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The Hierarchical Structure of Compound and Derived Words

Essay 2017 8 Pages

English Language and Literature Studies - Linguistics

Excerpt

“The Hierarchical Structure of Words” Ahmed Mohammad Hashim

The hierarchical structure of words suggests the division of compound and derived words into their basic constituents. The hierarchical structure is obvious in compound words more than in derived words. So, in this article, we will be dealing with the hierarchical structure of compound words first and then of the derived words.

Compound words are words that are made by the combination of two or more free morphemes.[Crystal 2008. 96] The rules for compounding words are different in productivity. The most productive rule that compounds words is the Noun + Noun rule in comparison to the Verb + Noun or to the Noun + Verb which are not very productive. [Haspelmath, 2002. 86]

According to the X-bar syntax theory, which states that phrases have heads in syntax, many morphologists argued that words have heads too.[Katamba and Stonham 2006. 317] The compound words are semantically divided into two categories, endocentric and exocentric compounds. If the head of the compound word is the free morpheme that occurs on the right, it is called endocentric and the first morpheme is called the dependent. The dependent helps adjust and narrow the denotation of the head. Thus, the endocentric compound word is a hyponym of the head. Let's take the compound word, lipstick, for example. Lipstick refers to a specific type of stick not lip and the same is true for overcoat, schoolboy or mobile phone. [Haspelmath, 2002. 87]

Semantically speaking, endocentric compound words have a head, which is always on the right, and one or more dependents. However, there is a small set of compound words that have their head in the beginning, on the left, for example, grow up, set-in, step out. These are verb-particle group called left-headed endocentric compound words, known grammatically as phrasal verbs. [Selkirk 1982. 19]

Syntactically speaking, the head of the compound word is the main constituent in the whole word. So, the head stick is the main constituent of the compound word lipstick.

The second category of compound words is called exocentric. Exocentric compound words have no head or dependent, such as, pickpocket, redhead, happy-go-lucky, and cutpurse [Selkirk 1982. 26]

Now let us examine the hierarchical structure of some endocentric compound words:

- Lipstick: This is a endocentric compound word. The head is stick, and the dependent is lip which helps identify what kind of sticks is meant.

N = head (stick) + dependent (lip)

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

- Overcoat: This compound word belongs to the endocentric category. The head is coat, and the dependent is over.

N= head (coat) + dependent (over)

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- Airport: This is an endocentric compound word. The head is port, and the dependent is air.

N= head (port) + dependent (air)

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

- Teapot: This compound word belongs to the endocentric category. The head is pot, and the dependent is tea.

N= head (pot) + dependent (tea)

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- Sit-in: This word belongs to the left-headed endocentric category of compound words. The head is the verb sit, and the dependent is the preposition in.

N = head (sit) + dependent (in)

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

- Step out: This compound word belongs to the left-headed endocentric category. The head is the verb step, and the dependent is the preposition out.

N = head (step) + dependent (out)

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

The process of compounding in English is recursive. That is, there is no stop to the size of the compound words. Let's take, for example, lakeside, and grammar school. These two compound words can make a new word like lakeside grammar school. In this compound word the head is school. It belongs to the endocentric category of compound words.

N = Head (school) + dependent (lakeside) + dependent (grammar)

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

When we are dealing with inflected compound nouns, two possible ways of analysis are present. The first way is to consider that the inflection signals the whole compound word. Such a way suggests that the compound word comes first and then the inflection.

Let's take the word classrooms, for example, and try to draw its hierarchical structure diagram according to the first way

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

As we have seen in this diagram, the compound word classroom is analyzed first and then the inflection.

The second way of analyzing inflected compound words is to analyze the inflection as first thing that is associated with the head, and then the rest of the compound noun, the dependent(s). [Katamba and Stonham 2006, 325]

Let's take the same word classrooms and try to draw its hierarchical structure diagram according to the second way.

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Details

Pages
8
Year
2017
ISBN (eBook)
9783668542822
ISBN (Book)
9783668542839
File size
1004 KB
Language
English
Catalog Number
v376875
Institution / College
Thi-Qar University – College of Education for Humanities
Grade
100
Tags
Morphology Word structure Tree diagrams X-bar X-bar syntax Compound words derivation Morpheme Tree representation hierarchical analysis head-dependent words

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Title: The Hierarchical Structure of Compound and Derived Words