Словосложение в английском языке. Классификация сложных слов
Compounding or word-composition is one of the productive types of word-formation in Modern English. Composition like all other ways of deriving words has its own peculiarities as to the means used, the nature of bases and their distribution, as to the range of application, the scope of semantic classes and the factors conducive to productivity.
Compounds, as has been mentioned elsewhere, are made up of two ICs which are both derivational bases. Compound words are inseparable vocabulary units. They are formally and semantically dependent on the constituent bases and the semantic relations between them which mirror the relations between the motivating units. The ICs of compound words represent bases of all three structural types. The bases built on stems may be of different degree of complexity as, e.g., week-end, office-management, postage-stamp, aircraft-carrier, fancy-dress-maker, etc. However, this complexity of structure of bases is not typical of the bulk of Modern English compounds. In this connection care should be taken not to confuse compound words with polymorphic words of secondary derivation, i.e. derivatives built according to an affixal pattern but on a compound stem for its base such as, e.g., school-mastership ([n+n]+suf), ex-housewife(prf+[n+n]), to weekend, to spotlight ([n+n]+conversion).
Within the class of compound nouns we distinguish
1. endосentriс compounds
2. exocentric compounds.
In endocentric nouns the referent is named by one of the elements and given a further characteristic by the other. In exocentric nouns only the combination of both elements names the referent. A further subdivision takes into account the character of stems.
§ The sunbeam type. A noun stem is determined by another noun stem. This is a most productive type, the number of examples being practically unlimited.
§ The maidservant type also consists of noun stems but the relationship between the elements is different. Maidservant is an appositional compound. The second element is notionally dominant.
§ The looking-glass type shows a combination of a derived verbal stem with a noun stem.
§ The searchlight type consisting of a verbal stem and a noun stem is of a comparatively recent origin.
In exocentric compounds the referent is not named. The type scarecrow denotes the agent (a person or a thing) who or which performs the action named by the combination of the stems. In the case of scarecrow, it is a person or a thing employed in scaring birds. The type consists of a verbal stem followed by a noun stem. The personal nouns of this type are as a rule imaginative and often contemptuous: cut-throat, daredevil ‘a reckless person’, ‘a murderer’, lickspittle‘a toady’, ‘a flatterer’, pickpocket ‘a thief, turncoat ‘a renegade’.
A very productive and numerous group are nouns derived from verbs with postpositives, or more rarely with adverbs. This type consists chiefly of impersonal deverbal nouns denoting some action or specific instance. Examples: blackout ‘a period of complete darkness’ (for example, when all the electric lights go out on the stage of the theatre, or when all lights in a city are covered as a precaution against air raids); also ‘a temporary loss of consciousness’; breakdown ‘a stoppage through accident’, ‘a nervous collapse’; hangover ‘an unpleasant after-effect’ (especially after drink); make-up, a polysemantic compound which may mean, for example, ‘the way anything is arranged’, ‘one’s mental qualities’, ‘cosmetics’; take-off, also polysemantic: ‘caricature’, ‘the beginning of a flight’, etc. Compare also: I could just imagine the brush-off he’d had (Wain). Some more examples: comedown, drawback, drop-out, feedback, frame-up, knockout, set-back, shake-up, splash-down, take-in, teach-in, etc.
The group of bahuvrihi compound nouns is not very numerous. The term bahuvrihi is borrowed from the grammarians of ancient India. Its literal meaning is ‘much-riced’. It is used to designate possessive exocentric formations in which a person, animal or thing are metonymically named after some striking feature they possess, chiefly a striking feature in their appearance. This feature is in its turn expressed by the sum of the meanings of the compound’s immediate constituents. The formula of the bahuvrihi compound nouns is adjective stem + noun stem. The following extract will illustrate the way bahuvrihi compounds may be coined: I got discouraged with sitting all day in the backroom of a police station with six assorted women and a man with a wooden leg. At the end of a week, we all knew each other’s life histories, including that of the woodenleg’s uncle, who lived at Selsey and had to be careful of his diet (M. Dickens). Semantically the bahuvrihi are almost invariably characterised by a deprecative ironical emotional tone. Cf. bigwig ‘a person of importance’, black-shirt ‘an Italian fascist’ (also, by analogy, any fascist), fathead ‘a dull, stupid person’, greenhorn ‘an ignoramus’, highbrow ‘a person who claims to be superior in intellect and culture’, lazy-bones‘a lazy person’.
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