in the case of morphology lecture. In the case of blackbird, however,we have to say that the semantic component is no longer ‘visible’ or ‘active’ in the compound.All we have is the phonology. But equally, we have no particular reason to provide the blackcomponent with a syntactic label, either. Thus, we must say that the structure of blackbird is asin (17):    SEM: [BIRD: Turdus merula]       SYN: N          PHON: blak + b@:d   (17)  SEM: [BIRD]        [PHON: blak]  SYN: N          PHON: b@:d  As a kind of shorthand I’ve indicated that the semantic representation for ‘blackbird’ (the sci-entific name Turdus merula) is a subtype of the semantic class of birds. This allows us to infer(correctly) that a blackbird is a bird but doesn’t allow us to draw any other conclusions. More-over, the compound has to have its own lexical entry with its own semantic representationbecause the component Turdus merula can’t be inferred from either of the components. Sincethe modifying part black doesn’t have any syntactic or semantic properties it can only add itsphonology to the construction as a whole. The fact that the ‘black’ component of blackbird lacks any semantics means that it is a mean-ingless morpheme (like the cran- of cranberry). The fact that it resembles the adjective blackshouldn’t fool us. Any compound which has been subject to semantic restriction or drift andwhich therefore is not semantically compositional (or at any rate is not as semantically compo-sitional as a syntactic phrase would be) will have the same properties. It turns out that mostA N compounds are either like blackbird or are exocentric, like yellow hammer4 . But if this is so,then we can hardly say that English has A N compounding at all as a productive process. 4a different species of bird, Emberiza citrinella.
  35. 35. CHAPTER 4. COMPOUNDING 35 It’s not just A N compounds that show the effects of lexicalization. There are innumerableN N compounds whose semantics is non-compositional (or which have a specialist meaningfixed in the dictionary which is non-compositional, alongside a compositional interpretation).Those non-compositional readings have to be treated exactly like blackbird. For instance, aword such as textbook would appear to consist of TEXT and BOOK. However, a textbook, whilstclearly a book, is a special type of book. But this semantic restriction can’t be derived from aknowledge of (any of the) meanings of the word text. Rather, we have to say that text is anothercranberry element. Such cases are rather common. In many cases the head of the compound will retain its meaning but even this isn’t guaran-teed. The word crayfish looks as though it consists of the cranberry element cray- + the lexemeFISH , but for many people (including me) it’s very odd to call a crustacean a fish.5 Thus, in thiscase we would have to say that both components were meaningless forms. Semantic drift pro-vides many comparable examples. When hobbyhorse means ‘pet theme or activity’ it doesn’tdenote a kind of horse (not even a toy one). On the other hand, for me the noun scuttle doesn’texist outside of the compound coal scuttle.6 Now a coal scuttle is indeed a container for coal, sothe modifier component is interpreted compositionally, but since the head word scuttle doesn’texist outside the compound we’d have to regard the modifier coal as contributing no additionalmeaning but merely repeating a component of meaning that is already implicit (this is calledpleonasm). The upshot of this discussion is that a large number of compounds in English contain mean-ingless elements and not a few consist entirely of meaningless elements (a fact which is notalways fully recognized in discussion of the subject).4.3.3 Syntactic properties of compoundsI said earlier that compounds exhibit the property of lexical integrity, in that syntactic pro-cesses are unable to gain access to the individual words which make up the compound. Inthis respect, a true compound has the same syntactic properties as a monomorphemic word.However, compounds often arise historically from earlier forms of syntactic construction, andsuch constructions may undergo grammaticalization to different degrees. As a result, it oftenturns out to be very difficult to draw a clear dividing line between the syntactic properties ofcompounds and phrases. In straightforward cases compounds clearly differ from phrases in their syntactic structure:in the phrasal structure in (9) the adjective in effect heads an adjective phrase and this AP isattached to the noun to form a syntactic unit which is no longer categorially a word in anysense, but a genuine multiword phrase. There are two ways in which this is reflected in thecase of black bird. First, we can replace the single adjective with a full adjective phrase in (9)without significantly changing the overall syntactic structure. In particular we can modify theadjective with a degree term such as very, somewhat or surprisingly: (18) a [N [AP rather black] bird]Similarly, we can interpose a phrase such as another AP or a parenthetical expression betweenthe adjective black and the noun it modifies in the phrasal structure: (19) a [N [AP rather black] and [unusually large] bird] 5 The origin of the word is folk etymology - it arises from a mispronunciation of the Old French word escrivisse (Mod. Fr.ecrevisse)´ 6 My Chambers dictionary gives the definition ‘a shallow basket; a vessel for holding coal’. I never use the word in thesense of ‘shallow basket’.
  36. 36. CHAPTER 4. COMPOUNDING 36 (20) a black, or possibly just very dark brown, birdThese manipulations are impossible with the compound word. Similarly, neither the head of aNN compound nor its modifier can be pronominalized: (21) a. *We saw a blackbird and a sea one b. *By the sea we saw many it-birdsWe can summarize these observations by saying that a compound seems to have the syntacticdistribution of a single word. In the terminology of syntax we can say that they behave like X°categories rather than phrasal categories.The composite nominal constructionWe should distinguish lexical compounding of this kind from a very similar constructionwhich CGEL (ch. 5 §14.4 p. 448f) refers to as the composite nominal. In this constructiona noun is modified by another noun but the combination is regular and productive and is bestregarded as part of the syntax. Consider for instance morphology lecture. This has the samestructure as a compound noun such as coffee table, but its syntactic properties are entirely dif-ferent. A true compound behaves as though it were a single word with respect to syntax. Itexhibits, in other words, what is often called lexical integrity: it can’t be split up and its partscan’t be referred to independently elsewhere in the sentence. CGEL (p. 449) outlines five diagnostics for identifying composite nominals. 1. coordination in the modifier 2. coordination in the head 3. ‘delayed right constituent coordination’ 4. modification within the modifier 5. modification within the head These are illustrated by various types of manipulation we can perform on the expressionLondon colleges: (22) Coordination in the modifier: various [London and Oxford] colleges (23) coordination in the head: various London [schools and colleges] (24) delayed right constituent coordination: [two London and four Oxford] colleges (25) modification within the modifier: two [south London] colleges (26) modification within the head: two London [theological colleges]All of these manipulations are typical of Adjective + Noun syntactic phrases (i.e. phrases like(a) black cat). They are not found with true compounds: (27) Coordination in the modifier: *various [coffee and dining] tables (28) coordination in the head: *various coffee [tables and mugs] (29) delayed right constituent coordination: *[two coffee and four dining] tables
  37. 37. CHAPTER 4. COMPOUNDING 37 (30) modification within the modifier: *two [decafinated coffee] tables7 (31) modification within the head: *two coffee [wooden tables]4.3.4 Compounds and composite nominals: structureIf the composite nominal construction is part of the syntax of English we expect it to be com-pletely productive. In fact, of course, the formation of composite nominals is governed in largepart by their meaning and semantic plausibility, as any other phrase. Nonetheless, it’s worthconsidering just how easy it is to construct composite nominals of the form N N in ordinaryconversational English. For instance, imagine you’re decorating or moving house and explain-ing to people where things have to be stored. Suppose you have three tables piled with boxesof possessions. One table has boxes of books, another boxes of computer equipment and athird has boxes of kitchen utensils. Under such circumstances you might easily find yourselfasking someone to put one of your potplants on the book table. You might even ask someoneto fetch a table lamp from under the ‘kitchen table’ even though the table is not a table which isin a kitchen but rather the table which happens at the moment to have boxes of kitchen thingson it. There’s no set way of determining exactly what a composite nominal means on a givenoccasion of use when it’s a nonce formation (i.e. when the compound is coined in a specificcontext as in our house moving scenario). The way we interpret such compounds is by us-ing common sense and figuring it out from the context and from the assumptions and beliefswe share with our interlocutors (Downing 1977). In other words we use pragmatic strategiesto identify the meaning of the compound word. If these assumptions are false then misun-derstandings can occur. For example if I believe that the boxes with books in them (or ‘bookboxes’) actually contain videos then I may not succeed in determining the referent of the nonceterm ‘book table’. And, of course, I may mistakenly go to the kitchen to look for the ‘kitchentable’ (again, Downing 1977 discusses this in some detail). So how are such NN compounds and composite Ns interpreted? The standard assump-tion is that the compounding/composition process introduces an empty semantic relationshipbetween the two nouns. This relation is often denoted by the symbol ‘R’ (or variants thereof,such as R or ℜ). Thus, Downing’s example of bike girl would be represented semanticallyas ℜ<bike, girl> meaning ‘girl who has some pragmatically specified relation to the concept‘bike”. The relation could be ‘girl who comes to work on a bike’, ‘girl who we saw mendingher bike while we were out walking’, ‘girl who works in the bike shop’, . . . , or even ‘girl whorefuses to ride a bike’. Now, attempts have been made to analyse all N N combinations (whether composite nomi-nals or compound nouns) in terms of the operation of a fixed set of semantic relationships. Forinstance, we often find taxonomies of N N compounds which distinguish between modifiersmeaning ‘made out of a material’ (iron bar, brick wall), ‘location’ (kitchen sink, rabbit hutch), ‘partof’ (car engine) and so on. However, the semantic primitives used are sometimes ambiguous(should with think of ‘car’ as expressing the whole of which ‘engine’ is a part or as the locationof the engine, for instance), and in some cases hopeless vague, such as ‘for’. Even with com-pletely unspecified semantic primitives such as ‘for’ we encounter difficulties in providing asemantic representation for some compounds (do we really want to gloss elephant gun as ‘a gunfor elephants’, for example?). Some attested compounds defy any kind of principled analysis.A particularly clear example of this is the British English term speed camera. This means ‘cam-era used for filming motorists in order to provide evidence of violation of speed restrictions’. 7 It’s actually very hard to imagine how to construct an example of this sort from coffee table, because the meaning of thewhole compound is rather idiosyncratic. This, of course, is exactly what we expect from a compound.
  38. 38. CHAPTER 4. COMPOUNDING 38The compound is perfectly easy to interpret from its components in the appropriate context,but there’s no way that this interpretation can be said to follow from straightforwardly gram-maticalized semantic processes. Part of the reason for this indeterminacy in interpretation is, of course, to be found in theorigins of compound nouns. They start out typically as composite nouns, in which the se-mantic relationship between modifier and head is determined by general knowledge or bythe context of first utterance. Essentially we are simply expected to use our common sense tofigure out the meaning of a compound, and if that fails (because we aren’t familiar with theorigins of the word) we have to learn its meaning the same way we would learn the meaningof a monomorphemic word. We can conclude that in English there are semantically regular examples of compounds (asopposed to composite nouns form in the syntax) that are formed out of existing lexemes whichhave a recognizable meaning, and the meaning of the compound as a whole is derived fromthe meaning of its parts, even if this has to be mediated by pragmatics. In representing suchcompounds it’s therefore necessary to treat them as structurally comprised of two lexemes, asshown in (32): (32) N N N HOUSE BOATActually, this is better thought of as a three-dimensional representation, combining phonology,syntactic structure and semantics. Let’s say that HOUSE and BOAT have the two lexical entriesin (33) (ignoring the irrelevant MORPH feature):  SEM(HOUSE): [BUILDING FOR INHABITATION]        (33) a.  SYN(HOUSE) N          PHON(HOUSE): /haUs/    SEM(BOAT): [WATER-GOING VESSEL]        b.  SYN(BOAT): N          PHON(BOAT): /boUt/  Recall that what the representations in (33) are telling us is that there are two lexemes with la-bels or ‘addresses’ HOUSE and BOAT respectively. The PHON component of the HOUSE lexemeis /haUs/, its SYN label is ‘N’ and so on. We can now ask ourselves how a compound word is formed. There are three main aspects.First, we add the basic phonological representation of the first lexeme to that of the second:/haUs+boUt/. Second, we need to represent the fact that the compound consists of two nounsin accordance with the language-specific principle of English which licenses such N N com-pounding (bear in mind that not all languages permit such compounds, with the types ofinterpretation that English allows - the Romance and the Slavic languages, for instance, don’thave such compounds). Clearly, we also need to be able to say that we combine the semanticrepresentations in some way in order to produce a new semantic representation enriched withreal world information about universities and their structure, about linguistics and so on, to-gether, perhaps, with contextually determined beliefs and assumptions. Moreover, there is acrucial additional semantic fact, which is that the compound lexeme as a whole denotes some-thing of the same semantic type as the second component, whose precise meaning is obtainedby modifying it with the meaning of the first lexeme. In other words, we need to reflect the