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Modes of compounding in Bantu, Romance and Chinese

Basciano, B and Kula, NC and Melloni, C (2011) 'Modes of compounding in Bantu, Romance and Chinese.' Italian Journal of Linguistics, 23 (2). 203 - 249. ISSN 1120-2726

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Abstract

This article presents a cross-linguistic survey of endocentric root NN and exocentric VN compounds in a set of typologically and historically unrelated languages, with a special focus on Bemba (Bantu), Italian (Romance) and Mandarin Chinese. The aim of the paper is twofold. From an empirical viewpoint, we intend to offer a contrastive analysis of comparable phenomena in a word-formation domain which has been neglected, especially in Bemba and to a lesser extent in Romance. Our study uncovers striking similarities between Bantu and Romance, hence reinforcing a connection independently established in other morpho-syntactic domains. Conversely, Mandarin strongly contrasts with Bantu and Romance and has more affinities with Germanic languages, in particular in the formation of NN compounds. From a theoretical perspective, the overall picture of compounding emerging from our descriptive account strongly challenges a ?protolinguistic? (or syntax-free) view of these phenomena (contra Jackendoff and Progovac). Our cross-linguistic study reveals a number of empirical facts pointing to an underlying ?syntax? of compounding both in the domain of NN and VN compounds, and shows that such underlying morpho-syntactic principles can be held responsible for the range of variation attested among these languages.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PC Romance languages
P Language and Literature > PI Oriental languages and literatures
P Language and Literature > PL Languages and literatures of Eastern Asia, Africa, Oceania
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Language and Linguistics, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2013 15:33
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2017 18:00
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/6023

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