Volume 15, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1871-1340
  • E-ISSN: 1871-1375
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There have been many attempts at classifying the semantic modification relations (ℜ) of N + N compounds but this work has not led to the acceptance of a definitive scheme, so that devising a reusable classification is a worthwhile aim. The scope of this undertaking is extended to other binominal lexemes, i.e. units that contain two thing-morphemes without explicitly stating ℜ, like prepositional units, N + relational adjective units, etc. The 25-relation taxonomy of Bourque (2014) was tested against over 15,000 binominal lexemes from 106 languages and extended to a 29-relation scheme (“Bourque2”) through the introduction of two new reversible relations. Bourque2 is then mapped onto Hatcher’s (1960) four-relation scheme (extended by the addition of a fifth relation, , as “Hatcher2”). This results in a two-tier system usable at different degrees of granularities. On account of its semantic proximity to compounding, metonymy is then taken into account, following Janda’s (2011) suggestion that it plays a role in word formation; Peirsman and Geeraerts’ (2006) inventory of 23 metonymic patterns is mapped onto Bourque2, confirming the identity of metonymic and binominal modification relations. Finally, Blank’s (2003) and Koch’s (2001) work on lexical semantics justifies the addition to the scheme of a third, superordinate level which comprises the three Aristotelean principles of similarity, contiguity and contrast.


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