Compound words and their classification


Compounds are words produced by combining two or more stems which occur in the language as free forms. They may be classified proceeding from different criteria:

according to the parts of speech to which they belong;

according to the means of composition used to link their ICs together;

according to the structure of their ICs;

according to their semantic characteristics.

Most compounds in Modern English belong to nouns and adjectives. Compound verbs are less frequent; they are often made through conversion  (N ->  V  pattern).  Compound  adverbs,  pronouns, conjunctions and prepositions are rather rare. The classification of compounds according to the means of joining their

IC’s together distinguishes between the following structural types:

juxtapositional (neutral) compounds whose ICs are merely placed
one after another: classroom, timetable, heartache, whitewash,
hunting-knife, weekend, grey-green, <deep-blue,  H-bomb, U-turn,
etc.;

morphological compounds whose ICs are joined together with a
vowel or a consonant as a linking element, e.g.: gasometer, handicraft, electromotive, Anglo-Saxon, sportsman, saleswoman, etc.;

syntactic compounds (integrated phrases) which are the result of the
process of semantic isolation and structural integration of free word-
groups, e.g.: blackboard (<black board), highway (<high way), forget-
me-not, bull’s-eye, up-to-date, son-in-law, go-between, know-all, etc.
The classification according to the structure of immediate constituents
(составляющие):

compounds, consisting of simple stems: film-star;

compounds, where at least one of the constituents is a derived stem: chain-smoker;

compounds, where at least one of the constituents is a clipped stem: math-mistress. The subgroup will contain abbreviations like: H-bag (handbag), Xmas (Christmas).

Compounds, where at least one of the constituents is a compound stem: wastepaper-basket.



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