Volume 46, Issue 4
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978
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Noun-incorporation is a process of word-formation in which a nominal constituent is added to a verbal root, with the resulting construction being both a verb and a single word. The incorporated element may be the object of the verbal element; it may also denote agent, instrument, location, etc. Once incorporated the nominal constituent figures less prominently. The meaning of the resulting new word is more than the sum of its two constituents. This is the of all morphological processes that has morphological, semantic, syntactic, and discourse consequences (Mithun 1984: 847). By reference to relevant typological studies, this article describes the morphological, syntactic, and semantic features of noun-incorporation in Chinese within the framework of Systemic Functional Linguistics. It is found that the new verb may be intransitive or transitive and the two elements may occur continuously or discontinuously and they may swap their positions. This process may shed light on the complementary and continuous relation between lexis and grammar and the ergative nature of Chinese.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): ergativity; noun-incorporation; transitivity; verbs
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