Compound constructions: A reply to Bundgaard et al.

Anders Søgaard 1
  • 1 researcher at the University of Potsdam <>


In an article recently published in this journal, Bundgaard et al. present a series of arguments against non-compositional theories of (noun-noun) compound semantics. In consequence, they present a compositional alternative, where compositionality is relativized a bit to also take constructional semantics into account. I am fully convinced this is the right way to go about it, but unfortunately, the authors remain unclear about the exact nature of linguistic constructions. In particular, they analyze in my view, certain constructional e¤ects in terms of conceptual schemas. This article presents cross-linguistic data (redundant compounds, stress patterns, linking elements and ungrammaticality phenomena) that support a multiconstructional view, where constructions replace the most abstract conceptual schemas. On the one hand, it provides strong evidence in favor of a compositional theory of compound semantics, and thus supports the theoretical claims of Bundgaard et al.; but on the other hand, it calls for a new, clearer distinction between constructions and conceptual schemas.

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The official journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies, founded in 1969 as one of the first scholarly journals in the field, Semiotica features articles reporting results of research in all branches of semiotic studies, in-depth reviews of selected current literature in the field, and occasional guest editorials and reports. The journal also publishes occasional Special Issues devoted to topics of particular interest.