9 May




Workshop: The Semantics of Compounding

Date: 25-Jul-2013 – 25-Jul-2013
Location: Geneva, Switzerland
Meeting URL:

Linguistic Field(s): Morphology; Semantics

Meeting Description:

For a long period following the demise of generative semantics, the study of the semantics of compounding was relegated to the domain of unfruitful research questions. For many linguists in the 1980s, Levi’s (1978) framework for deriving compounds served as an example of how not to do morphology. Research interest was restricted to verbal compounds, which could be studied in terms of argument structure and thus reduced to a quasi-syntactic status. For so-called root compounds, Allen’s (1978) Variable R condition was deemed sufficient.

In recent years, a renewed interest in the semantics of compounds has emerged. At least three major approaches can be observed. Jackendoff (2009, 2010) proposed a system for generating conceptual structures for compounds within his Parallel Architecture. His interest in compounding is fairly recent and he developed his framework largely independently of the needs of morphology. Slightly earlier, Lieber (2004, 2009) had developed a system that is inspired on one hand by Jackendoff’s theory of conceptual structure, on the other by her own long-term research in morphology, which in earlier stages had been mainly oriented towards syntax-based accounts, cf. Lieber (1983). Parallel to these developments in generative linguistics, in Central and Eastern Europe an alternative tradition based on the onomasiological approach to meaning had persisted. This tradition is represented by, for instance, Štekauer (1998). In this tradition, naming needs are taken to drive word formation. Interestingly, in recent years, this tradition has increasingly taken into account the hearer’s perspective, as illustrated by Štekauer (2009), which brings about a certain degree of convergence in aims with the generative approaches.

The purpose of this workshop is to bring together representatives of the three above-mentioned approaches. At the same time, it should be noted that all three theories were developed first of all for English. Therefore, there is a specific interest in broadening the set of linguistic data taken into account by considering compounding in other languages.

Programme of the Workshop The Semantics of Compounding

Session 1, 10:30-12:30 Chair: Pius ten Hacken

10:30 Jackendoff, Ray, Tufts University, Medford MA, Compounding in the Parallel Architecture
11:10 Lieber, Rochelle, University of New Hampshire, Durham NH, Compounding and Lexical Semantics
11:50 Štekauer, Pavol, P.J. Šafárik University, Košice, Compounding and onomasiological types

Session 2, 14:00-16:00 Chair: Zoe Gavriilidou

14:00 Arnaud, Pierre, Université Lumière, Lyon, A fine-grained semasiological classification of modification relations in French relational subordinative [NN]N compounds (timbre-poste)
14:30 DeCesaris, Janet, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Delimiting noun-noun compounds in Spanish
15:00 Mellenius, Ingmarie & Rosenberg, Maria, Umeå University, The Semantics of Compounds in Swedish Child Language
15:30 Scholz, Cosima, Freie Universität Berlin, Exocentric compounding in the Parallel Architecture

Session 3, 16:30-18:30 Chair: Janet DeCesaris

16:30 Panocová, Renáta, P.J. Šafárik University, Košice, In what sense are neoclassical compounds really compounds?
17:00 Gavriilidou, Zoe, Democritus University of Thrace, Komotini, The semantics of NN combinations in Greek
17:30 Trips, Carola, Universität Mannheim, An analysis of phrasal compounds in the model of Parallel Architecture
18:00 ten Hacken, Pius, Swansea University, A comparison of three analyses of selected compound types



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