Annual Review of Cognitive Linguistics: Volume 3
  • ISSN 1572-0268
  • E-ISSN: 1572-0276
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The paper makes the following novel claims: (1) the semantics of noun–noun compounds which is activated by metaphor and/or metonymy (often termed as “exocentric” compounds in linguistics and generally regarded as semantically opaque) can be accounted for within a cognitive linguistic framework, and the term “creative compound” is proposed for such linguistic phenomena; (2) there are regular patterns of creative compounds, depending on which constituent is affected by conceptual metaphor and/or metonymy. The second part of the paper presents one type of creative compounds: noun–noun combinations whose meaning is influenced by a metaphor-based semantic relationship between the two constituents. Such compounds seem to be quite frequent in English and come in all sorts of shapes and sizes: ranging from the “simpler” cases of image metaphors to the more elaborate single scope blends. The paper will give examples of the various types and will provide detailed analyses of each, within a cognitive linguistic framework.


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