HOME

TheInfoList




In
linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo ...

linguistics
, a compound is a
lexeme A lexeme () is a unit of lexical meaning that underlies a set of words that are related through inflection In linguistic morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines * Morphology (archaeol ...
(less precisely, a
word In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most lang ...

word
or
sign A sign is an object Object may refer to: General meanings * Object (philosophy), a thing, being, or concept ** Entity, something that is tangible and within the grasp of the senses ** Object (abstract), an object which does not exist at ...

sign
) that consists of more than one
stem Stem or STEM may refer to: Biology * Plant stem, the aboveground structures that have vascular tissue and that support leaves and flowers ** Stipe (botany), a stalk that supports some other structure ** Stipe (mycology), the stem supporting the c ...
. Compounding, composition or nominal composition is the process of
word formation In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic ...
that creates compound lexemes. Compounding occurs when two or more words or signs are joined to make a longer word or sign. The meaning of the compound may be similar to or different from the meaning of its components in isolation. The component stems of a compound may be of the same part of speech—as in the case of the English word ''footpath'', composed of the two nouns ''foot'' and ''path''—or they may belong to different parts of speech, as in the case of the English word ''blackbird'', composed of the adjective ''black'' and the noun ''bird''. With very few exceptions, English compound words are stressed on their first component stem. As a member of the Germanic family of languages, English is unusual in that even simple compounds made since the 18th century tend to be written in separate parts. This would be an error in other Germanic languages such as Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, German and Dutch. However, this is merely an orthographic convention: As in other Germanic languages, arbitrary noun phrases, for example "girl scout troop", "city council member", and "cellar door", can be made up on the spot and used as compound nouns in English too. The process occurs readily in all
Germanic languages The Germanic languages are a branch of the Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family native to western and southern Eurasia. It comprises most of the languages of Europe together with those of the northern Indian su ...

Germanic languages
for different reasons. Words can be concatenated both to mean the same as the sum of two words (e.g. ''Pressekonferenz''—German for press conference) or where an adjective and noun are compounded (e.g. ''hvidvinsglas''—Danish for white wine glass). This can create a plethora of large, but valid words in these languages, by compounding compound words with several more. The addition of affix morphemes to words (such as
suffix In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languag ...
es or prefixes, as in ''employ'' → ''employment'') should not be confused with nominal composition, as this is actually
morphological derivation Morphological derivation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the I ...
. Some languages easily form compounds from what in other languages would be a multi-word expression. This can result in unusually long words, a phenomenon known in German (which is one such language) as ''Bandwurmwörter'' or ''tapeworm words''.
Sign language Sign languages (also known as signed languages) are languages that use the visual-manual modality to convey meaning. Sign languages are expressed through manual articulations in combination with non-manual elements. Sign languages are full-fled ...

Sign language
s also have compounds. They are created by combining two or more sign stems. So-called " classical compounds" are compounds derived from
classical Latin Classical Latin is the form of Latin language Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. ...
or
ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
roots A root In vascular plant Vascular plants (from Latin ''vasculum'': duct), also known as Tracheophyta (the tracheophytes , from Greek τραχεῖα ἀρτηρία ''trācheia artēria'' 'windpipe' + φυτά ''phutá'' 'plants'), form a lar ...
.


Formation of compounds

Compound formation rules vary widely across language types. In a
synthetic language A synthetic language uses inflection In linguistic morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines * Morphology (archaeology), study of the shapes or forms of artifacts * Morphology (astronom ...
, the relationship between the elements of a compound may be marked with a case or other morpheme. For example, the
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

German
compound consists of the lexemes (sea captain) and (license) joined by an ''-s-'' (originally a
genitive case In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, a ...
suffix); and similarly, the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
lexeme contains the
archaic Archaic is a period of time preceding a designated classical period, or something from an older period of time that is also not found or used currently: *List of archaeological periods **Archaic Sumerian language, spoken between 31st - 26th centu ...
genitive form of the lexeme (family). Conversely, in the
Hebrew language Hebrew (, , or ) is a of the . Historically, it is regarded as one of the spoken languages of the and their longest-surviving descendants: the and . It was largely preserved throughout history as the main of (post-) and . Hebrew is the ...
compound, the word בֵּית סֵפֶר (school), it is the head that is modified: the compound literally means "house-of book", with בַּיִת (house) having entered the
construct state In Afro-Asiatic languages Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also known as Afrasian or Hamito-Semitic or Semito-Hamitic, is a large language family of about 300 languages that are spoken predominantly in the Middle East, North Africa, the Horn of Afri ...
to become בֵּית (house-of). This latter pattern is common throughout the
Semitic languages The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also known as Afrasian or Hamito-Semitic or Semito-Hamitic, is a large language family A language is a structured system of communication u ...

Semitic languages
, though in some it is combined with an explicit genitive case, so that both parts of the compound are marked (e.g. Arabic عبد الله ''ʕabdu ʔal-lāhi'' "servant-of-God").
Agglutinative language An agglutinative language is a type of synthetic language A synthetic language uses inflection In linguistic morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines * Morphology (archaeology), study ...
s tend to create very long words with derivational morphemes. Compounds may or may not require the use of derivational morphemes also. In
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

German
, extremely extendable compound words can be found in the language of chemical compounds, where, in the cases of biochemistry and polymers, they can be practically unlimited in length, mostly because the German rule suggests combining all
noun adjunct A noun () is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), meaning. In many l ...
s with the noun as the last stem. German examples include (color television set), (radio remote control), and the often quoted jocular word (originally only two Fs, Danube-Steamboat-Shipping Company captain
s
s
hat), which can of course be made even longer and even more absurd, e.g. ''Donau­dampfschifffahrts­gesellschafts­kapitänsmützen­reinigungs­ausschreibungs­verordnungs­diskussionsanfang'' ("beginning of the discussion of a regulation on tendering of Danube steamboat shipping company captain hats") etc. According to several editions of the
Guinness Book of World Records ''Guinness World Records'', known from its inception in 1955 until 1999 as ''The Guinness Book of Records'' and in previous United States editions as ''The Guinness Book of World Records'', is a reference book A reference work is a work, ...
, the longest published German word has 79 letters and is '' Donau­dampfschiffahrts­elektrizitäten­hauptbetriebswerkbau­unterbeamten­gesellschaft ''("Association for Subordinate Officials of the Main Electric
ty
ty
Maintenance Building of the Danube Steam Shipping"), but there is no evidence that this association ever actually existed. In Finnish, although there is theoretically no limit to the length of compound words, words consisting of more than three components are rare. Even those with fewer than three components can look mysterious to non-Finnish speakers, such as (emergency exit). Internet folklore sometimes suggests that (Airplane jet turbine engine auxiliary mechanic non-commissioned officer student) is the longest word in Finnish, but evidence of it actually being used is scant and anecdotal at best. Compounds can be rather long when translating technical documents from English to some other language, since the lengths of the words are theoretically unlimited, especially in chemical terminology. For example, when translating an English technical document to Swedish, the term "Motion estimation search range settings" can be directly translated to , though in reality, the word would most likely be divided in two: – "search range settings for motion estimation".


Subclasses


Semantic classification

A common semantic classification of compounds yields four types: *endocentric *exocentric *copulative *appositional An
endocentric In theoretical linguistics Theoretical linguistics is a term in linguistics which, like the related term general linguistics, can be understood in different ways. Both can be taken as a reference to theory of language Theory of language is a topic ...
compound consists of a ''
head Head Sport GmbH is an American-Austrian manufacturing company Manufacturing is the creation or production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in th ...
'', i.e. the categorical part that contains the basic meaning of the whole compound, and modifiers, which restrict this meaning. For example, the English compound ''doghouse'', where ''house'' is the head and ''dog'' is the modifier, is understood as a house intended for a dog. Endocentric compounds tend to be of the same
part of speech In traditional grammar A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about the world is truth, true. In epistemology, philosophers use the term "belief" to refer t ...
(word class) as their head, as in the case of ''doghouse''. (Such compounds were called '' tatpuruṣa'' in the Sanskrit tradition.) An
exocentric In theoretical linguistics, a distinction is made between endocentric and exocentric constructions. A grammatical construction (for instance, a phrase or Compound (linguistics), compound) is said to be ''endocentric'' if it fulfils the same lingu ...
compound (called a ''
bahuvrihi A ''bahuvrihi'' compound (from sa, बहुव्रीहि, tr=bahuvrīhi, lit=much rice/having much rice, originally referring to fertile land but later denoting the quality of being wealthy or rich) is a type of compound word In linguistics ...
'' compound in the
Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor langua ...
tradition) is a
hyponym In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the m ...
of some unexpressed semantic category (such as a person, plant, or animal): none (neither) of its components can be perceived as a formal head, and its meaning often cannot be transparently guessed from its constituent parts. For example, the English compound ''white-collar'' is neither a kind of collar nor a white thing. In an exocentric compound, the word class is determined lexically, disregarding the class of the constituents. For example, a ''must-have'' is not a verb but a noun. The meaning of this type of compound can be glossed as "(one) whose B is A", where B is the second element of the compound and A the first. A bahuvrihi compound is one whose nature is expressed by neither of the words: thus a ''white-collar'' person is neither white nor a collar (the collar's colour is a
metonym Metonymy () is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of p ...
for socioeconomic status). Other English examples include ''barefoot''. Copulative compounds are compounds with two semantic heads. Appositional compounds are lexemes that have two (contrary) attributes that classify the compound.


Syntactic classification


Noun–noun compounds

All natural languages have compound nouns. The positioning of the words (i.e. the most common order of constituents in phrases where nouns are modified by adjectives, by possessors, by other nouns, etc.) varies according to the language. While Germanic languages, for example, are left-branching when it comes to noun phrases (the modifiers come before the head), the Romance languages are usually right-branching. In
French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of co ...

French
, compound nouns are often formed by left-hand heads with prepositional components inserted before the modifier, as in ''chemin-de-fer'' 'railway', lit. 'road of iron', and ''moulin à vent'' 'windmill', lit. 'mill (that works)-by-means-of wind'. In
Turkish Turkish may refer to: * of or about Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It shares borders with Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), offi ...

Turkish
, one way of forming compound nouns is as follows: ''yeldeğirmeni'' 'windmill' (''yel'': wind, ''değirmen-i'': mill-possessive); ''demiryolu'' 'railway' (''demir'': iron, ''yol-u'': road-possessive). Occasionally, two synonymous nouns can form a compound noun, resulting in a tautology. One example is the English word '' pathway''.


Verb–noun compounds

A type of compound that is fairly common in the
Indo-European languages The Indo-European languages are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, based on speech and gesture (spoken language), Signed language, sign, or o ...
is formed of a verb and its object, and in effect transforms a simple verbal clause into a noun. In
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
, for example, such compounds consist of a verb conjugated for the second person singular imperative followed by a noun (singular or plural): e.g., ''rascacielos'' (modelled on "skyscraper", lit. 'scratch skies'), ''sacacorchos'' 'corkscrew' (lit. 'pull corks'), ''guardarropa'' 'wardrobe' (lit. 'store clothes'). These compounds are formally invariable in the plural (but in many cases they have been reanalyzed as plural forms, and a singular form has appeared). French and Italian have these same compounds with the noun in the singular form: Italian ''grattacielo'' 'skyscraper', French ''grille-pain'' 'toaster' (lit. 'toast bread'). This construction exists in English, generally with the verb and noun both in uninflected form: examples are ''spoilsport'', ''killjoy'', ''breakfast'', ''cutthroat'', ''pickpocket'', ''dreadnought'', and ''know-nothing''. Also common in English is another type of verb–noun (or noun–verb) compound, in which an argument of the verb is
incorporated Incorporated may refer to: * Incorporated community * Incorporated (Grip Inc. album), ''Incorporated'' (Grip Inc. album), 2004, by Grip Inc. * Incorporated (Legion of Doom album), ''Incorporated'' (Legion of Doom album), 2006 * Incorporated (TV seri ...
into the verb, which is then usually turned into a
gerund A gerund ( abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full version of the word or phrase; for exa ...

gerund
, such as ''breastfeeding'', ''finger-pointing'', etc. The noun is often an instrumental complement. From these gerunds new verbs can be made: ''(a mother) breastfeeds (a child)'' and from them new compounds ''mother-child breastfeeding'', etc. Verb-noun compounds derived from classical languages tend to be nouns; rarely, a verb-noun
classical compound Classical and neoclassical compounds are compound word In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses th ...
can be a verb. One example is '' miscegenate'', a word that literally falls into disuse nowadays, which is derived from a Latin verb and a Latin noun. In the Australian Aboriginal language Jingulu, a Pama–Nyungan language, it is claimed that all verbs are V+N compounds, such as "do a sleep", or "run a dive", and the language has only three basic verbs: ''do'', ''make'', and ''run''. A special kind of compounding is
incorporation Incorporation may refer to: * Incorporation (business), the creation of a corporation * Incorporation of a place, creation of municipal corporation such as a city or county * Incorporation (academic), awarding a degree based on the student having a ...
, of which noun incorporation into a verbal root (as in English ''backstabbing'', ''breastfeed'', etc.) is most prevalent (see below).


Verb–verb compounds

Verb–verb compounds are sequences of more than one verb acting together to determine clause structure. They have two types: *In a
serial verb The serial verb construction, also known as (verb) serialization or verb stacking, is a syntactic In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well a ...
, two actions, often sequential, are expressed in a single clause. For example, Ewe ''trɔ dzo'', lit. "turn leave", means "turn and leave", and
Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, North India. Hindi has been described as a Standard la ...

Hindi
''jā-kar dekh-o'', lit. "go-CONJUNCTIVE PARTICIPLE see-IMPERATIVE", means "go and see". In
Tamil Tamil may refer to: * Tamils The Tamil people, also known as Tamilar ( ta, தமிழர், Tamiḻar, translit-std=ISO, in the singular or ta, தமிழர்கள், Tamiḻarkaḷ, translit-std=ISO, label=none, in the plural), o ...

Tamil
, a Dravidian language, van̪t̪u paːr, lit. "come see". In each case, the two verbs together determine the semantics and argument structure. Serial verb expressions in English may include ''What did you go and do that for?'', or ''He just upped and left''; this is however not quite a true compound since they are connected by a conjunction and the second missing arguments may be taken as a case of
ellipsis The ellipsis , , or (as a single glyph The term glyph is used in typography File:metal movable type.jpg, 225px, Movable type being assembled on a composing stick using pieces that are stored in the type case shown below it Typography ...
. *In a compound verb (or ''complex predicate''), one of the verbs is the primary, and determines the primary semantics and also the argument structure. The secondary verb, often called a vector verb or explicator, provides fine distinctions, usually in temporality or
aspect Aspect or Aspects may refer to: Entertainment * ''Aspect magazine ASPECT Volume 9: Performance ''ASPECT'' was a biannual DVD The DVD (common abbreviation for Digital Video Disc or Digital Versatile Disc) is a digital optical disc data stor ...
, and also carries the
inflection In linguistic morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines * Morphology (archaeology), study of the shapes or forms of artifacts * Morphology (astronomy), study of the shape of astronomical ob ...
(tense and/or agreement markers). The main verb usually appears in conjunctive participial (sometimes ''zero'') form. For examples,
Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, North India. Hindi has been described as a Standard la ...

Hindi
''nikal gayā'', lit. "exit went", means 'went out', while निकल पड़ा ''nikal paRā'', lit. "exit fell", means 'departed' or 'was blurted out'. In these examples निकल ''nikal'' is the primary verb, and गया ''gayā'' and पड़ा ''paRā'' are the vector verbs. Similarly, in both English ''start reading'' and Japanese 読み始める ''yomihajimeru'' "read-CONJUNCTIVE-start" "start reading," the vector verbs ''start'' and 始める ''hajimeru'' "start" change according to tense, negation, and the like, while the main verbs ''reading'' and 読み ''yomi'' "reading" usually remain the same. An exception to this is the passive voice, in which both English and Japanese modify the main verb, i.e. ''start to be read'' and 読まれ始める ''yomarehajimeru'' lit. "read-PASSIVE-(CONJUNCTIVE)-start" ''start to be read''. With a few exceptions all compound verbs alternate with their simple counterparts. That is, removing the vector does not affect grammaticality at all nor the meaning very much: निकला ''nikalā'' '(He) went out.' In a few languages both components of the compound verb can be finite forms: Kurukh ''kecc-ar ker-ar'' lit. "died-3pl went-3pl" '(They) died.' *Compound verbs are very common in some languages, such as the northern
Indo-Aryan languages The Indo-Aryan or Indic languages form a major language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages h ...
Hindustani Hindustani may refer to: * something of, from, or related to Hindustan (another name of India) * Hindustani language, an Indo-Aryan language, whose two official norms are Hindi and Urdu * Fiji Hindi, a variety of Eastern Hindi spoken in Fiji, and i ...
and
Punjabi Panjābī (pʌnˈdʒɑːbi) (ਪੰਜਾਬੀ) (پنجابی) Punjabi or Panjabi most often refers to: * Something of, from, or related to Punjab Punjab ( Gurmukhi: ; Shahmukhi: ; , ; , ; ; also romanised as Panjāb or Panj-Āb) is a ge ...
, and
Dravidian languages Dravidian languages (or sometimes Dravidic languages) are a family of languages In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or affinity (by marriage or other r ...
like
Tamil Tamil may refer to: * Tamils The Tamil people, also known as Tamilar ( ta, தமிழர், Tamiḻar, translit-std=ISO, in the singular or ta, தமிழர்கள், Tamiḻarkaḷ, translit-std=ISO, label=none, in the plural), o ...

Tamil
, where as many as 20% of verb forms in running text are compound. They exist but are less common in other Indo-Aryan languages like
Marathi Marathi may refer to: *Marathi people, an Indo-Aryan ethno-linguistic group of Maharashtra, India *Marathi language, the Indo-Aryan language spoken by the Marathi people *Palaiosouda, also known as Marathi, a small island in Greece See also

...
and
Nepali
Nepali
, in
Tibeto-Burman languages The Tibeto-Burman languages are the non- Sinitic members of the Sino-Tibetan language family Sino-Tibetan, also known as Trans-Himalayan in a few sources, is a family In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group of people rela ...
like Limbu and Newari, in
Turkic languages The Turkic languages are a language family of at least 35 documented languages, spoken by the Turkic peoples of Eurasia from Eastern Europe and Southern Europe to Central Asia, East Asia, North Asia (Siberia), and Western Asia. The Turkic langu ...

Turkic languages
like
Turkish Turkish may refer to: * of or about Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It shares borders with Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), offi ...

Turkish
and
KyrgyzKyrgyz, Kirghiz or Kyrgyzstani may refer to: *Things related to Kyrgyzstan *Kyrgyz people *Kyrgyz language *Kyrgyz culture *Kyrgyz cuisine *Yenisei Kirghiz *The Fuyu Kyrgyz language, Fuyü Gïrgïs language in Northeastern China {{Disambig Languag ...
, in
Korean Korean may refer to: People and culture * Koreans Koreans ( South Korean: , , North Korean: , , ; see names of Korea There are various names of Korea in use today, all derived from ancient kingdoms and dynasties. The modern English name " ...
and
Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or ...

Japanese
, and in northeast Caucasian languages like Tsez and Avar. *Under the influence of a
Quichua Kichwa (''Kichwa shimi,'' ''Runashimi,'' also Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Can ...
substrate speakers living in the Ecuadorian
altiplano The Altiplano (Spanish for "high plain"), Collao (Quechuan languages, Quechua and Aymara language, Aymara: Qullaw, meaning "place of the Qulla people, Qulla") or Andean Plateau, in west-central South America, is the area where the Andes are ...

altiplano
have innovated compound verbs in Spanish: :''De rabia puso rompiendo la olla'', 'In anger (he/she) smashed the pot.' (Lit. from anger put breaking the pot) :'' Botaremos matándote'' 'We will kill you.' (Cf. Quichua ''huañuchi-shpa shitashun'', lit. kill-CP throw.1plFut. :Likewise in Hindi: तेरे को मार डालेंगे ''tere ko mār DāleNge'', lit. "we will kill-throw you"). *Compound verb equivalents in English (examples from the internet): :''What did you go and do that for?'' :''If you are not giving away free information on your web site then a huge proportion of your business is just upping and leaving.'' :''Big Pig, she took and built herself a house out of brush.'' *Caution: In descriptions of
Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethnic group in Iran, not to be conflated with the Iranian peoples ** Persian language, an Iranian ...
and other
Iranian languages The Iranian languages or Iranic languages are a branch of the in the that are spoken natively by the . The Iranian languages are grouped in three stages: Old Iranian (until 400 BCE), Middle Iranian (400 BCE–900 CE) and New Iranian (since 9 ...
the term 'compound verb' refers to noun-plus-verb compounds, not to the verb–verb compounds discussed here.


Parasynthetic compounds

Parasynthetic compounds are formed by a combination of compounding and
derivation Derivation may refer to: * Derivation (differential algebra), a unary function satisfying the Leibniz product law * Derivation (linguistics) * Formal proof or derivation, a sequence of sentences each of which is an axiom or follows from the preced ...
, with multiple lexical stems and a derivational affix. For example, English ''black-eyed'' is composed of ''black'', ''eye'', and ''-ed'' 'having', with the meaning 'having a black eye'; Italian ''imbustare'' is composed of ''in-'' 'in', ''busta'' 'envelope', ''-are'' (verbal suffix), with the meaning 'to put into an envelope'.


Compound adpositions

Compound
preposition Prepositions and postpositions, together called adpositions (or broadly, in English, simply prepositions), are a used to express spatial or temporal relations (''in'', ''under'', ''towards'', ''before'') or mark various (''of'', ''for''). A pre ...
s formed by prepositions and nouns are common in English and the Romance languages (consider English ''on top of'', Spanish ''encima de'', etc.). Hindi has a small number of simple (i.e., one-word) postpositions and a large number of compound postpositions, mostly consisting of simple postposition ''ke'' followed by a specific postposition (e.g., ''ke pas'', "near"; ''ke nīche'', "underneath").


Examples from different languages

Chinese (traditional/simplified Chinese; Standard Chinese
Pinyin ''Hanyu Pinyin'' (), often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objecti ...

Pinyin
/Cantonese
Jyutping Jyutping is a romanisation Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and model ...
): *學生/学生 'student': 學 ''xué''/''hok6'' learn + 生 ''shēng''/''sang1'' living being *太空/太空 'space': 太 ''tài''/''taai3'' great + 空 ''kōng''/''hung1'' emptiness *摩天樓/摩天楼 'skyscraper': 摩 ''mó''/''mo1'' touch + 天 ''tiān''/''tin1'' sky + 樓 ''lóu''/''lau2'' building (with more than 1 storey) *打印機/打印机 'printer': 打 ''dǎ''/''daa2'' strike + 印 ''yìn''/''yan3'' stamp/print + 機 ''jī''/''gei1'' machine *百科全書/百科全书 'encyclopaedia': 百 ''bǎi''/''baak3'' hundred + 科 ''kē''/''fo1'' (branch of) study + 全 ''quán''/''cyun4'' entire/complete + 書 ''shū''/''syu1'' book *謝謝/谢谢 'thanks': Repeating of 謝 ''xiè'' thank Dutch: * 'disability insurance': 'labour' + 'inaptitude' + 'insurance'. * 'sewage treatment plant': 'sewer' + ''water'' 'water' + 'cleaning' + 'installation'. * 'birthday calendar': 'birthday' + 'calendar'. * 'customer service representative': 'customers' + 'service' + 'worker'. * 'university library': 'university' + 'library'. * 'possibilities for advancement': 'through' + 'grow' + 'possibilities'. Finnish: * 'dictionary': 'word' + 'book' * 'computer': 'knowledge data' + 'machine' * 'Wednesday': 'middle' + 'week' * 'world': 'land' + 'air' * 'railway station': 'iron' + 'road' + 'station' * 'electricity meter': 'three-phase kilowatt hour meter' German: * 'skyscraper': 'clouds' + 'scraper' * 'railway': 'iron' + 'track' * 'automobile': 'power' + 'drive' + 'machinery' * 'barbed wire': 'barb/barbed' + 'wire' *: literally cattle-marking- and beef-labeling-supervision-duties-delegation law Ancient Greek: * ''philosopher'': φίλος ''phílos'' 'beloved' + σοφία ''sophíā'' 'wisdom' * ''dēmokratíā'' 'democracy': δῆμος ''dêmos'' 'people' + κράτος 'rule' * ''rhododáktylos'' 'rose-fingered': ῥόδον ''rhódon'' 'rose' + δάκτυλος ''dáktylos'' 'finger' (a
Homeric epithet A characteristic of Homer's style is the use of epithets, as in "rosy-fingered" Dawn or "swift-footed" Achilles. Epithets are used because of the constraints of the dactylic hexameter (i.e., it is convenient to have a stockpile of metrically fitting ...
applied to the Dawn) Icelandic: * 'railway': 'iron' + 'path' or 'way' * 'vehicle': ''farar'' 'journey' + ''tæki'' 'apparatus' * 'encyclopedia': 'everything' + 'study' or 'knowledge' + 'dictionary' ( 'words' + 'book') * 'telephone conversation': ''sím'' 'telephone' + ''tal'' 'dialogue' Italian: * 'centipede': 'thousand' + 'feet' * 'railway': 'iron' + 'way' * 'windscreen wiper': 'to wash' + 'crystal (pane of) glass' *pomodoro: pomo d'oro = apple of Gold = tomatoes *portacenere = porta cenere = ashtray Japanese: *目覚まし(時計) 'alarm clock': 目 ''me'' 'eye' + 覚まし ''samashi (-zamashi)'' 'awakening (someone)' (+ 時計 ''tokei (-dokei)'' clock) *お好み焼き ''
okonomiyaki is a Japanese savory pancake A pancake (or hotcake, griddlecake, or flapjack) is a flat cake, often thin and round, prepared from a Starch, starch-based batter (cooking), batter that may contain eggs, milk and butter and cooked on a ho ...

okonomiyaki
'': お好み ''okonomi'' 'preference' + 焼き ''yaki'' 'cooking' *日帰り ''higaeri'' 'day trip': 日 ''hi'' 'day' + 帰り ''kaeri (-gaeri)'' 'returning (home)' *国会議事堂 'national diet building': 国会 ''kokkai'' 'national diet' + 議事 'proceedings' + 堂 ''dō'' 'hall' Korean: *안팎 ''anpak'' 'inside and outside': 안 ''an'' 'inside' + 밖 ''bak'' 'outside' (As two nouns compound the consonant sound 'b' fortifies into 'p' becoming 안팎 ''anpak'' rather than 안밖 )
Ojibwe The Ojibwe, Ojibwa, Chippewa, or Saulteaux are an Anishinaabe The Anishinaabe are a group of culturally related Indigenous peoples resident in what are now called Canada and the United States. They include the Odawa, Saulteaux, Ojibwe (inc ...
/Anishinaabemowin: *''mashkikiwaaboo'' 'tonic': ''mashkiki'' 'medicine' + ''waaboo'' 'liquid' *''miskomin'' 'raspberry': ''misko'' 'red' + ''miin'' 'berry' *''dibik-giizis'' 'moon': ''dibik'' 'night' + ''giizis'' 'sun' *''gichi-mookomaan'' 'white person/American': ''gichi'' 'big' + ''mookomaan'' 'knife' Spanish: * 'science fiction': , 'science', + , 'fiction' (This word is a
calque In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the me ...

calque
from the English expression ''
science fiction Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sci-fi or SF) is a genre of speculative fiction which typically deals with imagination, imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced science and technology, space exploration, time travel, Parall ...

science fiction
''. In English, the head of a compound word is the last morpheme: science ''fiction''. Conversely, the Spanish head is located at the front, so ''ciencia ficción'' sounds like a kind of fictional science rather than scientific fiction.) * 'centipede': 'hundred' + 'feet' * 'railway': 'iron' + 'lane' * 'umbrella': 'stops' + '(the) water' * 'keeping the head low in a bad mood': ''cabeza'' 'head' + ''bajo'' 'down' * 'seesaw' (contraction of 'goes up and down') * 'windshield wiper' is a nested compound: 'clean' + ''windshield'', which is itself a compound of 'stop' + 'breezes'. Tamil: In ''Cemmozhi'' (Classical Tamil), rules for compounding are laid down in grammars such as Tolkappiyam and
Nannūl Nannūl ( ta, நன்னூல்) is a work on Tamil grammar written by a Jain Jainism (), traditionally known as ''Jain Dharma'', is an ancient Indian religion and the method of acquiring omniscience, perfect knowledge of Jīva (Jainism) ...
, in various forms, under the name ''punarcci''. Examples of compounds include kopuram from 'kō' (king) + ' puram' (exterior). Sometimes phonemes may be inserted during the blending process such as in kovil from 'kō' (king) + 'il' (home). Other types are like ''vennai'' (butter) from 'veḷḷai' (white) + 'nei' (
ghee Ghee () is a class of clarified butter Clarified butter is milk fat rendered from butter to separate the milk solids and water from the butterfat. Typically, it is produced by melting butter and allowing the components to separate by densi ...

ghee
); note how 'veḷḷai' becomes 'ven'. In ''koṭuntamizh'' (Non-standard Tamil), parts of words from other languages may be morphed into Tamil. Common examples include 'ratta-azhuttam' (blood pressure) from the Sanskrit ''rakta'' (blood) and ''Cemmozhi'' 'azhuttam' (pressure); note how ''rakta'' becomes ''ratta'' in Tamil order to remove the consonant-cluster. This also happens with English, for examples ''kāpi-kaṭai'' (coffee shop) is from English ''coffee'', which becomes ''kāpi'' in Tamil, and the Tamil ''kaṭai'' meaning shop. Tłįchǫ Yatiì/Dogrib: *''dlòotsǫ̀ǫ̀'' 'peanut butter': ''dlòo'' 'squirrel' + ''tsǫ̀ǫ̀'' 'dung' *''eyakǫ̀'' 'hospital'': ''eya'' 'sick' + ''kǫ̀'' 'house' *''dè gotłeè'' 'kerosene': ''dè'' 'land' + ''gotłeè'' 'its fat' *''dǫ łèt'è'' 'bannock': ''dǫ'' ' boriginalpeople' + ''łèt'è'' 'bread'


Germanic languages

In
Germanic languages The Germanic languages are a branch of the Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family native to western and southern Eurasia. It comprises most of the languages of Europe together with those of the northern Indian su ...

Germanic languages
(including
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
), compounds are formed by prepending what is effectively a
namespace In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both computer hardware , hardware and sof ...

namespace
(disambiguation context) to the main word. For example, "
football Football is a family of s that involve, to varying degrees, a to score a . Unqualified, normally means the form of football that is the most popular where the word is used. Sports commonly called ''football'' include (known as ''soccer'' ...

football
" would be a "ball" in the "foot" context. In itself, this does not alter the meaning of the main word. The added context only makes it more precise. As such, a "football" must be understood as a "ball". However, as is the case with "football", a well established compound word may have gained a special meaning in the language's
vocabulary A vocabulary is a set of familiar words In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed la ...
. Only this defines "football" as a particular type of ball (unambiguously the
round object
round object
, not the
dance party A dance party (also referred to as a dance) is a social gathering where dancing is the primary activity. Some dance parties are held in a casual setting and open to the public, such as a rave, or those held in nightclubs discothèques. Other ty ...
, at that), and also the game involving such a ball. Another example of special and altered meaning is "starfish" – a
starfish Starfish or sea stars are star-shaped In mathematics, a Set (mathematics), set S in the Euclidean space \R^n is called a star domain (or star-convex set, star-shaped set or radially convex set) if there exists an s_0 \in S such that for ...

starfish
is in fact not a
fish Fish are aquatic Aquatic means relating to water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and nearly colorless chemical substance, which is the main constituent of Earth's hydrosphere and the ...

fish
in modern biology. Also syntactically, the compound word behaves like the main word – the whole compound word (or phrase) inherits the
word class In traditional grammar A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about the world is truth, true. In epistemology, philosophers use the term "belief" to refer t ...
and inflection rules of the main word. That is to say, since "fish" and "shape" are nouns, "starfish" and "star shape" must also be nouns, and they must take plural forms as "starfish" and "star shapes", definite singular forms as "the starfish" and "the star shape", and so on. This principle also holds for languages that express
definiteness In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic ...
by inflection (as in
North Germanic The North Germanic languages make up one of the three branches of the Germanic languages—a sub-family of the Indo-European languages—along with the West Germanic languages and the extinct East Germanic languages. The language group is also r ...

North Germanic
). Because a compound is understood as a word in its own right, it may in turn be used in new compounds, so forming an arbitrarily long word is trivial. This contrasts to Romance languages, where prepositions are more used to specify word relationships instead of concatenating the words. As a member of the Germanic family of languages, English is unusual in that compounds are normally written in separate parts. This would be an error in other Germanic languages such as Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, German and Dutch. However, this is merely an orthographic convention: As in other Germanic languages, arbitrary
noun phrases A noun phrase, or nominal (phrase), is a phrase that has a noun or pronoun as its head (linguistics), head or performs the same grammatical function as a noun. Noun phrases are very common linguistic typology, cross-linguistically, and they may be ...

noun phrases
, for example "girl scout troop", "city council member", and "cellar door", can be made up on the spot and used as compound nouns in English too.


Russian language

In the
Russian language Russian (, tr. ''russkiy yazyk'') is an East Slavic language The East Slavic languages constitute one of the three regional subgroups of Slavic languages The Slavic languages, also known as the Slavonic languages, are Indo-European lang ...
compounding is a common type of
word formation In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic ...
, and several types of compounds exist, both in terms of compounded parts of speech and of the way of the formation of a compound. Compound nouns may be agglutinative compounds, hyphenated compounds (стол-книга 'folding table', lit. 'table-book', "book-like table"), or abbreviated compounds (
acronym An acronym is a word In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign langu ...
s: колхоз '
kolkhoz A kolkhoz ( rus, колхо́з, a=ru-kolkhoz.ogg, p=kɐlˈxos) was a form of collective farm in the Soviet Union. Kolkhozes existed along with state farms or sovkhoz., a syllabic abbreviation, contraction of советское хозяйств ...
'). Some compounds look like acronym, while in fact they are an agglutinations of type
stem Stem or STEM may refer to: Biology * Plant stem, the aboveground structures that have vascular tissue and that support leaves and flowers ** Stipe (botany), a stalk that supports some other structure ** Stipe (mycology), the stem supporting the c ...
+ word: Академгородок '
Akademgorodok Coordinates: Akademgorodok ( rus, Акаде́мгородо́к, p=ɐkəˌdʲemɡərɐˈdok, "Academic Town" or "Academic City") is a part of the Sovetsky District of the city of Novosibirsk, Russia Russia (russian: link=no, Рос ...
' (from ''akademichesky gorodok'' 'academic village'). In agglutinative compound nouns, an agglutinating infix is typically used: пароход 'steamship': пар + о + ход. Compound nouns may be created as noun+noun, adjective + noun, noun + adjective (rare), noun + verb (or, rather, noun +
verbal noun A verbal noun or gerundial noun is a verb form that functions as a noun. An example of a verbal noun in English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in ...
). Compound adjectives may be formed either per se (бело-розовый 'white-pink') or as a result of compounding during the derivation of an adjective from a multi-word term: Каменноостровский проспект () 'Stone Island Avenue', a street in St.Petersburg. Reduplication in Russian is also a source of compounds. Quite a few Russian words are borrowed from other languages in an already-compounded form, including numerous "
classical compound Classical and neoclassical compounds are compound word In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses th ...
s" or internationalisms: автомобиль 'automobile'.


Sanskrit language

Sanskrit is very rich in compound formation with seven major compound types and as many as 55 sub-types. The compound formation process is productive, so it is not possible to list all Sanskrit compounds in a dictionary. Compounds of two or three words are more frequent, but longer compounds with some ''running through pages'' are not rare in Sanskrit literature. Some examples are below (hyphens below show individual word boundaries for ease of reading but are not required in original Sanskrit). *हिमालय (
IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It ...
Himālaya, decomposed as hima-ālaya): Name of the
Himalaya The Himalayas, or Himalaya (; Sanskrit: , "snow", "dwelling", "abode"), are a mountain range in Asia separating the plains of the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau. The range has some of the planet's highest peaks, including the ...

Himalaya
mountain range. Literally ''the abode of snow''. A compound of two words and four syllables. *प्रवर-मुकुट-मणि-मरीचि-मञ्जरी-चय-चर्चित-चरण-युगल (IAST pravara-mukuṭa-maṇi-marīci-mañjarī-caya-carcita-caraṇa-yugala): Literally, ''O the one whose dual feet are covered by the cluster of brilliant rays from the gems of the best crowns'', from the Sanskrit work
Panchatantra The ''Panchatantra'' (: Pañcatantra, : Pañcatantra, sa, पञ्चतन्त्र, "Five Treatises") is an ancient collection of interrelated s in verse and prose, arranged within a . A compound of nine words and 25 syllables. *कमला-कुच-कुङ्कुम-पिञ्जरीकृत-वक्षः-स्थल-विराजित-महा-कौस्तुभ-मणि-मरीचि-माला-निराकृत-त्रि-भुवन-तिमिर (IAST kamalā-kuca-kuṅkuma-piñjarīkṛta-vakṣaḥ-sthala-virājita-mahā-kaustubha-maṇi-marīci-mālā-nirākṛta-tri-bhuvana-timira): Literally ''O the one who dispels the darkness of three worlds by the shine of
Kaustubha Kaustubha (Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. ...
jewel hanging on the chest, which has been made reddish-yellow by the saffron from the bosom of Kamalā (
Lakshmi Lakshmi (; , ), also known as Shri (, ), is one of the principal goddesses in Hinduism. She is the goddess of wealth, fortune, power, beauty and prosperity, and associated with ''Maya (religion), Maya'' ("Illusion"). Along with Parvati and Sa ...

Lakshmi
)'', an adjective of
Rama Rama (; , ; ), Ram, Raman or Ramar, also known as Ramachandra (; , ), is a major deity in Hinduism. He is the seventh and one of the most popular ''avatars'' of Vishnu. In Rama-centric traditions of Hinduism, he is considered the Supreme Be ...

Rama
in the Kakabhushundi
Rāmāyaṇa ''Rāmāyana'' (; sa, रामायणम्, ) is one of the two major Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Ary ...

Rāmāyaṇa
. A compound of 16 words and 44 syllables. *साङ्ख्य-योग-न्याय-वैशेषिक-पूर्व-मीमांसा-वेदान्त-नारद-शाण्डिल्य-भक्ति-सूत्र-गीता-वाल्मीकीय-रामायण-भागवतादि-सिद्धान्त-बोध-पुरः-सर-समधिकृताशेष-तुलसी-दास-साहित्य-सौहित्य-स्वाध्याय-प्रवचन-व्याख्यान-परम-प्रवीणाः (IAST sāṅkhya-yoga-nyāya-vaiśeṣika-pūrva-mīmāṃsā-vedānta-nārada-śāṇḍilya-bhakti-sūtra-gītā-vālmīkīya-rāmāyaṇa-bhāgavatādi-siddhānta-bodha-puraḥ-sara-samadhikṛtāśeṣa-tulasī-dāsa-sāhitya-sauhitya-svādhyāya-pravacana-vyākhyāna-parama-pravīṇāḥ): Literally ''the acclaimed forerunner in understanding of the canons of Sāṅkhya,
Yoga Yoga (; sa, योग, lit=yoke' or 'union ) is a group of Asana, physical, mind, mental, and Spirituality#Asian traditions, spiritual practices or disciplines that originated in History of India, ancient India, aimed at controlling ('y ...

Yoga
, Nyāya,
Vaiśeṣika Vaisheshika or Vaiśeṣika ( sa, वैशेषिक) is one of the six schools of Indian philosophy Indian philosophy refers to philosophical traditions of the Indian subcontinent. A traditional Hindu classification divides āstika an ...
, Pūrva Mīmāṃsā,
Vedānta ''Vedanta'' (; sa, वेदान्त, ), also ''Uttara Mīmāṃsā'', is one of the six (''āstika'') schools of Hindu philosophy Hindu philosophy encompasses the philosophies, world views and teachings of Hinduism Hind ...
, , Śāṇḍilya Bhakti Sūtra, Bhagavad Gītā, the Ramayana of , Śrīmadbhāgavata; and the most skilled in comprehensive self-study, discoursing and expounding of the complete works of ''. An adjective used in a panegyric of Jagadguru Rambhadracharya. The hyphens show only those word boundaries where there is no
sandhi Sandhi ( sa, सन्धि ' , "joining") is a cover term for a wide variety of sound In physics, sound is a vibration that propagates as an acoustic wave, through a transmission medium such as a gas, liquid or solid. In human physiology ...
. On including word boundaries with sandhi (vedānta=veda-anta, rāmāyaṇa=rāma-ayana, bhāgavatādi=bhāgavata-ādi, siddhānta=siddha-anta, samadhikṛtāśeṣa=samadhikṛta-aśeṣa, svādhyāya=sva-adhyāya), this is a compound of 35 words and 86 syllables.


Sign languages

Also in sign languages, compounding is a productive word formation process. Both endocentric and exocentric compounds have been described for a variety of sign languages. Copulative compounds or
dvandva A dvandva ('pair' in Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South A ...

dvandva
, which are composed of two or more nouns from the same semantic category to denote that semantic category, also occur regularly in many sign languages. Th
sign
for ''parents'' in
Italian Sign Language Italian Sign Language or LIS (''Lingua dei Segni Italiana'') is the sign language, visual language used by deaf people in Italy. Deep analysis of it began in the 1980s, along the lines of William Stokoe's research on American Sign Language in the 1 ...
, for instance, is a combination of the nouns ‘father’ and ‘mother’. This is an example of a sequential compound; in sign languages, it is also possible to form ''simultaneous'' compounds, where one hand represents one lexeme while the other simultaneously represents another lexeme. An example is the sign for ''weekend'' in Sign Language of the Netherlands, which is produced by simultaneously signing a one-handed version of the sign for ''Saturday'' and a one-handed version of the sign for ''Sunday.''


Recent trends

Although there is no universally agreed-upon guideline regarding the use of compound words in the English language, in recent decades written English has displayed a noticeable trend towards increased use of compounds. Recently, many words have been made by taking syllables of words and compounding them, such as pixel (picture element) and bit (binary digit). This is called a syllabic abbreviation. In Dutch and the Scandinavian languages there is an unofficial trend toward splitting compound words, known in Norwegian as ''særskriving'', in Swedish as ''särskrivning'' (literally "separate writing"), and in Dutch as ''Engelse ziekte'' (the "English disease"). Because the Scandinavian languages rely heavily on the distinction between the compound word and the sequence of the separate words it consists of, this has serious implications. For example, the adjective ''røykfritt'' (literally "smokefree", meaning no smoking allowed) if separated into its composite parts, would mean ''røyk fritt'' ("smoke freely"). In Dutch, compounds written with spaces may also be confused, but can also be interpreted as a sequence of a noun and a genitive (which is unmarked in Dutch) in formal abbreviated writing. This may lead to, for example, ''commissie vergadering'' ("commission meeting") being read as "commission of the meeting" rather than "meeting of the commission" (normally spelled ''commissievergadering''). The German spelling reform of 1996 introduced the option of hyphenating compound nouns when it enhances comprehensibility and readability. This is done mostly with very long compound words by separating them into two or more smaller compounds, like ''Eisenbahn-Unterführung'' (railway underpass) or ''Kraftfahrzeugs-Betriebsanleitung'' (car manual). Such practice is also permitted in other Germanic languages, e.g. Danish and Norwegian orthography, Norwegian (Bokmål and Nynorsk alike), and is even encouraged between parts of the word that have very different pronunciation, such as when one part is a loan word or an
acronym An acronym is a word In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign langu ...
.


Compounding by language

*Classical compounds *English compounds *German compounds *Sanskrit compounds


See also

* Compound modifier * Bracketing paradox * Etymological calque * Genitive connector * Incorporation (linguistics) * Kenning * Multiword expression * Neologism * Noun adjunct * Phono-semantic matching * Portmanteau compounds * Status constructus * Syllabic abbreviation * Tweebuffelsmeteenskootmorsdoodgeskietfontein, South African placename * Word formation * Univerbation: a phrase becomes a word


Notes


References

*Kortmann, Bernd: ''English Linguistics: Essentials'', Cornelsen, Berlin 2005. * ''The Oxford Handbook of Compounding'', eds. Lieber, Rochelle & Pavol Štekauer, 2009. Oxford: Oxford University Press. *Plag, Ingo: ''Word-formation in English'', Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2003. *Scalise Sergio & Irene Vogel (eds.) (2010), ''Cross-Disciplinary Issues in Compounding'', Amsterdam, Benjamins.


External links


Compound Words: When to Hyphenate
{{DEFAULTSORT:Compound (Linguistics) Syntax Word coinage Linguistic morphology