Compounding in Modern Greek

Volume 2 of the series Studies in Morphology pp 221-241


Compounding Versus Derivation and Inflection

  • Angela RalliAffiliated withDepartment of Philology, University of Patras Email author 


The relation of compounding with derivation on the one hand and inflection on the other has been a challenging topic with consequences for the architecture of grammar. In Chap. 11, it is proposed that there is no radical separation line between derivation and compounding, and thus, if derivation is to be treated within morphology, compounding should not be excluded from its domain. The proposal is illustrated with evidence drawn from the order of application between compounding and derivation and the existence of items, the so-called affixoids, whose categorial status – stems or affixes – is unclear. With respect to inflection, it is shown that Greek compounds are actively inflected at their right edge. However, cases with a non-active compound-internal inflection are not absent in Greek. They belong to an Ancient Greek pattern and constitute fossilised formations. Finally, by investigating [stem-stem] and [stem-word] structures, it is shown that inflection may occur before or after compounding. As a consequence, one may safely assume that the two processes should be handled within the same grammatical component, that is, morphology.