As English compounds consist of free forms, it is difficult to distinguish them from phrases. Separating compounds from phrases and also from derivatives is no easy task, and scholars are not agreed upon the question of relevant criteria. The following is a brief review of various solutions and various combinations of criteria that have been offered.
The problem is naturally reducible to the problem of defining word boundaries in the language. It seems appropriate to quote E. Nida who writes that “the criteria for determining the word-units in a language are of three types:
No one type of criteria is normally sufficient for establishing the word-unit. Rather the combination of two or three types is essential."
E. Nida does not mention the graphic criterion of solid or hyphenated spelling. This underestimation of written language seems to be a mistake. For the present-day literary language, the written form is as important as the oral. If we accept the definition of a written word as the part of the text from blank to blank, we shall have to accept the graphic criterion as a logical consequence. It may be argued, however, that there is no consistency in English spelling in this respect. With different dictionaries and different authors and sometimes even with the same author the spelling varies, so that the same unit may exist in a solid spelling: headmaster, loudspeaker, with a hyphen: head-master, loud-speaker and with a break between the components: head master, loud speaker. Yet if we take into consideration the comparative frequency of solid or hyphenated spelling of the combinations in question, the criterion is fairly reliable. These three types of spelling need not indicate different degrees of semantic fusion. Sometimes hyphenation may serve aesthetic purposes, helping to avoid words that will look too long, or purposes of convenience, making syntactic components clearer to the eye: peace-loving nations, old-fashioned ideas.
This lack of uniformity in spelling is the chief reason why many authors consider this criterion insufficient. Some combine it with the phonic criterion of stress. There is a marked tendency in English to give compounds a heavy stress on the first element. Many scholars consider this unity of stress to be of primary importance.
It is true that all compound nouns, with very few exceptions, are stressed on this pattern. Cf. ‘blackboard : : ‘blackboard’, ‘blackbird : : ‘black'bird; ‘bluebottle : : ‘blue'bottle. The only exception as far as compound nouns are concerned is found in nouns whose first elements are all- and self-, e. g. ‘All-'Fools-Day, ‘self-con'trol. These show double even stress.
The rule does not hold with adjectives. Compound adjectives are double stressed like ‘gray-'green, ‘easy-'going, ‘new-'born. Only compound adjectives expressing emphatic comparison are heavily stressed on the first element: ‘snow-white, ‘dog-cheap.
Moreover, stress can be of no help in solving this problem because word-stress may depend upon phrasal stress or upon the syntactic function of the compound.
Besides, the stress may be phonological and help to differentiate the meaning of compounds:
'overwork ‘extra work'
'over'work ‘hard work injuring one’s health'
'bookcase ‘a piece of furniture with shelves for books'
'book'case ‘a paper cover for books'
'man'kind ‘the human race'
'mankind ‘men’ (contrasted with women)
'toy,factory ‘factory that produces toys'
'toy'factory ‘factory that is a toy’.
It thus follows that phonological criterion holds for certain types of words only.
H. Paul, O. Jespersen, E. Kruisinga and many others, each in his own way, advocate the semantic criterion, and define a compound as a combination forming a unit expressing a single idea which is not identical in meaning to the sum of the meanings of its components in a free phrase. From this point of view dirty workwith the figurative meaning ‘dishonorable proceedings’ is a compound, while clean work or dry work are phrases. Сf. fusspot, slow-coach. The insufficiency of this criterion will be readily understood if one realises how difficult it is to decide whether the combination in question expresses a single integrated idea. Besides, between a clearly motivated compound and an idiomatic one there are a great number of intermediate cases.
As to morphological criteria of compounds, they are manifold. Prof. A. I. Smirnitsky introduced the criterion of formal integrity.2 He compares the compound shipwreck and the phrase (the) wreck of (a) ship comprising the same morphemes, and points out that although they do not differ either in meaning or reference, they stand in very different relation to the grammatical system of the language. It follows from his example that a word is characterised by structural integrity non-existent in a phrase. Unfortunately, however, in the English language the number of cases when this criterion is relevant is limited due to the scarcity of morphological means.
“A Grammar of Contemporary English” lists a considerable number of patterns in which plural number present in the correlated phrase is neutralised in a compound. Taxpayer is one who pays taxes, cigar smoker is one who smokes cigars, window-cleaner is one who cleans windows, lip-read is to read the lips. The plural of still-life (a term of painting) is still-lifes and not still lives. But such examples are few. It cannot be overemphasised that giving a mere description of some lexicological phenomenon is not enough; one must state the position of the linguistic form discussed in the system of the language, i.e. the relative importance of the type. Therefore the criterion of structural integrity is also insufficient.
The same is true as regards connective elements which ensure the integrity. The presence of such an element leaves no doubt that the combination is a compound but the number of compounds containing connective elements is relatively insignificant. These elements are few even in languages morphologically richer than English. In our case they are -s- (craftsman), -o- (Anglo-Saxon), -i- (handiwork).
Diachronically speaking, the type craftsman is due either to the old Genitive (guardsman, kinsman, kinswoman, sportsman, statesman, tradesman, tradeswoman, tradesfolk, tradespeople) or to the plural form.
It has already been pointed out that the additive (copulative) compounds of the type Anglo-Saxon are rare, except in special political or technical literature.
Sometimes it is the structural formula of the combination that shows it to be a word and not a phrase. E. g. starlit cannot be a phrase because its second element is the stem of a participle and a participle cannot be syntactically modified by a noun. Besides the meaning of the first element implies plurality which should have been expressed in a phrase. Thus, the word starlit is equivalent to the phrase lit by stars.
To some authors the syntactical criterion based on comparing the compound and the phrase comprising the same morphemes seems to be the most promising. L. Bloomfield points out that “the word black in the phrase black birds can be modified by very (very black birds) but not so the compound-member black inblackbirds." This argument, however, does not permit the distinguishing of compounds from set expressions any more than in the case of the semantic criterion: the first element of black market or black list (of persons under suspicion) cannot be modified by very either.
This objection holds true for the argument of indivisibility advanced by B. Bloch and G. Trager who point out that we cannot insert any word between the elements of the compound blackbird. The same example black market serves H. Marchand to prove the insufficiency of this criterion. Black market is indivisible and yet the stress pattern shows it is a phrase. Some transformational procedures that have been offered may also prove helpful. The gist of these is as follows. A phrase like a stone wall can be transformed into the phrase a wall of stone, whereas a toothpick cannot be replaced by a pick for teeth. It is true that this impossibility of transformation proves the structural integrity of the word as compared with the phrase, yet the procedure works only for idiomatic compounds, whereas those that are distinctly motivated permit the transformation readily enough:
That is why we shall repeat with E. Nida that no one type of criteria is normally sufficient for establishing whether the unit is a compound or a phrase, and for ensuring isolation of word from phrase. In the majority of cases we have to depend on the combination of two or more types of criteria (phonological, morphological, syntactic or graphical). But even then the ground is not very safe and the path of investigation inevitably leads us to the intricate labyrinth of “the stone wall problem” that has received so much attention in linguistic literature.
Сокращение как один из продуктивных словообразования в современном английском языке. Различные типы сокращений
Distinction should be made between shortening which results in new lexical items and a specific type of shortening proper only to written speech resulting in numerous graphical abbreviations which are only signs representing words and word-groups of high frequency of occurrence in various spheres of human activity as for in-stance, RD for Road and St for Street in addresses on envelopes and in letters; tu for tube, aer for aerial in Radio Engineering literature, etc. English graphical abbreviations include rather numerous shortened variants of Latin and French words and word-groups, e.g.: i.e. (L. id est) — ‘that is’; R.S.V.P.(Fr. — Repondez s'il vous plait) — ‘reply please’, etc.
Graphical abbreviations are restricted in use to written speech, occurring only in various kinds of texts, articles, books, advertisements, letters, etc. In reading, many of them are substituted by the words and phrases that they represent, e.g. Dr. = doctor, Mr.=mister, Oct.= October, etc.; the abbreviations of Latin and French words and phrases are usually read as their English equivalents. It follows that graphical abbreviations cannot be considered new lexical vocabulary units.
It is only natural that in the course of language development some graphical abbreviations should gradually penetrate into the sphere of oral intercourse and, as a result, turn into self-contained lexical units used both in oral and written speech. That is the case, for instance, with a.m. ['ei'em] — ‘in the morning, before noon’; p.m. ['pi:'em] — ‘in the afternoon’; S.O.S. ['es ‘ou ‘es] (=Save Our Souls) — ‘urgent call for help’, etc.
1. Transformations of word-groups into words involve different types of lexical shortening: ellipsis or substantivisation, initial letter or syllable abbreviations (also referred to as acronyms), blendings, etc.
Substantivisation consists in dropping of the final nominal member of a frequently used attributive word-group. When such a member of the word-group is dropped as, for example, was the case with a documentary film the remaining adjective takes on the meaning and all the syntactic functions of the noun and thus develops into a new word changing its class membership and becoming homonymous to the existing adjective. It may be illustrated by a number of nouns that appeared in this way, e.g. an incendiary goes back to an incendiary bomb, the finals to the final examinations, an editorial to an editorial article, etc. Other more recent creations are an orbital (Br. ‘a highway going around the suburbs of a city’), a verbal (‘a verbal confession introduced as evidence at a trial’), a topless which goes to three different word-groups and accordingly has three meanings: 1) a topless dress, bathing suit, etc., 2) a waitress, dancer, etc. wearing topless garments, 3) a bar, night-club featuring topless waitresses or performers. Substantivisation is often accompanied by productive suffixation as in, e.g., a one-winger from one-wing plane, a two-decker from two-deck bus or ship; it may be accompanied by clipping and productive suffixation, e.g. flickers(coll.) from flicking pictures, a smoker from smoking carriage, etc.
Acronyms and letter abbreviations are lexical abbreviations of a phrase. There are different types of such abbreviations and there is no unanimity of opinion among scholars whether all of them can be regarded as regular vocabulary units. It seems logical to make distinction between acronyms and letter abbreviations. Letter abbreviations are mere replacements of longer phrases including names of well-known organisations of undeniable currency, names of agencies and institutions, political parties, famous people, names of official offices, etc. They are not spoken or treated as words but pronounced letter by letter and as a rule possess no other linguistic forms proper to words. The following may serve as examples of such abbreviations: CBW = chemical and biological warfare, DOD = Department of Defence (of the USA), ITV = Independent Television, Instructional Television, SST = supersonic transport, etc. It should be remembered that the border-line between letter abbreviations and true acronyms is fluid and many letter abbreviations in the course of time may turn into regular vocabulary units. Occasionally letter abbreviations are given ‘pronunciation spelling’ as for instance dejay (= D.J. = disc jokey), emce (= M.C. = master of ceremonies) in which case they tend to pass over into true acronyms.
Acronyms are regular vocabulary units spoken as words. They are formed in various ways:
1. from the initial letters or syllables of a phrase, which may be pronounced differently
§ a) as a succession of sounds denoted by the constituent letters forming a syllabic pattern, i.e. as regular words, e.g. UNO ['ju:nou] = United Nations Organisations; NATO ['neitou] = North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, UNESCO [ju:'neskou]; laser ['leisa] = light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation; radar ['reidэ] = radio detection and ranging; BMEWS ['bi:mju:z] = Ballistic Missile Early Warning System;
§ b) as a succession of the alphabetical readings of the constituent letters as in, e.g., YCL ['wai’si:'el] = Young Communist League; BBC ['bi:'bi:’si:] = British Broadcasting Corporation; MP ['em'pi:] = Member of Parliament; SOS ['es'ou'es] = Save Our Souls.
2. Acronyms may be formed from the initial syllables of each word of the phrase, e.g. Interpol = inter/national pol/ice; tacsatcom = Tactical Satellite Communications: Capcom = Capsule Communicator (the person at a space flight centre who communicates with the astronauts during a space flight).
3. Acronyms may be formed by a combination of the abbreviation of the first or the first two members of the phrase with the last member undergoing no change at all, e.g. V-day = Victory Day; H-bomb = hydrogen bomb; g-force = gravity force, etc.
All acronyms unlike letter abbreviations perform the syntactical functions of ordinary words taking on grammatical inflexions, e.g. MPs (will attack huge arms bill), M.P’s (concern at . . .). They also serve as derivational bases for derived words and easily collocate with derivational suffixes as, e.g. YCLer (= member of the YCL); MPess (= woman-member of Parliament); radarman, etc.
Вlendings are the result of conscious creation of words by merging irregular fragments of several words which are aptly called “splinters.” Splinters assume different shapes — they may be severed from the source word at a morpheme boundary as in transceiver (=transmitter and receiver), transistor (= transfer and resistor) or at a syllable boundary like cute (from execute) in electrocute, medicare (from medical care), polutician (from pollute and politician) or boundaries of both kinds may be disregarded as in brunch (from breakfast and lunch), smog (from smoke and fog), ballute (from baloon and parachute), etc. Many blends show some degree of overlapping of vowels, consonants and syllables or echo the word or word fragment it replaces. This device is often used to attain punning effect, as in foolosopher echoing philosopher; icecapade (= spectacular shows on ice) echoing escapade; baloonatic (= baloon and lunatic). Blends are coined not infrequently in scientific and technical language as a means of naming new things, as trade names in advertisements. Since blends break the rules of morphology they result in original combinations which catch quickly. Most of the blends have a colloquial flavour.
Clipping refers to the creation of new words by shortening a word of two or more syllables (usually nouns and adjectives) without changing its class membership. Clipped words, though they often exist together with the longer original source word function as independent lexical units with a certain phonetic shape and lexical meaning of their own. The lexical meanings of the clipped word and its source do not as a rule coincide, for instance, doc refers only to ‘one who practices medicine’, whereas doctor denotes also ‘the higher degree given by a university and a person who has received it’, e.g. Doctor of Law, Doctor of Philosophy. Clipped words always differ from the non-clipped words in the emotive charge and stylistic reference. Clippings indicate an attitude of familiarity on the part of the user either towards the object denoted or towards the audience, thus clipped words are characteristic of colloquial speech. In the course of time, though, many clipped words find their way into the literary language losing some of their colloquial colouring. Clippings show various degrees of semantic dissociation from their full forms. Some are no longer felt to be clippings, e.g. pants (cf. pantaloons), bus (cf. omnibus), bike (cf. bicycle), etc. Some of them retain rather close semantic ties with the original word. This gives ground to doubt whether the clipped words should be considered separate words. Some linguists hold the view that in case semantic dissociation is slight and the major difference lies in the emotive charge and stylistic application the two units should be regarded as word-variants (e.g. exam and examination, lab and laboratory, etc.).
Clipping often accompanies other ways of shortening such as substantivisation, e.g. perm (from permanent wave), op (from optical art), pop (from popular music, art, singer, etc.), etc.
As independent vocabulary units clippings serve as derivational bases for suffixal derivations collocating with highly productive neutral and stylistically non-neutral suffixes -ie, -er, e.g. nightie (cf. nightdress), panties, hanky (cf. handkerchief). Cases of conversion are not infrequent, e.g. to taxi, to perm, etc.
There do not seem to be any clear rules by means of which we might predict where a word will be cut though there are several types into which clippings are traditionally classified according to the part of the word that is clipped:
1. Words that have been shortened at the end—the so-called apocope, e.g. ad (from advertisement), lab (from laboratory), mike (from microphone), etc.
2. Words that have been shortened at the beginning—the so-called aphaeresis, e.g. car (from motor-car), phone (from telephone), copter (from helicopter), etc.
3. Words in which some syllables or sounds have been omitted from the middle—the so-called syncope, e.g. maths (from mathematics), pants (from pantaloons), specs (from spectacles), etc.
4. Words that have been clipped both at the beginning and at the end, e.g. flu (from influenza), tec (from detective), fridge (from refrigerator), etc.
It must be stressed that acronyms and clipping are the main ways of word-creation most active in present-day English. The peculiarity of both types of words is that they are structurally simple, semantically non-motivated and give rise to new root-morphemes.
Второстепенные способы словообразования (обратная деривация, звукоподражание, редупликация, чередование звуков и др.)
Sound interchange may be defined as an opposition in which words or word forms are differentiated due to an alternation in the phonemic composition of the root. The change may affect the root vowel, as in food n : : feed v; or root consonant as in speak v : : speech n; or both, as for instance in life n : : live v. It may also be combined with affixation: strong a : : strength n; or with affixation and shift of stress as in 'democrat : : de'mocracy.
The process is not active in the language at present, and oppositions like those listed above survive in the vocabulary only as remnants of previous stages. Synchronically sound interchange should not be considered as a method of word-building at all, but rather as a basis for contrasting words belonging to the same word-family and different parts of speech or different lexico-grammatical groups. The causes of sound interchange are twofold and one should learn to differentiate them from the historical point of view. Some of them are due to ablaut or vowel gradation characteristic of Indo-European languages and consisting in a change from one to another vowel accompanying a change of stress. The phenomenon is best known as a series of relations between vowels by which the stems of strong verbs are differentiated in grammar (drink — drank — drunk and the like).
The other group of cases is due to an assimilation process conditioned by the phonemic environment. One of these is vowel mutation, otherwise calledumlaut, a feature characteristic of Germanic languages, and consisting in a partial assimilation to a succeeding sound, as for example the fronting or raising of a back vowel or a low vowel caused by an [i] or [j] originally standing in the following syllable but now either altered or lost. This accounts for such oppositions as full a : : fill v; whole a : : heal v; knot n : : knit v; tale n : : tell v.
The consonant interchange was also caused by phonetic surroundings. Thus, the oppositions speak v : : speech n; bake v : : batch n; or wake v : : watch n are due to the fact that the palatal OE [k] very early became [ts] but was retained in verbs because of the position before the consonants [s] and [θ] in the second and third persons singular.
Synchronically, it differentiated parts of speech, i.e. it may signal the non-identity of words belonging to different parts of speech: full a : : fill v; food n : : feed v; or to different lexico-grammatical sets within the same part of speech: fall intransitive v : : fell causative v; compare also lie : : lay, sit : : set, rise : : raise.
Derivation often involves phonological changes of vowel or consonant: strong SL : : strength n; heal v : : health n; steal v : : stealth n; long a : : length n; deepa : : depth n. Major derivative alternations involving changes of vowel and/or consonant and sometimes stress shift in borrowed words are as follows: delicacyn : : delicate a; piracy n : : pirate n; democracy n : : democrat n; decency n : : decent a; vacancy n : : vacant a; creation n : : create v; edify v : : edification n;organise v : : organisation n; agnostic a : : agnosticism n.
Some long vowels are retained in quality and quantity; others are shortened, and there seems to be no fixed rule, e.g. [a:] tends to be retained: artist n : :artistic а; [э:] is regularly shortened: ‘permit n : : per'mit v.
Some otherwise homographic, mostly disyllabic nouns and verbs of Romanic origin have a distinctive stress pattern. Thus, 'conduct n ‘behaviour’ is forestressed, whereas con'duct v ‘to lead or guide (in a formal way)’ has a stress on the second syllable. Other examples are: accent, affix, asphalt, compact (impact), compound, compress (impress), conflict, contest, contract (extract), contrast, convict, digest, essay, export (import, transport), increase, insult, object (subject, project), perfume, permit, present, produce, progress, protest, rebel, record, survey, torment, transfer. Historically this is probably explained by the fact that these words were borrowed from French where the original stress was on the last syllable Verbs retained this stress all the more easily as many native disyllabic verbs were also stressed in this way: be'come, be'lieve, for'bid, for'get, for'give. The native nouns, however, were forestressed, and in the process of assimilation many loan nouns came to be stressed on the first syllable. This stress distinction is, however, neither productive nor regular.
Sound imitation (onomatopoeia or echoism) is consequently the naming of an action or thing by a more or less exact reproduction of a sound associated with it. For instance words naming sounds and movement of water: babble, blob, bubble, flush, gurgle, gush, splash, etc. It would, however, be wrong to think that onomatopoeic words reflect the real sounds directly, irrespective of the laws of the language, because the same sounds are represented differently in different languages. Onomatopoeic words adopt the phonetic features of English and fall into the combinations peculiar to it. The majority of onomatopoeic words serve to name sounds or movements. Most of them are verbs easily turned into nouns: bang, boom, bump, hum, rustle, smack, thud, etc. They are very expressive and sometimes it is difficult to tell a noun from an interjection. Consider the following: Thum — crash! “Six o'clock, Nurse,” — crash, as the door shut again. Whoever it was had given me the shock of my life (M. Dickens). Sound-imitative words form a considerable part of interjections. Сf . bang! hush! pooh!
Semantically, according to the source of sound, onomatopoeic words fall into a few very definite groups. Many verbs denote sounds produced by human beings in the process of communication or in expressing their feelings: babble, chatter, giggle, grunt, grumble, murmur, mutter, titter, whine, whisper and many more. Then there are sounds produced by animals, birds and insects, e.g. buzz, cackle, croak, crow, hiss, honk, howl, moo, mew, neigh, purr, roar and others.
Once being coined, onomatopoeic words lend themselves easily to further word-building and to semantic development. They readily develop figurative meanings. Croak, for instance, means ‘to make a deep harsh sound’. In its direct meaning the verb is used about frogs or ravens. Metaphorically it may be used about a hoarse human voice. A further transfer makes the verb synonymous to such expressions as ‘to protest dismally’, ‘to grumble dourly’, ‘to predict evil’.
Back-formation (also called reversion) is a term borrowed from diachronic linguistics. It denotes the derivation of new words by subtracting a real or supposed affix from existing words through misinterpretation of their structure. The process is based on analogy. The words beggar, butler, cobbler, or typewriter look very much like agent nouns with the suffix -er/-or, such as actor or painter. Their last syllable is therefore taken for a suffix and subtracted from the word leaving what is understood as a verbal stem. In this way the verb butle ‘to act or serve as a butler’ is derived by subtraction of -er from a supposedly verbal stem in the noun butler. Butler (ME buteler, boteler from OFr bouteillier ‘bottle bearer’) has widened its meaning. Originally it meant ‘the man-servant having charge of the wine’. It means at present ‘the chief servant of a rich household who is in charge of other servants, receives guests and directs the serving of meals’.
The very high frequency of the pattern verb stem + -er (or its equivalents) is a matter of common knowledge. Nothing more natural therefore than the prominent part this pattern plays in back-formation. Alongside the examples already cited above are burgle v <— burglar n; cobble v <— cobbler n; sculpt v <—sculptor n.
The process of back-formation has only diachronic relevance. For synchronic approach butler : : butle is equivalent to painter : : paint, so that the present-day speaker may not feel any difference between these relationships. The fact that butle is derived from butler through misinterpretation is synchronically of no importance. Some modern examples of back-formation are lase v — a verb used about the functioning of the apparatus called laser, escalate from escalator on the analogy of elevate — elevator. Cf. also the verbs aggress, automate, enthuse, obsolesce and reminisce.
The most productive type of back-formation in present-day English is derivation of verbs from compounds that have either -er or -ing as their last element. The type will be clear from the following examples: thought-read v <— thought-reader n <— thought-reading n; air-condition v <— air-conditioner n <— air-conditioningn; turbo-supercharge v <— turbo-supercharger n. Other examples of back-formations from compounds are the verbs baby-sit, beachcomb, house-break, house-clean, house-keep, red-bait, tape-record and many others.