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Classification of Compound Words
Word-composition is the type of word-formation, in which new words are produced by combining two or more Immediate Constituents (ICs), which are both derivational bases. *(The procedure generally employed for the purposes of segmenting words into the constituent morphemes is known as the method of Immediate and Ultimate Constituents.This method is based on a binary principle, i.e. each stage of the procedure involves two components the word immediately breaks into. At each stage these two components are referred to as the Immediate Constituents (ICs). ICs – any of the two meaningful parts forming a larger linguistic unit. Each IC at the next stage of analysis is in its turn broken into smaller meaningful elements. This analysis is completed when we arrive at constituents incapable of further division, i.e. morphemes. These morphemes are referred to as the Ultimate Constituents (UCs). For example, the noun friendliness is the first segmented into the ICs 1) friendly- (recurring in the adjectives friendly and friendly-looking) and 2) –ness (found in a countless number of nouns, e.g. happiness, darkness). The IC –ness is at the same time AUC of the noun, as it cannot be broken into any smaller elements possessing both sound-form and meaning. The IC friendly- is next broken into the ICs 1) friend- (recurring in friendship, unfriendly) and 2) –ly (recurring in wifely, brotherly). The ICs friend- and –ly are both UCs of the word under analysis.).* *(A derivational base is the part of the word, which establishes connection with the lexical unit that motivates the derivative and determines its individual lexical meaning describing the difference between words in one and the same derivational set. For example, the individual lexical meaning of the words singer, writer, teacher which denote active doers of the action, is signaled by the lexical meaning of the derivational bases: sing-, write-, teach-).
The ICs of compound words represent bases of all three structural types: 1) bases that coincide with morphological stems; 2) bases that coincide with word-forms; 3) bases that coincide with word-groups. The bases built on stems may be of different degrees of complexity: 1) simple, e.g. week-end; 2) derived, e.g. letter-writer; 3) compound, e.g. aircraft-carrier.
Compound words can be classified according to different principles.
1. According to the relations between the ICs compound words fall into two classes: 1) coordinative compounds and 2) subordinative compounds.
In coordinative compounds the two ICs are semantically equally important. The coordinative compounds fall into three groups:
a) reduplicative compounds which are made up by the repetition of the same base, e.g. pooh-pooh, fifty-fifty;
b) compounds formed by joining the phonically variated rhythmic twin forms, e.g. chit-chat (with the same initial consonants but different vowels); walkie-talkie, clap-trap (with different initial consonants but the same vowels);
c) additive compounds which are built on stems of the independently functioning words of the same part of speech, e.g. actor-manager, queen-bee.
In subordinative compounds the components are neither structurally nor semantically equal in importance but are based on the domination of the head-member which is, as a rule, the second IC, e.g. stone-deaf, age-long. The second IC preconditions the part-of-speech meaning of the whole compound.
2. According to the part of speech compounds represent they fall into:
1) compound nouns, e.g. sunbeam, maidservant;
2) compound adjectives, e.g. heart-free, far-reaching;
3) compound pronouns, e.g. somebody, nothing;
4) compound adverbs, e.g. nowhere, inside;
5) compound verbs, e.g. to offset, to bypass, to mass-produce.
3. According to the means of composition compound words are classified into:
1) compounds composed without connecting elements, e.g. heartache, dog-house;
2) compounds composed with the help of a vowel or a consonant as a linking element, e.g. handicraft, statesman;
3) compounds composed with the help of linking elements represented by preposition or conjunction stems, e.g. son-in-law, pepper-and-salt.
4. According to the type of bases that form compounds the following classes can be singled out:
1) compounds proper that are formed by joining together bases built on the stems or on the word-forms with or without a linking element, e.g. door-step, street-fighting;
2) derivational compounds that are formed by joining affixes to the bases built on the word-groups or by converting the bases built on the word-groups into other parts of speech, e.g. long-legged – (long legs)+-ed; a turnkey – (to turn key)+conversion.
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