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date: 14 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Compounds are contrasted in structure and meaning with affixations. It is shown how affixes may develop historically from productive compound patterns when a productive core constituent can no longer be associated with its independent form. Meaning extension and separation is a common occurrence in compounds. Recent psycholinguistic findings indicate that frequent constituents of non-transparent compounds have separate entries in the mental lexicon as bound variants of their free counterparts. The so-called “lexical affixes” of certain noun incorporating languages present interesting borderline cases, as they contain a mix of lexeme-like semantics with formal properties of affixes. They too may have arisen via a grammaticalization process from (bound) roots to formatives. Synthetic compounds are argued to be genuine compounds with derived transitive heads. Finally, complex conversion structures, analogies, blends, and back-formations are differentiated on the basis of their restricted interpretation from productive compounds.

Keywords: semi-suffix, morphological transcendence, bound root, lexical affix, neoclassical compound, conversion, analogy, back-formation, blend, reduplication

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