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Productivity in English Word-formation

An approach to N+N compounding


Jesus Fernandez-Dominguéz

This book is a contribution to the study of morphological productivity, that is, the property of word-formation processes whereby new words are created to satisfy a naming need. It presents an up-to-date picture of this phenomenon, characterising its major attributes and addressing neighbouring theoretical concepts like availability, profitability or lexicalisation. Links are also established between those notions and N+N compounding, a word-formation process regarded as very productive but traditionally overlooked in studies of this type. Unlike other productivity surveys, mostly directed at affixation, a corpus of N+N compounds is here compiled to which the mainstream models of productivity are applied. This allows to detect the pros and cons of those proposals and to propose a model of productivity. Two measures, Indicator of Profitability (π) and Trend of Profitability (Π), are introduced which can be applied across word-formation processes and are able to compute their productivity based on semantic categories.
Contents: What is a Compound?: Major Features - Classical Standpoints - Noun Compounds in Contemporary English - The Boundary between Morphology and Syntax – What is Morphological Productivity?: Word-formation - Rudiments - Factors Influencing Productivity - Gradation – Morphological Productivity Measurement: Productivity as Analysable Words - Productivity as Potentiality - Štekauer: the Onomasiological Approach - Neologism-based counts - Relative Frequency and Phonotactics - A Model for Profitability.