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ERIC Number: EJ931995
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Sep
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0388-0001
The Modification of Compounds by Attributive Adjectives
Berg, Thomas
Language Sciences, v33 n5 p725-737 Sep 2011
This paper examines the modification of nominal compounds by attributive adjectives in English. It draws on a distinction between compound-external (i.e. syntactic) and compound-internal (i.e. morphological) modification. An analysis is presented of more than 1000 pertinent cases, which are roughly equally divided into two-, three- and four-noun compounds. Irrespective of their positions, all constituents of all compound sizes are found to be susceptible to modification. Modification is subject to two major parameters--functional role and depth of embedding. Major heads are much more accessible than minor heads which in turn are more accessible than modifiers. The greater the structural depth of a constituent, the lower the probability of it being modified. This pattern of results suggests that the adjective in compound-internal modification has access to the structure of the full compound. That is, morphological modification has a curious syntactic ring to it. This unexpected behaviour of the adjective blurs the distinction between syntactic and morphological modification and argues against the strict separation of syntax and morphology. (Contains 3 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A