II. Nouns converted from verbs (deverbal substantives).

The verb generally referring to an action, the converted noun may denote:

1) instance of the action, e.g. jump v — jumpn — ’sudden spring from the ground’; movevmoven — ‘a change of position’;

2) agent of the action, e.g. help v — helpn — ‘a person who helps’; it is of interest to mention that the deverbal personal nouns denoting the doer are mostly derogatory, e.g. bore v — boren — ‘a person that bores’; cheatv— cheatn — ‘a person who cheats’;

3) place of the action, e.g. drivev — driven — ‘a path or road along which one drives’; walk v — walkn — ‘a place for walking’;

4) object or result of the action, e.g. peelv— peeln — ‘the outer skin of fruit or potatoes taken off; findvfindи — ’something found,” esp. something valuable or pleasant’; etc.

For convenience the typical semantic relations as briefly described above may be graphically represented in the form of a diagram (see below, pp. 132-133).

In conclusion it is necessary to point out that in the case of polysemantic words one and the same member of a conversion pair, a verb or a noun, belongs to several of the above-mentioned groups making different derivational bases. For instance, the verb dustbelongs to Group 4 of Denominal verbs (deprivation of the object) when it means ‘remove dust from something’, and to Group 3 (acquisition or addition of the object) when it means ‘cover with powder’; the noun slideis referred to Group 3 of Deverbal substantives (place of the action) when denoting ‘a stretch of smooth ice or hard snow on which people slide’ and to Group 2 (agent of the action) when it refers to a part of an instrument or machine that slides, etc.

Denominal Verbs

Deverbal Substantives


§ 19. Basic Criteria of Semantic Derivation

It follows from the foregoing discussion that within conversion pairs one of the two words has a more complex semantic structure, hence the problem of the criteria of semantic derivation: which of the two words within a conversion pair is the derived member?

The first criterion makes use of the non-correspondence between the lexical meaning of the root-morpheme and the part-of-speech meaning of the stem in one of the two words making up a conversion pair. In cases like pennpenv, fathern— fatherv, etc. the noun is the name for a being or a concrete thing. Therefore, the lexical meaning of the root-morpheme corresponds to the part-of-speech meaning of the stem. This type of nouns is regarded as having a simple semantic structure.

The verbs pen, fatherdenote a process, therefore the part-of-speech meaning of their stems does not correspond to the lexical meaning of the roots which is of a substantival character. This distinction accounts for the complex character of the semantic structure of verbs of this type. It is natural to regard the semantically simple as the source of the semantically complex, hence we are justified in assuming that the verbs pen, fatherare derived from the corresponding nouns. This criterion is not universal being rather restricted in its application. It is reliable only when there is no doubt that the root-morpheme is of a substantival character or that it denotes a process, i.e. in cases like to father, to pen, a fall, a drive,etc. But there are a great many conversion pairs in which it is extremely difficult to exactly determine the semantic character of the root-morpheme, e.g. answerv— answern; matchvmatchn,etc. The non-correspondence criterion is inapplicable to such cases.

The second criterion involves a comparison of a conversion pair with analogous word-pairs making use of the synonymic sets, of which the words in question are members. For instance, in comparing conversion pairs like chatv— chatn;showv— shown; workv— workn, etc. with analogous synonymic word-pairs like converseconversation; exhibit — exhibition; occupy — occupation; employ — employment,etc. we are led to conclude that the nouns chat, show, work,etc. are the derived

members. We are justified in arriving at this conclusion because the semantic relations in the case of chatv— chatn;showv— shown; workv— workn are similar to those between converse — conversation; exhibit — exhibition; employ — employment.Like the non-correspondence criterion the synonymity criterion is considerably restricted in its application. This is a relatively reliable criterion only for abstract words whose synonyms possess a complex morphological structure making it possible to draw a definite conclusion about the direction of semantic derivation. Besides, this criterion may be applied only to deverbal substantives (v -> n) and not to denominal verbs (n -> v).

Of more universal character is the criterion based on derivational relations within the word-cluster of which the converted words in question are members. It will be recalled that the stems of words making up a word-cluster enter into derivational relations of different degrees.1 If the centre of the cluster is a verb, all derived words of the first degree of derivation have suffixes generally added to a verb-base (see fig. below. p. 135). The centre of a cluster being a noun, all the first-degree derivatives have suffixes generally added to a noun-base.

Proceeding from this regularity it is logical to conclude that if the first-degree derivatives have suffixes added to a noun-base, the centre of the cluster is a noun, and if they have suffixes added to a verb-base, it is a verb.2 It is this regularity that the criterion of semantic derivation under discussion is based on. In the word-cluster handn— handv— handful — handy — handedthe derived words have suffixes added to the noun-base which makes it possible to conclude that the structural and semantic centre of the whole cluster is the noun hand.Consequently, we can assume that the verb handis semantically derived from the noun hand.Likewise, considering the derivatives within the word-cluster floatnfloatv— floatable — floater — floatation — floatingwe see that the centre is the verb to floatand conclude that the noun floatis the derived member in the conversion pair floatn— floatv. The derivational criterion is less restricted in its application than the other two described above. However, as this criterion necessarily involves consideration of a whole set of derivatives it can hardly be applied to word-clusters which have few derived words.

Of very wide application is the criterion of semantic derivation based on semantic relations within conversion pairs. It is natural to conclude that the existence within a conversion pair of atype of relations typical of, e.g., denominal verbs proves that the verb is the derived member. Likewise, a type of relations typical of deverbal substantives marks the noun as the derived member. For instance, the semantic relations between crowdncrowdv are perceived as those of an object and an action characteristic of the object, which leads one to the ,

1 See ‘Word-Formations’, § 6, p. 114.

2 Information concerning the stems of the parts of speech the English suffixes are regularly added to may be found in “Exercises in Modern English Word-Building” by D. Vesnik and S. Khidekel, M., 1964.

conclusion that the verb crowdis the derived member; likewise, in the pair take vtaken the noun is the derived member, because the relations between the two words are those of an action and a result or an object of the action — type 4 relations of deverbal substantives, etc. This semantic criterion of inner derivation is one of the most important ones for determining the derived members within a conversion pair, for its application has almost no limitations.

To sum up, out of the four criteria considered above the most important are the derivational and the semantic criteria, for there are almost no limitations to their application. When applying the other two criteria, their limitations should be kept in mind. As a rule, the word under analysis should meet the requirements of the two basic criteria. In doubtful cases one of the remaining criteria should be resorted to. It may be of interest to point out that in case a word meets the requirements of the non-correspondence criterion no additional checking is necessary.

Of late a new criterion of semantic derivation for conversion pairs has been suggested.1 It is based on the frequency of occurrence in various utterances of either of the two member-words related through conversion. According to this frequency criterion a lower frequency value testifies to the derived character of the word in question. The information about the frequency value of words although on a limited scale can be found in the available dictionaries of word-frequency with semantic counts.2

To give an illustration, according to M. West’s A General Service List of English Words, the frequency value of four verb — noun conversion pairs in correlative meanings taken at random is estimated as follows:

to answer (V = 63%) — answer (N =35%), to help (V = 61%) — help (N = 1%), to sample (V= 10%) — sample (N=90%), to joke (V=8%) — joke (N=82%).

By the frequency criterion of semantic derivation in the first two pairs the nouns (answerand help)are derived words (deverbal

1 See H. О. Волкова. К вопросу о направлении производности при конверсии в парах имя — глагол (на материале современного английского языка). — Сб., Иностр. яз. в высшей школе, вып. 9. М., 1974.

2 See ‘Fundamentals of English Lexicography’, § 5, p. 214.

substantive’s), in the other two pairs the verbs (to sampleand to joke)are converted from nouns (denominal verbs).

Of interest is also the transformational criterion of semantic derivation for conversion pairs suggested in linguistic literature not so long ago.1 The procedure of the transformational criterion israther complicated, therefore only part of it as applied to deverbal substantives is described here.

The transformational procedure helping to determine the direction of semantic derivation in conversion pairs is the transformation of nominalisation (the nominalising transformation).2 It is applied to a change of apredicative syntagma into a nominal syntagma.

By analogy with the transformation of predicative syntagmas like “The committee elected John” into the nominal syntagma “John’s election by the committee” or “the committee’s election of John” in which the derivational relationship of electand electionis that of a derived word (election)to its base (elect)the possibility of transformations like

Roy loves nature -> Roy’s love of nature 3 John visited his friend -> John’s visit to his friend She promised help -> her promise of help proves the derived character of the nouns love, visit, promise.Failure to apply the nominalising transformation indicates that the nouns cannot be regarded as derived from the corresponding verb base,

e.g. She bosses the establishment -> her boss of the establishment 4 I skinned the rabbit -> my skin of the rabbit He taxied home -> his taxi home

§ 20. Diachronic Approach of Conversion. Origin

Modern English vocabulary is exceedingly rich in conversion pairs. As a way of forming words conversion is extremely productive and new conversion pairs make their appearance in fiction, newspaper articles and in the process of oral communication in all spheres of human activity gradually forcing their way into the existing vocabulary and into the dictionaries as well. New conversion pairs are created on the analogy of those already in the word-stock on the semantic patterns described above as types of semantic relations. Conversion is highly productive in the formation of verbs, especially from compound nouns. 20th century new words include a great many verbs formed by conversion, e.g. to motor — ‘travel by car’; to phone — ‘use the telephone’; to wire — ’send a telegram’; to microfilm — ‘produce a microfilm of; to tear-gas — ‘to use tear-gas’; to fire-bomb — ‘drop fire-bombs’; to spearhead — ‘act as a spearhead for’; to blueprint — ‘work out, outline’, etc. A diachronic survey of the present-day stock of conversion pairs reveals, however, that not all of them have been created on the semantic patterns just referred to. Some of them arose as a result of the disappear-

1 See П. А. Соболева. О трансформационном анализе словообразовательных отношений. — Сб. Трансформационный метод в структурной лингвистике. М., 1964.

2 See ‘Methods and Procedures of Lexicological Analysis’, § 5, p. 251. 3 The sign -> shows the possibility of transformation.

4 The sign ->denotes the impossibility of transformation.

ance of inflections in the course of the historical development of the English language due to which two words of different parts of speech, e.g. a verb and a noun, coincided in pronunciation. This is the case with such word-pairs, for instance, as loven (OE. lufu) — lovev (OE. lufian); workn (OE. wēōrc) — workv (OE. wyrcan); answern (OE. andswaru) — answerv (OE. andswarian) and many others. For this reason certain linguists consider it necessary to distinguish between homonymous word-pairs which appeared as a result of the loss of inflections and those formed by conversion. The term conversion is applied then only to cases like doctorn— doctorv;briefa— brief vthat came into being after the disappearance of inflections, word-pairs like workn— work v being regarded exclusively as cases of homonymy.1

Other linguists share Prof. Smirnitsky’s views concerning discrimination between conversion as a derivational means and as a type of word-building relations between words in Modern English. Synchronically in Modern English there is no difference at all between cases like taxin — taxi v and cases like loven— lovevfrom the point of view of their morphological structure and the word-building system of the language. In either case the only difference between the two words is that of the paradigm: the historical background is here irrelevant. It should be emphatically stressed at this point that the present-day derivative correlations within conversion pairs do not necessarily coincide with the etymological relationship. For instance, in the word-pair awenawev the noun is the source, of derivation both diachronically and synchronically, but it is quite different with the pair mouldv— mouldn: historically the verb is the derived member, whereas it is the other way round from the angle of Modern English (cf. the derivatives mouldable, moulding, moulderwhich have suffixes added to verb-bases).

A diachronic semantic analysis of a conversion pair reveals that in the course of time the semantic structure of the base may acquire a new meaning or several meanings under the influence of the meanings of the converted word. This semantic process has been termed reconversion in linguistic literature.2 There is an essential difference between conversion and reconversion: being a way of forming words conversion leads to a numerical enlargement of the English vocabulary, whereas reconversion only brings about a new meaning correlated with one of the meanings of the converted word. Research has shown that reconversion

1 Because of the regular character of semantic correlation within such word-pairs as well as within conversion pairs formed on the semantic patterns I. P. Ivanova intro-

duces the notion of patterned homonymy. She points out that conversion is one of the sources of homonymy, there are also other sources such as coincidence in sound-form of words of different parts of speech, borrowing two words of different parts of speech in the same phonetic shape, and some others. (See И. П. Иванова. О морфологической характеристике слова в современном английском языке. — Сб. : Проблемы морфологического строя германских языков. М., 1963; see also I. Arnold. The English Word. M., 1973, ch. VIII.)

2 See П. М. Каращук. Реконверсия и ее роль в развитии семантических структур соотносящихся по конверсии слов. — Сб. “Словообразование и его место в курсе обучения иностранному языку”, вып. I. Владивосток, 1973.


only operates with denominal verbs and deverbal nouns. As an illustration the conversion pair smoken— smokev may be cited. According to the Oxford English Dictionary some of the meanings of the two words are:


1. the visible volatile product given off by burning or smouldering substances (1000)1 c) the act of smoke coming out into a room instead of passing up the chimney (1715)


1. intr. to produce or give forth smoke (1000)

'c) of a room, chimney, lamp, etc.: to be smoky, to emit smoke as the result of imperfect draught or improper burning (1663)

Comparison makes it possible to trace the semantic development of each word. The verb smokeformed in 1000 from the noun smokein the corresponding meaning had acquired by 1663 another meaning by ametaphorical transfer which, in turn, gave rise to a correlative meaning of the noun smokein 1715 through reconversion.

§ 21. Productivity. Traditional and Occasional Conversion

Conversion is not an absolutely productive way of forming words because it is restricted both semantically and morphologically.

With reference to semantic restrictions it is assumed that all verbs can be divided into two groups: a) verbs denoting processes that can be represented as a succession of isolated actions from which nouns are easily formed, e.g. fallv— falln;runvrunn;jumpv— jumpn, etc.; b) verbs like to sit, to lie, to standdenoting processes that cannot be represented as a succession of isolated actions, thus defying conversion. However, a careful examination of modern English usage reveals that it is extremely difficult to distinguish between these two groups. This can be exemplified in such pairs as to invite — an invite, to take — a take, to sing — a sing, to bleed — a bleed, to wina win,etc. The possibility for the verbs to be formed from nouns through conversion seems to be illimitable.

The morphological restrictions suggested by certain linguists are found in the fact that the complexity of word-structure does not favour conversion. It is significant that in MnE. there are no verbs converted from nouns with the suffixes -ingand -ation.This restriction is counterbalanced, however, by innumerable occasional conversion pairs of rather complex structure, e.g. to package, to holiday, to wireless, to petition, to reverence,etc. Thus, it seems possible to regard conversion as a highly productive way of forming words in Modern English.

The English word-stock contains a great many words formed by means of conversion in different periods of its history. There are cases of traditional and occasional conversion. Traditional conversion refers to the accepted use of words which are recorded in dictionaries, e.g. to age, to cook, to love, to look, to capture,etc. The individual or occasional

1 The figures in brackets show the year of the first use of the word in the given meaning.

use of conversion is also very frequent; verbs and adjectives are converted from nouns or vice versa for the sake of bringing out the meaning more vividly in a given context only. These cases of individual coinage serve the given occasion only and do not enter the word-stock of the English language. In modern English usage we find a great number of cases of occasional conversion, e.g. togirl the boat; when his guests had been washed, mended, brushedand brandied;How am Ito preserve the respect of fellow-travellers, if I'm to be Billiedat every turn?

§ 22. Conversion and Sound-(stress-) Interchange

Sound-interchange in English is often combined with a difference in the paradigm. This raises the question of the relationship between sound-interchange and conversion. To find a solution of the problem in terms of A. I. Smirnitsky’s conception of conversion the following three types of relations should be distinguished:

Breath — to breathe

As far as cases of this type are concerned, sound-interchange distinguishes only between words, it does not differentiate word-forms of one and the same word. Consequently it has no relation to the paradigms of the words. Hence, cases of this type cannot be regarded as conversion.

2) song — to sing

In the above given example the vowel in songinterchanges with three different vowels, the latter interchanging with one another in the forms of the verb to sing:

Like the previous type, the words song — to singare not related by conversion: songdiffers from to sing (sang, sung)not only in the paradigm. Its root-vowel does not occur in the word-forms of the verb and vice versa.

3) house — to house

In such cases the type of sound-interchange distinguishing the two words (verb and noun) is the same as that which distinguishes the word-forms of the noun, cf, house[haus] — houses[hauziz] and to house[hauz] — houses [hauziz]. Consequently, the only difference between the two words lies in their paradigms, in other words, word-pairs like house — to houseare cases of conversion.

It is fairly obvious that in such cases as present — to present, accent — to accent,etc. which differ in the position of stress, the latter does not distinguish the word-forms within the paradigm of the two words. Thus, as far as cases of this type are concerned, the difference in stress is similar

to the function of sound-interchange in cases like breath — "to breathe.Consequently, cases of this type do not belong to conversion.

There is, however, another interpretation of the relationship between conversion and sound (stress)-interchange in linguistic literature. As sound- and (stress-)interchange often accompanies cases of affixation, e.g. courage — courageous, stable — stability,it seems logical to assume that conversion as one of the types of derivation may also be accompanied by sound- (stress-)interchange. Hence, cases like breath — to breathe; to sing — song; present — to present; increaseto increase,etc. are to be regarded as those of conversion.

§ 23. Summary and Conclusions

1. Conversion, an exceedingly productive way of forming words in Modern English, is treated differently in linguistic literature. Some linguists define it as a morphological, others as a morphological-syntactic way of forming words, still others consider conversion from a purely syntactic angle.

2. There are several criteria of semantic derivation within conversion pairs. The most universal are the semantic and the frequency criteria.

3. On the synchronic plane conversion is regarded as a type of derivative correlation between two words making up a conversion pair.

4., On the diachronic plane conversion is a way of forming new words on the analogy of the semantic patterns available in the language. Diachronically distinction should be made between cases of conversion as such and those of homonymy due to the disappearance of inflections in the course of the development of the English language.


§ 24. Compounding

Compounding or word-composition is one of the productive types of word-formation in Modern English. Composition like all other ways of deriving words has its own peculiarities as to the means used, the nature of bases and their distribution, as to the range of application, the scope of semantic classes and the factors conducive to productivity.

Compounds, as has been mentioned elsewhere, are made up of two ICs which are both derivational bases. Compound words are inseparable vocabulary units. They are formally and semantically dependent on the constituent bases and the semantic relations between them which mirror the relations between the motivating units. The ICs of compound words represent bases of all three structural types.1 The bases built on stems may be of different degree2 of complexity as, e.g., week-end, office-management, postage-stamp, aircraft-carrier, fancy-dress-maker,etc. However, this complexity of structure of bases is not typical of the bulk of Modern English compounds.

1 See ‘Word-Structure’, § 8, p. 97.

2 See ‘Word-Formation’, § 6, p. 114.

In this connection care should be taken not to confuse compound words with polymorphic words of secondary derivation, i.e. derivatives built according to an affixal pattern but on a compound stem for its base such as, e.g., school-mastership([n+n]+suf), ex-housewife(prf+[n+n]), to weekend, to spotlight([n+n]+conversion).

§ 25. Structure

Compound words like all other inseparable vocabulary units take shape in a definite system of grammatical forms, syntactic and semantic features. Compounds, on the one hand, are generally clearly distinguished from and often opposed to free word-groups, on the other hand they lie astride the border-line between words and word-groups and display close ties and correlation with the system of free word-groups. The structural inseparability of compound words finds expression in the unity of their specific distributional pattern and specific stress and spelling pattern.

Structurally compound words are characterised by the specific order and arrangement in which bases follow one another. The order in which the two bases are placed within a compound is rigidly fixed in Modern English and itis the second IC that makes the head-member of the word, i.e. its structural and semantic centre. The head-member is of basic importance as it ‘preconditions both the lexico-grammatical and semantic features of the first component. It is of interest to note that the difference between stems (that serve as bases in compound words) and word-forms they coincide with 1 is most obvious in some compounds, especially in compound adjectives. Adjectives like long, wide, richare characterised by grammatical forms of degrees of comparison longer, wider, richer.The corresponding stems functioning as bases in compound words lack grammatical independence and forms proper to the words and retain only the part-of-speech meaning; thus compound adjectives with adjectival stems for their second components, e.g. age-long, oil-rich, inch-wide,do not form degrees of comparison as the compound adjective oil-richdoes not form them the way the word rich does, but conforms to the general rule of polysyllabic adjectives and has analytical forms of degrees of comparison. The same difference between words and stems is not so noticeable in compound nouns with the noun-stem for the second component.

Phоnetiсallу compounds are also marked by a specific structure of their own. No phonemic changes of bases occur in composition but the compound word acquires a new stress pattern, different from the stress in the motivating words, for example words keyand hole or hotand houseeach possess their own stress but when the stems of these words are brought together to make up a new compound word, ‘keyhole — ‘a hole in a lock into which a key fits’, or ‘hot-house — ‘a heated building for growing delicate plants’, the latter is given a different stress pattern — a unity stress on the first component in our case. Compound words have three stress patterns:

a) a high or unity stress on the first component as in ‘honeymoon, doorway,etc.

1 See ‘Word-Structure’, § 8, p. 97,

b) a double stress, with a primary stress on the first component and aweaker, secondary stress on the second component, e.g. ´blood-`vessel, ´mad-`doctor — ‘a psychiatrist’, ´washing-ma`chine, etc. These two stress patterns are the commonest among compound words and in many cases they acquire a contrasting force distinguishing compound words from word-groups, especially when the arrangement and order of ICs parallel the word-order and the distributional pattern of a phrase, thus a ‘greenhouse — ‘a glass house for cultivating delicate plants’ is contrasted to a ‘green ‘house — ‘a house that is painted green’; ‘dancing-girl — ‘a dancer’ to a ‘dancing ‘girl — ‘a girl who is dancing’; a ´mad-`doctor — ‘apsychiatrist’ to ‘mad ‘doctor — ‘a doctor who is mad’. The significance of these stress patterns is nowhere so evident as in nominal compounds built on the n+n derivational pattern in which the arrangement and order of the stems fail to distinguish a compound word from a phrase.

c) It is not infrequent, however, for both ICs to have level stress as in, e.g., ‘arm-'chair, ‘icy-'cold, ‘grass-'green,etc.

The significance of the stress pattern by itself should not be overestimated though, as it cannot be an overall criterion and cannot always serve as a sufficient clue to draw a line of distinction between compound words and phrases. This mostly refers to level stress pattern. In most cases the level stress pattern is accompanied by other structural and graphic indications of inseparability.

Graphically most compounds have two types of spelling — they are spelt either solidly or with a hyphen. Both types of spelling when accompanied by structural and phonetic peculiarities serve as a sufficient indication of inseparability of compound words in contradistinction to phrases. It is true that hyphenated spelling by itself may be sometimes misleading, as it may be used in word-groups to emphasise their phraseological character as in e.g. daughter-in-law, man-of-war, brother-in-armsor in longer combinations of words to indicate the semantic unity of a string of words used attributively as, e.g., I-know-what-you're-going-to-say expression, we-are-in-the-know jargon, the young-must-be-right attitude.The two types of spelling typical of compounds, however, are not rigidly observed and there are numerous fluctuations between solid or hyphenated spelling on the one hand and spelling with a break between the components on the other, especially in nominal compounds of the n+n type. The spelling of these compounds varies from author to author and from dictionary to dictionary. For example, the words war-path, war-time, money-lenderare spelt both with a hyphen and solidly; blood-poisoning, money-order, wave-length, war-ship — with a hyphen and with a break; underfoot, insofar, underhand — solidly and with a break.1 It is noteworthy that new compounds of this type tend to solid or hyphenated spelling. This inconsistency of spelling in compounds, often accompanied by a level stress pattern (equally typical of word-groups) makes the problem of distinguishing between compound

1 The spelling is given according to Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, 1956 and H. С Wyld. The Universal English Dictionary, 1952.

words (of the n+n type in particular) and word-groups especially difficult.

In this connection it should be stressed that Modern English nouns (in the Common Case, Sg.) as has been universally recognised possess an attributive function in which they are regularly used to form numerous nominal phrases as, e.g. peace years, stone steps, government office,etc. Such variable nominal -phrases are semantically fully derivable from the meanings of the two nouns and are based on the homogeneous attributive semantic relations unlike compound words. This system of nominal phrases exists side by side with the specific and numerous class of nominal compounds which as a rule carry an additional semantic component not found in phrases.

It is also important to stress that these two classes of vocabulary units — compound words and free phrases — are not only opposed but also stand in close correlative relations to each other.1

§ 26. Meaning

Semantically compound words are generally motivated units. The meaning of the compound is first of all derived from the’ combined lexical meanings of its components. The semantic peculiarity of the derivational bases and the semantic difference between the base and the stem on which the latter is built is most obvious in compound words. Compound words with a common second or first component can serve as illustrations. The stem of the word boardis polysemantic and its multiple meanings serve as different derivational bases, each with its own selective range for the semantic features of the other component, each forming a separate set of compound words, based on ’specific derivative relations. Thus the base boardmeaning ‘a flat piece of wood square or oblong’ makes a set of compounds chess-board, notice-board, key-board, diving-board, foot-board, sign-board;compounds paste-board, carboardare built on the base meaning ‘thick, stiff paper’; the base board-meaning ‘an authorised body of men’, forms compounds school-board, board-room.The same can be observed in words built on the polysemantic stem of the word foot.For example, the base foot-in foot-print, foot-pump, foothold, foot-bath, foot-wearhas the meaning of ‘the terminal part of the leg’, in foot-note, foot-lights, foot-stonethe base foot-has the meaning of ‘the lower part’, and in foot-high, foot-wide, footrule — ‘measure of length’. It is obvious from the above-given examples that the meanings of the bases of compound words are interdependent and that the - choice of each is delimited as in variable word-groups by the nature of the other IC of the word. It thus may well be said that the combination of bases serves as a kind of minimal inner context distinguishing the particular individual lexical meaning of each component. In this connection we should also remember the significance of the differential meaning found in both components which becomes especially obvious in a set of compounds containing identical bases.2

1 See ‘Word-Composition’, § 34, p. 151,

2 See ‘Semasiology’, § 15, p. 24.

§ 27. Structural Meaning of the Pattern

The lexical meanings of the bases alone, important as they are, do not make the meaning of the compound word. The meaning of the compound is derived not only from the combined lexical meanings of its components, but also from the meaning signalled by the patterns of the order and arrangement of its ICs.

A mere change in the order of bases with the same lexical meanings brings about a drastic change in the lexical meaning of the compound or destroys it altogether. As an illustration let us compare life-boat — ‘a boat of special construction for saving lives from wrecks or along the coast’ with boat-life — ‘life on board the ship’; a fruit-market — ‘market where fruit is sold’ with market-fruit — ‘fruit designed for selling’; board-schoolwith school-board,etc. Thus the structural or distributional pattern in compound words carries a certain meaning of its own which is largely independent of the actual lexical meaning of their ICs. It follows that the lexical meaning of a compound is derived from the combined lexical meanings of its components and the structural meaning of its distributional pattern.1

The structural meaning of the derivational pattern of compounds may be abstracted and described through the interrelation of its ICs. In analysing compound adjectives, e.g. duty-bound, wind-driven, mud-stained,we observe that their underlying pattern n+Ven conveys the generalised meaning of instrumental or agentive relations which can be interpreted as ‘done by’ or ‘with the help of something’; the lexical meanings of the bases supply the individual action performed and the actual doer of the action or objects with the help of which the action is done — duty-boundmay be interpreted as 'bound by duty’, wind-drivenas ‘driven by wind’, mud-stainedas ’stained with mud’.

The derivational patterns in compounds may be monosemantic as in the above-given examples, and polysemantic.2 If we take the pattern п+а -> A which underlies such compound adjectives as snow-white, world-wide, air-sick,we shall see that the pattern has two different meanings which may be interpreted: a) through semantic relations of comparison between the components as in world-wide — ‘wide as the world’, snow-white — ‘as white as snow’, etc. and b) through various relations of adverbial type (circumstantial) as in road-weary — ‘weary of the road’, colour-blind — ‘blind to colours’, etc. The structural pattern n+n -> N that underlies compound nouns is also polysemantic and conveys different semantic relations such as relations of purpose, e.g. bookshelf, bed-room,relations of resemblance, e.g. needle-fish, bowler-hat,instrumental or agentive relations, e.g. steamboat, windmill, sunrise, dogbite.

The polysemy of the structure often leads to a certain freedom of interpretation of the semantic relations between the components and consequently to the polysemy of the compound. For example, it is equally

1 See also ‘Word-Groups’, § 5, p. 69.

2 See also ‘Word-Groups’, § 8, p. 71.

correct to interpret the compound noun toy-manas ‘a toy having the shape of a man’ or ‘a man who makes toys, a toy-maker’, the compound clock-tower may likewise be understood as a ‘tower with a clock fitted in’ or ‘a tower that serves as or is at the same time a clock’.

§ 28. The Meaning of Compounds. Motivation

It follows that the meaning of a compound is made up of the combined lexical meaning of the bases and the structural meaning of the pattern. The semantic centre of the compound is the lexical meaning of the second component modified and restricted by the meaning of the first. The semantic centres of compounds and the semantic relations embedded in the structural patterns refer compound words to certain lexico-semantic groups and semantic sets within them as, for example: 1) compound words denoting action described as to its agent, e.g. sunrise, earthquake, handshake,2) compounds denoting action described as to its time or place, e.g. day-flight,street-fight, 3) compounds denoting individual objects designed for some goal, e.g. bird-cage, table-cloth, diving-suit,4) compounds denoting objects that are parts of the whole, e.g. shirt-collar, eye-ball, 5)compounds denoting active doers, e.g. book-reader, shoe-maker, globe-trotter.

The lexical meanings of both components are closely fused together to create a new semantic unit with a new meaning which is not merely additive but dominates the individual meanings of the bases and is characterised by some additional semantic component not found in any of the bases. For example, a hand-bagis essentially ‘a bag, designed to be carried in the hand’, but it is also ‘a woman’s bag to keep money, papers, face-powder and the like’; a time-bombis ‘a bomb designed to explode at some time’, but also ‘after being dropped or placed in position’. The bulk of compound words are monosemantic and motivated but motivation in compounds like in all derivatives varies in degree. There are compounds that are completely motivated like sky-blue, foot-pump, tea-taster.Motivation in compound words may be partia1, but again the degree will vary. Compound words a hand-bag, a flower-bed, handcuffs, a castle-builderare all only partially motivated, but still the degree of transparency of their meanings is different: in a hand-bag it is the highest as it is essentially ‘a bag’, whereas handcuffsretain only a resemblance to cuffs and in fact are ‘metal rings placed round the wrists of a prisoner’; a flower-bedis neither ‘a piece of furniture’ nor ‘a base on which smth rests’ but a ‘garden plot where flowers grow’; a castle-builder is not a ‘builder’ as the second component suggests but ‘a day-dreamer, one who builds castles in the air’.

There are compounds that lack motivation altogether, i.e. the native speaker doesn't see any obvious connection between the word-meaning, the lexical meanings of the bases and the meaning of the pattern, consequently, he cannot deduce the lexical meaning, of the word, for example, words like eye-wash — ’something said or done to deceive a person’, fiddlesticks — ‘nonsense, rubbish’, an eye-servant — ‘a servant who attends to his duty only when watched’, a night-cap — ‘a drink taken before going to bed at night’ all lack motivation. Lack of motivation in compound words may be often due to the transferred

meanings of bases or of the whole word as in a slow-coach — ‘a person who acts slowly’ (colloq.), a sweet-tooth — ‘one who likes sweet food and drink’ (colloq.). Such words often acquire a new connotational meaning (usually non-neutral) not proper to either of their components. Lack of motivation may be often due to unexpected semantic relations embedded in the compound.

Sometimes the motivated and the non-motivated meanings of the same word are so far apart that they are felt as two homonymous words, e.g. a night-cap:1) ‘a cap worn in bed at night’ and 2) ‘a drink taken before going to bed at night’ (colloq.); eye-wash:1) ‘a liquid for washing the eyes’ and 2) ’something said or done to deceive somebody’ (colloq.); an eye-opener:1) ‘enlightening or surprising circumstance’ (colloq.) and 2) ‘a drink of liquor taken early in the day’ (U.S.)

§ 29. Classification

Compound words may be described from different points of view and consequently may be classified according to different principles. They may be viewed from the point of view: 1) of general relationship and degree of semantic independence of components; 2) of the parts of speech compound words represent; 3) of the means of composition used to link the two ICs together; 4) of the type of ICs that are brought together to form a compound; 5) of the correlative relations with the system of free word-groups.

Each type of compound words based on the above-mentioned principles should also be described from the point of view of the degree of its potential power, i.e. its productivity, its relevancy to the system of Modern English compounds. This description must aim at finding and setting a system of ordered structural and semantic rules for productive types of compound words on analogy with which an infinite number of new compounds constantly appear in the language.

§ 30. Relations between the ICs of Compounds

From the point of view of degree of semantic independence there are two types of relationship between the ICs of compound words that are generally recognised in linguistic literature: the relations of coordination and subordination, and accordingly compound words fall into two classes: coordinative compounds (often termed copulative or additive) and subordinative (often termed determinative).

In coordinative compounds the two ICs are semantically equally important as in fighter-bomber oak-tree, girl-friend, Anglo-American.The constituent bases belong to the same class and most often to the same semantic group. Coordinative compounds make up a comparatively small group of words. Coordinative compounds fall into three groups:

a) Reduplicative compounds which are made up by the repetition of the same base as in goody-goody, fifty-fifty, hush-hush, pooh- pooh.They are all only partially motivated.

b) Compounds formed by joining the phonically variated rhythmic twin forms which either alliterate with the same initial consonant but vary the vowels as in chit-chat,zig-zag, sing-song,or rhyme by varying the initial consonants as in clap-trap, a walkle-

talkie, helter-skelter.This subgroup stands very much apart. It is very often referred to pseudo-compounds and considered by some linguists irrelevant to productive word-formation owing to the doubtful morphemic status of their components. The constituent members of compound words of this subgroup are in most cases unique, carry very vague or no lexical meaning of their own, are not found as stems of independently functioning words. They are motivated mainly through the rhythmic doubling of fanciful sound-clusters.

Coordinative compounds of both subgroups (a, b) are mostly restricted to the colloquial layer, are marked by a heavy emotive charge and possess a very small degree of productivity.

c) The bases of a d d i t i v e compounds such as” a queen-bee, an actor-manager,unlike the compound words of the first two subgroups, are built on stems of the independently functioning words of the same part of speech. These bases often semantically stand in the genus-species relations. They denote a person or an object that is two things at the same time. A secretary-stenographeris thus a person who is both a stenographerand a secretary, a bed-sitting-room (a bed-sitter)is both a bed-roomand a sitting-roomat the same time. Among additive compounds there is a specific subgroup of compound adjectives one of ICs of which is a bound root-morpheme. This group is limited to the names of nationalities such as Sino-Japanese, Anglo-Saxon, Afro-Asian,etc.

Additive compounds of this group are mostly fully motivated but have a very limited degree of productivity.

However it must be stressed that though the distinction between coordinative and subordinative compounds is generally made, it is open to doubt and there is no hard and fast border-line between them. On the contrary, the border-line is rather vague. It often happens that one and the same compound may with equal right be interpreted either way — as a coordinative or a subordinative compound, e.g. a woman-doctormay be understood as ‘a woman who is at the same time a doctor’ or there can be traced a difference of importance between the components and it may be primarily felt to be ‘a doctor who happens to be a woman’, cf. also a mother-goose, a clock-tower.

In subordinative compounds the components are neither structurally nor semantically equal in importance but are based on the domination of the head-member which is, as a rule, the second IC. The second IC thus is the semantically and grammatically dominant part of the word, which preconditions the part-of-speech meaning of the whole compound as in stone-deaf, age-longwhich are obviously adjectives, a wrist-watch, road-building, a baby-sitterwhich are nouns.

Subordinative compounds make the bulk of Modern English compound words, as to productivity most of the productive types are subordinative compounds.

§31. Different Parts of Speech

Functionally compounds are viewed as words of different parts of speech. It is the head-member of the compound, i.e. its second IC that is indicative of the grammatical and lexical category the compound word belongs to.

Compound words are found in all parts of speech, but the bulk of compounds are nouns and adjectives. Each part of speech is characterised by its set of derivational patterns and their semantic variants. Compound adverbs, pronouns and connectives are represented by an insignificant number of words, e.g. somewhere, somebody, inside, upright, otherwise, moreover, elsewhere, by means of,etc. No new compounds are coined on this pattern. Compound pronouns and adverbs built on the repeating first and second IC like body, ever, thingmake closed sets of words


some any every no } + } body thing one where

On the whole composition is not productive either for adverbs, pronouns or for connectives.

Verbs are of special interest. There is a small group of compound verbs made up of the combination of verbal and adverbial stems that language retains from earlier stages, e.g. to bypass, to inlay, to offset.This type according to some authors, is no longer productive and is rarely found in new compounds.

There are many polymorphic verbs that are represented by morphemic sequences of two root-morphemes, like to weekend, to gooseflesh, to spring-clean,but derivationally they are all words of secondary derivation in which the existing compound nouns only serve as bases for derivation. They are often termed pseudo-compound verbs. Such polymorphic verbs are presented by two groups:

1) verbs formed by means of conversion from the stems of compound nouns as in to spotlightfrom a spotlight, to sidetrackfrom a side-track, to handcufffrom handcuffs, to blacklistfrom a blacklist, to pinpointfrom a pin-point;

2) verbs formed by back-derivation from the stems of compound nouns, e.g. to babysitfrom a baby-sitter, to playactfrom play-acting, to housekeepfrom house-keeping, to spring-cleanfrom spring-cleaning.

§ 32. Means of Composition

From the point of view of the means by which the components are joined together compound words may be classified into:

1) Words formed by merely placing one constituent after another in a definite order which thus is indicative of both the semantic value and the morphological unity of the compound, e.g. rain-driven, house-dog, pot-pie (cf. dog-house, pie-pot).This means of linking the components is typical of the majority of Modern English compounds in all parts of speech.

As to the order of components, subordinative compounds are often classified as: a) asуntасtiс compound in which the order of bases runs counter to the order in which the motivating words can be brought together under the rules of syntax of the language. For example, in variable phrases adjectives cannot be modified by preceding adjectives and noun modifiers are not placed before participles or adjectives, yet this kind of asyntactic arrangement is typical of compounds, e.g. red-hot,

bluish-black, pale-blue, rain-driven, oil-rich.The asyntactic order is typical of the majority of Modern English compound words; b) syntactic compounds whose components are placed in the order that resembles the order of words” in free phrases arranged according to the rules of syntax of Modern English. The order of the components in compounds like blue-bell, mad-doctor, blacklist(a+n) reminds one of the order and arrangement of the corresponding words in phrases a blue bell, a mad doctor, a black list(A+N), the order of compounds of the type door-handle, day-time, spring-lock(n+n) resembles the order of words in nominal phrases with attributive function of the first noun (N+N), e.g. spring time, stone steps, peace movement.

2) Compound words whose ICs are joined together with a special linking-element — the linking vowels [ou] and occasionally [i] and the linking consonant [s/z] — which is indicative of composition as in, e.g., speedometer, tragicomic, statesman.Compounds of this type can be both nouns and adjectives, subordinative and additive but are rather few in number since they are considerably restricted by the nature of their components. The additive compound adjectives linked with the help of the vowel [ou] are limited to the names of nationalities and represent a specific group with a bound root for the first component, e.g. Sino-Japanese, Afro-Asian, Anglo-Saxon.

In subordinative adjectives and nouns the productive linking element is also [ou] and compound words of the type are most productive for scientific terms. The main peculiarity of compounds of the type is that their constituents are nonassimilated bound roots borrowed mainly from classical languages, e.g. electro-dynamic, filmography, technophobia, videophone, sociolinguistics, videodisc.

A small group of compound nouns may also be joined with the help of linking consonant [s/z], as in sportsman, landsman, saleswoman, bridesmaid.This small group of words is restricted by the second component which is, as a rule, one of the three bases man-, woman-, people-.The commonest of them is man-.1

§ 33. Types of Bases

Compounds may be also classified according to the nature of the bases and the interconnection with other ways of word-formation into the so-called compounds proper and’ derivational compounds.

Compounds proper are formed by joining together bases built on the stems or on the word-forms of independently functioning words with or without the help of special linking element such as doorstep, age-long, baby-sitter, looking-glass, street-fighting, handiwork, sportsman.Compounds proper constitute the bulk of English compounds in all parts of speech, they include both subordinative and coordinative classes, productive and non-productive patterns.

Derivational compounds, e.g. long-legged, three-cornered, a break-down, a pickpocketdiffer from compounds proper in the nature of bases and their second IC. The two ICs of the compound long-legged — ‘having long legs' — are the suffix -edmeaning ‘having'

1 See ‘Word-Structure’, § 3, p. 92,

and the base built on a free word-group long legswhose member words lose their grammatical independence, and are reduced to a single component of the word, a derivational base. Any other segmentation of such words, say into long- and legged-is impossible because firstly, adjectives like *leggeddo not exist in Modern English and secondly, because it would contradict the lexical meaning of these words. The derivational adjectival suffix -edconverts this newly formed base into a word. It can be graphically represented as long legs —> [(long-leg) +-ed] -> long-legged.The suffix -edbecomes the grammatically and semantically dominant component of the word, its head-member. It imparts its part-of-speech meaning and its lexical meaning thus making an adjective that may be semantically interpreted as ‘with (or having) what is denoted by the motivating word-group’. Comparison of the pattern of compounds proper like baby-sitter, pen-holder[n+(v + -er)] with the pattern of derivational compounds like long-legged[(a+n) + -ed] reveals the difference: derivational compounds are formed by a derivational means, a suffix in case of words of the long-leggedtype, which is applied to a base that each time is formed anew on a free word-group and is not recurrent in any other type of words. It follows that strictly speaking words of this type should be treated as pseudo-compounds or as a special group of derivatives. They are habitually referred to derivational compounds because of the peculiarity of their derivational bases which are felt as built by composition, i.e. by bringing together the stems of the member-words of a phrase which lose their independence in the process. The word itself, e.g. long-legged,is built by the application of the suffix, i.e. by derivation and thus may be described as a suffixal derivative.

Derivational compounds or pseudo-compounds are all subordinative and fall into two groups according to the type of variable phrases that serve as their bases and the derivational means used:

Последнее изменение этой страницы: 2016-04-19; Нарушение авторского права страницы

infopedia.su не принадлежат авторские права, размещенных материалов. Все права принадлежать их авторам. Обратная связь