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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton November 2, 2018

Coordinating nominal compounds: Universal vs. areal tendencies

Giorgio Francesco Arcodia EMAIL logo
From the journal Linguistics

Abstract

Coordinating compounds, i.e. complex word forms in which the constituent lexemes are in a coordination relation, may be divided into two classes: hyperonymic, in which the referent of the whole compound is the “sum” of the meanings of the constituent lexemes (Korowai yumdefól ‘(her) husband-wife, couple’; van Enk, Gerrit J., & Lourens de Vries. 1997. The Korowai of Irian Jaya: Their language in its cultural context. Oxford: Oxford University Press: 66), and hyponymic, where the compound designates a single referent having features of all the constituents (English actor-director). It has been proposed that languages choose either type as the one with the “tightest” marking pattern; whereas the crosslinguistic tendency is to have tighter hyperonymic compounds, most languages of Europe rather have tighter hyponymic compounds (Arcodia, Giorgio Francesco, Nicola Grandi, & Bernhard Wälchli 2010. Coordination in compounding. In Sergio Scalise & Irene Vogel (eds.), Cross-disciplinary issues in compounding, 177–198. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins). In this paper, we will test this assumption on noun-noun compounds in a sample of 20 Standard Average European languages and in a balanced sample of 60 non-SAE languages, arguing that the preference for hyperonymic compounds is best explained by the default referential function of nouns; in hyponymic compounds, on the other hand, nouns are used to indicate properties. We will then compare nominal and adjectival coordinating compounds, showing that for the latter the hyponymic compounding pattern is the dominant one, as adjectives are prototypical property-denoting words.

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Nicola Grandi for sharing with me many ideas which greatly improved this paper, as well as Caterina Mauri and the two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and criticism. I would also like to thank İsa Sari and Alexis Michaud for their help with, respectively, Turkish and Vietnamese data. Needless to say, the usual disclaimers apply.

Appendix. Sources used for the languages in the non-SAE sample

LanguageSource(s)
Modern HebrewGensler (2011), Schwarzwald (2011)
LeleFrajzingier (2001)
TamazightLouali and Philippson (2004)
DegemaKari (2004)
KanuriHutchinson (1981)
SomaliPuglielli (1998), Saeed (1999)
TurkanaDimmendaal (1983)
AkanAppah (2009)
Koyra ChiiniHeath (1999)
BambaraCreissels (2004)
Hunzibvan Den Berg (1995)
Armenian (M. East.)Donabédian (2004), Dum-Tragut (2009)
MarathiPandharipande (1997)
Khalkha MongolianMolomjamts and Csillaghy (1998), Janhunen (2012)
MalayalamAsher and Kumari (1997)
JapaneseKageyama (2009), Shimada (2013)
KoreanSohn (1999)
GeorgianWälchli (2005)
PersianLazard (1992)
IngushNichols (2011)
MandarinCeccagno and Basciano (2009)
BurmeseSoe (1999)
VietnameseThompson (1965), Nguyen (1997)
CambodianAntelme (2004), Haiman (2011)
TagalogSchachter and Otanes (1972)
IndonesianLini (1982), Sneddon (1996)
Tetunvan Klinken (1999)
MeitheiChelliah (1997)
LaoEnfield (2007)
Highland YaoCourt (1985)
WarlpiriSimpson (2009)
KobonDavies (1981)
MangarayiMerlan (1982)
Korowaivan Enk and de Vries (1997)
West KewaFranklin (1971), Franklin et al. (1978)
DomTida (2006)
Baruga (Tafota)Farr et al. (1996)
TauyaMacDonald (1990)
KamasauSanders and Sanders (1994)
WardamanMerlan (1994)
MohawkMithun (2009)
KoasatiKimball (1991)
Sochiapan ChinantecForis (2000)
Chimalapa ZoqueJohnson (2000)
PurapechaChamoreau (2003)
TzeltalPolian (2006)
West GreenlandicFortescue (1984)
Jamul TiipayMiller (2001)
SlaveRice (2009)
PipilCampbell (1985)
MakáTacconi (2014)
Imbabura QuechuaCole (1985), Kirtchuk-Halevi (2004)
HupEpps (2008)
Wari/Pacaas NovosEverett and Kern (1997)
BaureAdmiraal and Danielsen (2014)
JaqaruHardman (2000)
MaipureZamponi (2009)
TsimanéSakel (2004)
JarawaraDixon (2004)
MapudungunZúñiga (2001, 2014), Smeets (2008), Baker and Fasola (2009)

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Published Online: 2018-11-02
Published in Print: 2018-11-27

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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