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Coordination in compounding

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Abstract

This chapter deals with the expression of coordination relations in compounding. Two macro-types of compounds are identified, namely hyperonymic coordinating compounds (co-compounds), where the referent of the compound is in a superordinate relationship to the meaning of the parts (as Mandarin <i>dao-qiang</i> &#8216;sword+spear, weapons&#8217;), and hyponymic coordinate compounds, where the referent is in a subordinate relationship to the meaning of the parts (as English <i>actor-director</i>). The chapter also argues that the distribution of these two macro-types is not random but, rather, areally skewed: whereas co-compounds are common in the Eastern part of Eurasia, New Guinea and Mesoamerica, they seem to be absent in Standard Average European languages, where hyponymic coordinating compounds are formed quite freely. Moreover, while co-compounds may belong to different word classes, hyponymic coordinating compounds are (probably) never verbs.

References

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