The syntactic domain of content*

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A main motivation for relegating Word Formation to the lexicon is the fact that its output is often non-compositional. The present article, however, presents a serious challenge to the presumed contradiction between non-compositionality and syntactic combinatorial processes. The investigation of N&#8211;N Constructs in Hebrew shows that equally syntactically complex expressions nonetheless interact differently with non-compositionality. Crucially, it is the <i>syntactic</i> differences between these expressions that give rise to distinct Content properties, with non-compositionality correlating not with syntactic structure as such, but with the absence of functional structure. The emerging syntactic domain of &#8216;word&#8217; Content in turn allows the language learner to make informed decisions on where to look for non-compositionality and to draw the appropriate structural conclusions from its presence. Keywords: compounds; construct state nominals; genitive constructions; word formation; word compositionality


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