This article focuses on compounding as a process of word formation within the theoretical framework of lexeme-based morphology. It provides a systematic analysis of the two types of compounding in French: native compounding, the main type, and neoclassical compounding, which is quite marginal. It presents the various rules: native compounds are prototypically constructed of two lexemes and form a third one; they are predominantly endocentric; the governing constituent and the compound head, if any, is on the left and controls the semantic relations between the two constituents, whether coordinated, attributive or subordinating. Neoclassical compounds are prototypically constructed of bound neoclassical elements and form adjectives; they are often exocentric; the governing constituent is on the right. Inflection in native compounds is complex. Several areas of the analysis remain unresolved, particularly regarding the boundaries between morphological/syntactic compounds.
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