Nominal compounds in Mapudungun

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It is perhaps unsurprising that the rich agglutinative-polysynthetic verb morphology of Mapudungun has drawn most attention in linguistic studies. So far unnoticed in the literature are Mapudungun complex noun phrases, which show a puzzling distribution in terms of the internal structure they display. Some complex NPs are head-final (<i>mapu-che</i> &#8216;people of the land&#8217;). Others are head-initial, and of these a subset appears to be less lexicalized. In some cases, all three possibilities are found with the same components: <i>mam&#252;ll-che</i> &#8216;wood people&#8217;, <i>che-mam&#252;ll</i> &#8216;people made of wood&#8217;, and <i>che mam&#252;ll</i> &#8216;wood-like people&#8217;. The present paper reviews the comparatively modest literature on these phenomena, deals with them in an account based on semantic factors, and places them in a broader typological context. Keywords: Mapudungun; nominal compound; head-final; head-initial, nonhead; complex noun phrases; modification; subordination


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