In the literature on word formation, there seems to be no agreement on the terminology and on the precise definition of “two-headed compounds”, which are traditionally defined as dvandva, a term that comes from the Indian grammarians’ usage. We shall see how this name is not appropriate to define such compounds in modern languages which are made of two elements which share head properties, and we shall examine some of the terms (and definitions) used in literature about this issue. We shall then deal with a classification of this kind of compounded words (which is usually regarded as a rather uncommon type in Indo-European languages) which will be used for some languages of the Romance group (namely, Italian, French and Spanish) and for Chinese, a language where we find an incredibly high number of compounded words, many of which are coordinative compounds. We shall analyze some categories of compounds which are semantically but not formally coordinative, that is, the category of the word does not percolate from its constituent parts, but is assigned in a similar way as for exocentric compounds. In a functionalist perspective, we shall analyze the factors which influenced the development of composition in the above mentioned languages, providing an explanation (both functional and historical) for the present situation of the word formation domain in the languages of Europe and in Chinese. The hypothesis presented here is that the preference of the Chinese language for asyndetic coordination in syntax had as a consequence the birth and lexicalization/diffusion of a high number of coordinating compounds. This process appears to be have been caused also by a number of changes in the language, such as the well-known simplification of the syllable inventory and the levelling of some tone distinctions, which led to an increase in the number of homophone morphemes, and thus to a necessity to reduce ambiguity by increasing the “morpho-phonological weight of words”. We shall see how this simplification at the phonological level also caused a change which in turn bore a major consequence in the history of the language, that is, the birth of the disyllabic unit as the minimal prosodic unit in the language, altering the monosillabicity of the Classical language. We shall also stress the fact that the rich inflectional morphology of Romance languages hampers lexicalization (as compounds) of some language structures, whereas the opposite situation characterizes Chinese, an isolating language with very limited morphology, mostly of the agglutinating kind

Arcodia, G. (2006). La natura morfologica dei composti coordinativi in cinese mandarino. STUDI ITALIANI DI LINGUISTICA TEORICA E APPLICATA, 35(3), 549-578.

La natura morfologica dei composti coordinativi in cinese mandarino

ARCODIA, GIORGIO FRANCESCO
2006

Abstract

In the literature on word formation, there seems to be no agreement on the terminology and on the precise definition of “two-headed compounds”, which are traditionally defined as dvandva, a term that comes from the Indian grammarians’ usage. We shall see how this name is not appropriate to define such compounds in modern languages which are made of two elements which share head properties, and we shall examine some of the terms (and definitions) used in literature about this issue. We shall then deal with a classification of this kind of compounded words (which is usually regarded as a rather uncommon type in Indo-European languages) which will be used for some languages of the Romance group (namely, Italian, French and Spanish) and for Chinese, a language where we find an incredibly high number of compounded words, many of which are coordinative compounds. We shall analyze some categories of compounds which are semantically but not formally coordinative, that is, the category of the word does not percolate from its constituent parts, but is assigned in a similar way as for exocentric compounds. In a functionalist perspective, we shall analyze the factors which influenced the development of composition in the above mentioned languages, providing an explanation (both functional and historical) for the present situation of the word formation domain in the languages of Europe and in Chinese. The hypothesis presented here is that the preference of the Chinese language for asyndetic coordination in syntax had as a consequence the birth and lexicalization/diffusion of a high number of coordinating compounds. This process appears to be have been caused also by a number of changes in the language, such as the well-known simplification of the syllable inventory and the levelling of some tone distinctions, which led to an increase in the number of homophone morphemes, and thus to a necessity to reduce ambiguity by increasing the “morpho-phonological weight of words”. We shall see how this simplification at the phonological level also caused a change which in turn bore a major consequence in the history of the language, that is, the birth of the disyllabic unit as the minimal prosodic unit in the language, altering the monosillabicity of the Classical language. We shall also stress the fact that the rich inflectional morphology of Romance languages hampers lexicalization (as compounds) of some language structures, whereas the opposite situation characterizes Chinese, an isolating language with very limited morphology, mostly of the agglutinating kind
Articolo in rivista - Articolo scientifico
Chinese, compounding, coordination, prosodic morphology
Italian
549
578
30
Arcodia, G. (2006). La natura morfologica dei composti coordinativi in cinese mandarino. STUDI ITALIANI DI LINGUISTICA TEORICA E APPLICATA, 35(3), 549-578.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10281/13396
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