A Frame Approach to Metonymical Processes in Some Common Types of German Word Formation

  • Daniel SchulzekEmail author
Part of the Studies in Linguistics and Philosophy book series (SLAP, volume 94)


Langacker (1987, 2008) defines metonymies as conceptual shifts within a domain or domain matrix. However, there are several cases in which metonymical shifts between conceptual entities that belong to the same domain are not possible. Thus, in this paper a more restrictive definition of metonymy is developed on the basis of frames, understood as recursive attribute-value structures. It is claimed that metonymies can be explained by a simple frame transformation requiring a necessary condition that I refer to as bidirectional functionality. This assumption is confirmed by an analysis of metonymical processes in various common types of word formation in German, including possessive compounds, -er nominalizations, and synthetic compounds. Furthermore, bidirectional functionality seems to underlie a sub-class of nominal compounds I suggest calling “frame compounds”.


Frames Concept types Metonymy Word formation 



I would like to thank Sebastian Löbner, Anselm Terhalle, Nicolas Kimm, and Tanja Osswald for discussion and helpful comments. Furthermore, I would like to thank Mattis List and Carina Fueller for proofreading this paper. I am also grateful to the two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Linguistics and Information ScienceHeinrich Heine University DüsseldorfDüsseldorfGermany

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