Compounds or Phrases? Pattern Borrowing from English into Georgian

  • Nino AmiridzeEmail author
  • Rusudan Asatiani
  • Zurab Baratashvili
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11456)


In this paper we investigate a case of borrowing of English noun-noun (nn) constructs into Georgian. The phenomenon has been observed lately in Georgian in sequences of two nouns, where the first noun, always marked by nominative, represents the dependent noun and the second is the head of the construct.

In English, nn constructs can potentially be analyzed as phrases or compounds. There have been no tests developed for Georgian so far that would help to decide the status of such sequences. We try to address this problem and propose several phonological, morphological, syntactic, and semantic criteria to distinguish compounds from phrases in nn constructs. The tests indicate that the borrowed pattern represents compounds in Georgian. This result raises some interesting research questions about category change in pattern borrowing.


Language contact Noun-noun construct Compounds Phrases Georgian English 



We would like to thank Alice C. Harris and the anonymous reviewers for helpful suggestions, and the editors for their support in the preparation of the final version of the paper. This work has been supported by the Shota Rustaveli National Science Foundation under the project 217500.


  1. 1.
    Amaghlobeli, N.: Language contacts in Georgian internet forums. STUF Lang. Typol. Universals 68(1), 107–121 (2015)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Amiridze, N.: Accommodating loan verbs in Georgian: Observations and questions. J. Pragmatics 133, 150–165 (2018)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bauer, L., Lieber, R., Plag, I.: The Oxford Reference Guide to English Morphology. Oxford University Press, Oxford (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bauer, L.: When is a sequence of two nouns a compound in English? Engl. Lang. Linguist. 2(1), 65–86 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bell, M.J.: The English noun-noun construct: A morphological and syntactic object. In: Ralli, A., Booij, G., Scalise, S., Karasimos, A. (eds.) On-line Proceedings of the Eighth Mediterranean Morphology Meeting (MMM8), pp. 59–91 (2012)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Borise, L., Zientarski, X.: Word stress and phrase accent in Georgian. In: Proceedings of Tonal Aspects of Languages (TAL), vol. 6 (2018)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Butskhrikidze, M.: On the word level accentuation in Georgian. Presentation at The South Caucasian Chalk Circle, Paris, 24 September 2016Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Giegerich, H.J.: Compound or phrase? English noun-plus-noun constructions and the stress criterion. Engl. Lang. Linguist. 8, 1–24 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Haspelmath, M., Sims, A.D.: Understanding Morphology. Understanding Language Series, 2nd edn. Hodder Education, London (2010)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Hewitt, B.G.: Georgian: A Structural Reference Grammar, London Oriental and African Language Library, vol. 2. John Benjamins, Amsterdam/Philadelphia (1995)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Karlsson, F.: Finnish: An Essential Grammar. Understanding Language Series. Routledge, London and New York (1999)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Laalo, K.: Acquisition of compound nouns in Finnish. In: Dressler, W.U., Ketrez, F.N., Kilani-Schoch, M. (eds.) Nominal Compound Acquisition, pp. 191–207 (2017). Language Acquisition and Language Disorders 61, John Benjamins, Amsterdam/PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Lewis, G.L.: Turkish Grammar, 2nd edn. Oxford University Press, Oxford (2000)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Matras, Y., Sakel, J.: Introduction. In: Matras, Y., Sakel, J. (eds.) Grammatical Borrowing in Cross-Linguistic Perspective, pp. 1–13. Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin and New York (2007)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Matras, Y., Sakel, J.: Investigating the mechanisms of pattern replication in language convergence. Stud. Lang. 31(4), 829–865 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Newman, P.: The Hausa Language: An Encyclopedic Reference Grammar. Yale University Press, New Haven (2000)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Sakel, J.: Types of loan: Matter and pattern. In: Matras, Y., Sakel, J. (eds.) Grammatical Borrowing in Cross-Linguistic Perspective, pp. 15–29. Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin and New York (2007)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Shanidze, A.: Foundations of Georgian Grammar, I, Morphology, 2nd edn. Tbilisi University Press, Tbilisi (1973). (In Georgian)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Skopeteas, S., Féry, C.: Focus and intonation in Georgian: constituent structure and prosodic realization (2016).
  20. 20.
    Thomason, S.G.: Language Contact. An Introduction. Georgetown University Press, Washington (2001)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Thomason, S.G., Kaufman, T.: Language Contact, Creolization, and Genetic Linguistics. University of California Press, Berkeley, Los Angeles and London (1988)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Zhgenti, S.M.: The Rhythmical-Melodic Structure of Georgian. Codna, Tbilisi (1963). (In Georgian)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nino Amiridze
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rusudan Asatiani
    • 1
  • Zurab Baratashvili
    • 1
  1. 1.Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State UniversityTbilisiGeorgia

Personalised recommendations