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Exocentric compounds

Abstract

The notion of an exocentricity is explored, and some of the problems with it are mentioned. A range of exocentric types from a number of languages are introduced, and classified into a small number of major groups. Given that exocentric compounds are fundamentally defined by not being endocentric, rather than by having something in common, this cross-linguistic agreement is surprising. It is argued that there is always an analysis for such apparently exocentric compounds which does not involve invoking exocentricity, but involves a figurative reading—just not a consistent figurative reading across all types. It is suggested that exocentric compounding may not provide a productive means of word-formation, even if new exocentric compounds are arising.

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Correspondence to Laurie Bauer.

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Bauer, L. Exocentric compounds. Morphology 18, 51–74 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11525-008-9122-5

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Keywords

  • Compound
  • Exocentric
  • Synecdoche
  • Metaphor
  • Typology
  • Conversion
  • Synthetic