In this paper we address the issue of the massive creation of complex words in Mandarin Chinese, a phenomenon which has led many linguists to regard Modern Chinese as a “language of compound words”. The massive creation of compound words in Chinese is parallel to another issue, that of the process of disyllabification of the preferred word-form in the historical development of the language. The development of the typical word-form from monosyllabic to disyllabic has in many cases led to incorrect judgments about the compound status of many newly created words. Our hypothesis is that the creation of a large number of complex words was caused by the interplay of a number of factors, which include phonological simplification and the fact that in the Chinese lexicon there are almost no elements which can act as word boundaries, that is, fusive and/or agglutinative inflectional markers; moreover, the abundance of lexical morphemes, endowed with a stable relationship between phonological and orthographic form, is also supposed to be a facilitating factor in complex word production. We shall compare the Chinese data with some examples of multi-word expressions from the Romance languages, a family where the phenomenon of compounding is not as widespread as in Chinese; we propose that the different development in the domain of word formation between these two languages/language groups is motivated by the tendency to analyticity in the expression of coordination and subordination relationships both in syntax and in word formation for Romance.

Arcodia, G. (2007). Chinese: a language of compound words?. In F. Montermini, G. Boyé, N. Hathout (a cura di), Selected Proceedings of the 5th Décembrettes: Morphology in Toulouse (pp. 79-90). Somerville, MA : Cascadilla Press.

Chinese: a language of compound words?

ARCODIA, GIORGIO FRANCESCO
2007

Abstract

In this paper we address the issue of the massive creation of complex words in Mandarin Chinese, a phenomenon which has led many linguists to regard Modern Chinese as a “language of compound words”. The massive creation of compound words in Chinese is parallel to another issue, that of the process of disyllabification of the preferred word-form in the historical development of the language. The development of the typical word-form from monosyllabic to disyllabic has in many cases led to incorrect judgments about the compound status of many newly created words. Our hypothesis is that the creation of a large number of complex words was caused by the interplay of a number of factors, which include phonological simplification and the fact that in the Chinese lexicon there are almost no elements which can act as word boundaries, that is, fusive and/or agglutinative inflectional markers; moreover, the abundance of lexical morphemes, endowed with a stable relationship between phonological and orthographic form, is also supposed to be a facilitating factor in complex word production. We shall compare the Chinese data with some examples of multi-word expressions from the Romance languages, a family where the phenomenon of compounding is not as widespread as in Chinese; we propose that the different development in the domain of word formation between these two languages/language groups is motivated by the tendency to analyticity in the expression of coordination and subordination relationships both in syntax and in word formation for Romance.
Capitolo o saggio
Chinese, compounding, Prosodic Morphology
English
Selected Proceedings of the 5th Décembrettes: Morphology in Toulouse
9781574734218
Arcodia, G. (2007). Chinese: a language of compound words?. In F. Montermini, G. Boyé, N. Hathout (a cura di), Selected Proceedings of the 5th Décembrettes: Morphology in Toulouse (pp. 79-90). Somerville, MA : Cascadilla Press.
Arcodia, G
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10281/13401
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