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Productive Types of Compound Nouns 1 страница

Table 3



Free Phrases Compound Nouns
Compounds Proper Derivational Compounds Pattern
Verbal Nominal Phrases 1. the reducer of prices to reduce 2. the reducing of prices prices 3. the reduction of prices to shake 4. the shake of hands hands 1) price-reducer 2) price-reducing 3) price-reduction 4) hand-shake [n + (v + -er)] [n + (v + -ing)] [n + (v + -tion/-ment)] [n + (v + conversion)]
Nominal Phrases 1) a tray for ashes 2) the neck of the bottle 3) a house in the country 4) a ship run by steam 5) the doctor is a woman 6) a fish resembling a sword 1) ash-tray 2) bottle-neck 3) country-house 4) steamship 5) woman-doctor 6) sword-fish [n’ + n1]
VerbAdverb Phrases to break down to cast away to run away   a break-down a castaway a runaway [(v + adv) + conversion]

pattern l(v + adv) + conversion]. The pattern correlates with free phrases V + Adv and with all phrasal verbs of different degree of stability. The pattern is polysemantic and reflects the manifold semantic relations typical of conversion pairs.

The system of productive types of compound nouns is summarised in Table 3.

§ 36. Sources of Compounds

The actual process of building compound words may take different forms: 1) Compound words as a rule are built spontaneously according to productive distributional formulas of the given period. Formulas productive at one time may lose their productivity at another period. Thus at one time the process of building verbs by compounding adverbial and verbal stems was productive, and numerous compound verbs like, e.g. outgrow,offset, inlay (adv + v), were formed. The structure ceased to be productive and today practically no verbs are built in this way.

2) Compounds may be the result of a gradual process of semantic isolation and structural fusion of free word-groups. Such compounds as forget-me-not — ‘a small plant with blue flowers’; bull’s-eye — ‘the centre of a target; a kind of hard, globular candy’; mainland — ‘a continent’ all go back to free phrases which became semantically and structurally isolated in the course of time. The words that once made up these phrases have lost, within these particular formations, their integrity, the whole phrase has become isolated in form, specialised in meaning and thus turned into an inseparable unit — a word having acquired semantic and morphological unity. Most of the syntactic compound nouns of the (a+n) structure, e.g. bluebell, blackboard, mad-doctor,are the result of such semantic and structural isolation of free word-groups; to give but one more example, highwaywas once actually a high wayfor it was raised above the surrounding countryside for better drainage and ease of travel. Now we use highwaywithout any idea Of the original sense of the first element.

§ 37. Summary and Conclusions

1. Compound words are made up of two ICs, both of which are derivational bases.

2. The structural and semantic centre of a compound, i.e. its head-member, is its second IC, which preconditions the part of speech the compound belongs to and its lexical class.

3. Phonetically compound words are marked by three stress patterns — a unity stress, a double stress and a level stress. The first two are the commonest stress patterns in compounds.

4. Graphically as a rule compounds are marked by two types of spelling — solid spelling and hyphenated spelling. Some types of compound words are characterised by fluctuations between hyphenated spelling and spelling with a space between the components.

5. Derivational patterns in compound words may be mono- and polysemantic, in which case they are based on different semantic relations between the components.

6. The meaning of compound words is derived from the combined lexical meanings of the components and the meaning of the derivational pattern.

7. Compound words may be described from different points of view:

a) According to the degree of semantic independence of components compounds are classified into coordinative and subordinative. The bulk of present-day English compounds are subordinative.

b) According to different parts of speech. Composition is typical in Modern English mostly of nouns and adjectives.

c) According to the means by which components are joined together they are classified into compounds formed with the help of a linking element and without. As to the order of ICs it may be asyntactic and syntactic.

d) According to the type of bases compounds are classified into compounds proper and derivational compounds.

e) According to the structural semantic correlation with free phrases compounds are subdivided into adjectival-nominal compound adjectives, verbal-nominal, verb-adverb and nominal compound nouns.

8. Structural and semantic correlation is understood as a regular interdependence between compound words and variable phrases. A potential possibility of certain types of phrases presupposes a possibility of compound words conditioning their structure and semantic type.

VI. Etymological Survey of the English Word-Stock

§ 1. Some Basic Assumptions

The most characteristic feature of English is usually said to be its mixed character. Many linguists consider foreign influence, especially that of French, to be the most important factor in the history of English. This wide-spread viewpoint is supported only by the evidence of the English word-stock, as its grammar and phonetic system are very stable and not easily influenced by other languages. While it is altogether wrong to speak of the mixed character of the language as a whole, the composite nature of the English vocabulary cannot be denied.

To comprehend the nature of the English vocabulary and its historical development it is necessary to examine the etymology of its different layers, the historical causes of their appearance, their volume and role and the comparative importance of native and borrowed elements in replenishing the English vocabulary. Before embarking upon a description of the English word-stock from this point of view we must make special mention of some terms. '

1. In linguistic literature the term native is conventionally used to denote words of Anglo-Saxon origin brought to the British Isles from the continent in the 5th century by the Germanic tribes — the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes. Practically, however, the term is often applied to words whose origin cannot be traced to any other language. Thus, the word pathis classified as native just because its origin has not yet been established with any degree of certainty. It is possible to conjecture that further progress of linguistic science may throw some light upon its origin and it may prove to have been borrowed at some earlier period. It is for this reason that Professor A. I. Smirnitsky relying on the earliest manuscripts of the English language available suggested another interpretation of the term native — as words which may be presumed to have existed in the English word-stock of the 7th century. This interpretation may have somewhat more reliable criteria behind it, but it seems to have the same drawback — both viewpoints present the native element in English as static.

In this book we shall proceed from a different understanding of the term native as comprising not only the ancient Anglo-Saxon core but also words coined later on their basis by means of various processes operative in English.

2. The term borrowing is used in linguistics to denote the process of adopting words from other languages and also the result of this process, the language material itself. It has already been stated that not only words, but also word-building affixes were borrowed into English (as is the case with -able, -ment, -ity,etc.).1 Itmust be mentioned that

1 See ‘Word-Formation’, § 14, p. 125. 160

some word-groups, too, were borrowed in their foreign form (e.g. coup d'état, vis-á-vis).

In its second meaning the term borrowing is sometimes used in a wider sense. It is extended onto the so-called translation-loans (or loan-translations) and semantic borrowing. Translation-loans are words and expressions formed from the material available in the language after the patterns characteristic of the given language, but under the influence of some foreign words and expressions (e. g. mother tongue<L. lingua materna; it goes without saying <Fr.cela va sans dire; wall newspaper< Russ. стенгазета). Semantic borrowingis the appearance of a new meaning due to the influence of a related word in another language (e.g. the word propagandaand reactionacquired their political meanings under the influence of French, deviationand bureauentered political vocabulary, as in right and left deviations, Political bureau,under the influence of Russian).

Further on we shall use the term bоrrоwing in its second meaning, as a borrowing proper or a word taken over in its material form.

Distinction should be made between true borrowings and words formed out of morphemes borrowed from Latin and Greek, e.g. telephone, phonogram.Such words were never part of Latin or Greek and they do not reflect any contacts with the peoples speaking those languages.

It is of importance to note that the term borrowing belongs to diachronic description of the word-stock. Thus the words wine, cheap, poundintroduced by the Romans into all Germanic dialects long before the Angles and the Saxons settled on the British Isles, and such late Latin loans as alibi, memorandum, stratummay all be referred to borrowings from the same language in describing their origin, though in modern English they constitute distinctly different groups of words.

3. There is also certain confusion between the terms source of borrowings and origin of the word. This confusion may be seen in contradictory marking of one and the same word as, say, a French borrowing in one dictionary and Latin borrowing in another. It is suggested here that the term source of borrowing should be applied to the language from which this or that particular word was taken into English. So when describing words as Latin, French or Scandinavian borrowings we point out their source but not their origin. The term origin оf the word should be applied to the language the word may be traced to. Thus, the French borrowing tableis Latin by origin (L. tabula),the Latin borrowing schoolcame into Latin from the Greek language (Gr. schole),so itmay be described as Greek by origin.

It should be remembered, however, that whereas the immediate source of borrowing is as a rule known and can be stated with some certainty, the actual origin of the word may be rather doubtful. For example, the word inkwas borrowed from Old French, but it may be traced back to Latin and still further to Greek (cf. Gr. kaio-),and it is quite possible that it was borrowed into Greek from some other language.

The immediate source of borrowing is naturally of greater importance for language students because it reveals the extra-linguistic factors

responsible for the act of borrowing, and also because the borrowed words bear, as a rule, the imprint of the sound and graphic form, the morphological and semantic structure characteristic of the language they were borrowed from.


Words of native origin consist for the most part of very ancient elements—Indo-European, Germanic and West Germanic cognates. The bulk of the Old English word-stock has been preserved, although some words have passed out of existence. When speaking about the role of the native element in the English language linguists usually confine themselves to the small Anglo-Saxon stock of words, which is estimated to make 25—30% of the English vocabulary.

To assign the native element its true place it is not so important to count the number of Anglo-Saxon words that have survived up to our days, as to study their semantic and stylistic character, their word-building ability, frequency value, collocability.

§ 2. Semantic Characteristics and Collocability

Almost all words of Anglo-Saxon origin belong to very important semantic groups. They include most of the auxiliary and modal verbs (shall, will, must, can, may,etc.), pronouns (I, you, he, my, his, who,etc.), prepositions (in, out, on, under,etc.), numerals (one, two, three, four,etc.) and conjunctions (and, but, till, as,etc.). Notional words of Anglo-Saxon origin include such groups as words denoting parts of the body (head, hand, arm, back,etc.), members of the family and closest relatives (farther, mother, brother, son, wife),natural phenomena and planets (snow, rain, wind, sun, moon, star,etc.), animals (horse, cow, sheep, cat),qualities and properties (old, young, cold, hot, light, dark, long),common actions (do, make, go, come, see, hear, eat,etc.), etc.

Most of the native words have undergone great changes in their semantic structure, and as a result are nowadays polysemantic, e.g. the word fingerdoes not only denote a part of a hand as in Old English, but also 1) the part of a glove covering one of the fingers, 2) a finger-like part in various machines, 3) a hand of a clock, 4) an index, 5) a unit of measurement. Highly polysemantic are the words man, head, hand, go,etc.

Most native words possess a wide range of lexical and grammatical valency. Many of them enter a number of phraseological units, e.g. the word heelenters the following units: heel over heador head over heels—'upside down'; cool one's heel—'be kept waiting'; show a clean pair of heels, take to one's heels—'run away', turn on one's heels— 'turn sharply round', etc.

§ 3. Derivational Potential

The great stability and semantic peculiarities of Anglo-Saxon words account for their great derivational potential. Most words of native origin make up large clusters of derived and compound words in the present-day language, e.g. the word woodis the basis for the formation of the following words: wooden, woody, wooded, woodcraft, woodcutter, woodworkand many

others. The formation of new words is greatly facilitated by the fact that most Anglo-Saxon words are root-words,

New words have been coined from Anglo-Saxon simple word-stems mainly by means of affixation, word-composition and conversion.

Some linguists contend that due to the large additions to its vocabulary from different languages, English lost much of its old faculty to form new words. The great number of compound and derived words in modern English, the diversity of their patterns, the stability and productivity of the patterns and the appearance of new ones testify to the contrary. Such affixes of native origin as -ness, -ish, -ed, un-, mis-make part of the patterns widely used to build numerous new words throughout the whole history of English, though some of them have changed their collocability or have become polysemantic, e.g. the agent-forming suffix -er, which was in Old English mostly added to noun-stems, is now most often combined with verb-stems, besides it has come to form also names of instruments, persons in a certain state or doing something at the moment.

Some native words were used as components of compounds so often that they have acquired the status of derivational affixes (e. g. -dom, -hood, -ly, over-, out-, under-),others are now semi-affixational morphemes.1.

It is noteworthy that to the native element in English we must also refer some new simple words based on words of Anglo-Saxon origin. Words with a new non-derived stem branch off from primary simple words as a result of simplification of some derivatives in a cluster of words and their semantic isolation, as in king, kindn,kinda and kinn, from which all of them were derived (ср. OE. cуninз, cynd, cynde, суn),orblessand bleedderived from blood (ср. OE. bledsian, blēdan, blōd).Sometimes a word split into two or more words with different forms and meanings (i.e. etymological doublets) due to the difference in function and stress, as is the case with off and of (from OE. of which was stressed as an adverb and unstressed as a preposition). Dialectal forms of a word may develop into independent words, as in oneand an(< OE. an), wholeand hale(< OE. hāl).New root-words based on Anglo-Saxon words also came into being with the rise of homonyms owing to the split of polysemy.2

The semantic characteristics, stability and wide collocability of native words account for their frequency in speech. However there are some words among them which are now archaic or poetic (e.g. lore, methinks, quoth, whilom, ere, welkin,etc.), or used only as historical terms (e.g. thane, yeomandenoting ranks, stocks— ‘an instrument of torture’, etc.).

What has been said above shows that the native element, has been playing a significant role in the English language. To fully estimate the importance of the native element in English, it is essential to study the role of English derivational means and semantic development in the life of borrowings, which will be dwelt upon in the sections below.

1 See ‘Word-Formation’, §§ 13, 14, pp. 123-125. 2 See ‘Semasiology’, § 40, p. 47.

6* 163

§ 4. Summary and Conclusions

1. The native element comprises not only the ancient Anglo-Saxon core but also words which appeared later as a result of word-formation, split of polysemy and other processes operative in English.

2. Though not numerous in Modern English, words of Anglo-Saxon origin must be considered very important due to their marked stability, specific semantic characteristics, wide collocability, great derivational potential, wide spheres of application and high frequency value.


§ 5. Causes and Ways of Borrowing

In its 15 century long history recorded in written manuscripts the English language happened to come in long and close contact with several other languages, mainly Latin, French and Old Norse (or Scandinavian). The great influx of borrowings from these sources can be accounted for by a number of historical causes. Due to the great influence of the Roman civilisation Latin was for a long Уте used in England as the language of learning and religion. Old Norse was the language of the conquerors who were on the same level of social and cultural development and who merged rather easily with the local population in the 9th, 10th and the first half of the 11th century. French (to be more exact its Norman dialect) was the language of the other conquerors who brought with them a lot of new notions of a higher social system — developed feudalism, it was the language of upper classes, of official documents and school instruction from the middle of the 11th century to the end of the 14th century.

In the study of the borrowed element in English the main emphasis is as a rule placed on the Middle English period. Borrowings of later periods became the object of investigation only in recent years. These investigations have shown that the flow of borrowings has been steady and uninterrupted. The greatest number has come from French. They refer to various fields of social-political, scientific and cultural life. A large portion of borrowings (41%) is scientific and technical terms.

The number and character of borrowed words tell us of the relations between the peoples, the level of their culture, etc. It is for this reason that borrowings have often been called the milestones of history. Thus if we go through the lists of borrowings in English and arrange them in groups according to their meaning, we shall be able to obtain much valuable information with regard to England’s contacts with many nations. Some borrowings, however, cannot be explained by the direct influence of certain historical conditions, they do not come along with any new objects or ideas. Such were for instance the words air, place, brave, gayborrowed from French.

It must be pointed out that while the general historical causes of borrowing from different languages have been studied with a considerable degree of thoroughness the purely linguistic reasons for borrowing are still open to investigation.

The number and character of borrowings do not only depend on the historical conditions, on the nature and length of the contacts, but also on the degree of the genetic and structural proximity of languages concerned. The closer the languages, the deeper and more versatile is the influence. This largely accounts for the well-marked contrast between the French and the Scandinavian influence on the English language. Thus under the influence of the Scandinavian languages, which were closely related to Old English, some classes of words were borrowed that could not have been adopted from non-related or distantly related languages (the pronouns they, their, them,for instance); a number of Scandinavian borrowings were felt as derived from native words (they were of the same root and the connection between them was easily seen), e.g. drop(AS.) — drip(Scand.), true (AS.)-tryst(Scand.); the Scandinavian influence even accelerated to a certain degree the development of the grammatical structure of English.

Borrowings enter the language in two ways: through oral speech (by immediate contact between the peoples) and through written speech (by indirect contact through books, etc.).

Oral borrowing took place chiefly in the early periods of history, whereas in recent times written borrowing gained importance. Words borrowed orally (e.g. L. inch, mill, street)are usually short and they undergo considerable changes in the act of adoption. Written borrowings (e.g. Fr. communiqué, belles-lettres, naïveté)preserve their spelling and some peculiarities of their sound-form, their assimilation is a long and laborious process.

§ 6. Criteria of Borrowings

Though borrowed words undergo changes in the adopting language they preserve some of their former peculiarities for a comparatively long period. This makes it possible to work out some criteria for determining whether the word belongs to the borrowed element.

In some cases the pronunciation of the word (strange sounds, sound combinations, position of stress, etc.), its spelling and the correlation between sounds and letters are an indication of the foreign origin of the word. This is the case with waltz (G.),. psychology(Gr.), soufflé(Fr.), etc. The initial position of the sounds [v], [dз], [з] or of the letters x, j, zis a sure sign that the word has been borrowed, e.g. volcano (It.), vase(Fr.),vaccine(L.), jungle(Hindi), gesture (L.),giant (OFr.), zeal(L.), zero(Fr.), zinc(G.), etc.

The morphological structure of the word and its grammatical forms may also bear witness to the word being adopted from another language. Thus the suffixes in the words neurosis (Gr.) and violoncello (It.) betray the foreign origin of the words. The same is true of the irregular plural forms papyra(from papyrus, Gr.), pastorali(from pastorale, It.), beaux (from beau, Fr.), bacteria, (from bacterium, L.) and the like.

Last but not least is the lexical meaning of the word. Thus the concept denoted by the words ricksha(w), pagoda(Chin.) make us suppose that we deal with borrowings.

These criteria are not always helpful. Some early borrowings have become so thoroughly assimilated that they are unrecognisable without

a historical analysis, e.g. chalk, mile (L.), ill, ugly (Scand.), enemy, car (Fr.), etc. It must also be taken into consideration that the closer the relation between the languages, the more difficult it is to distinguish borrowings.

Sometimes the form of the word and its meaning in Modern English enable us to tell the immediate source of borrowing. Thus if the digraph ch is sounded as [∫], the word is a late French borrowing (as in echelon, chauffeur, chef); if it stands for [k], it came through Greek (archaic, architect, chronology); if it is pronounced as [t∫], it is either an early-borrowing (chase, OFr.; cherry, L., OFr.; chime, L.), or a word of Anglo-Saxon origin (choose, child, chin).

§ 7. Assimilation of Borrowings

It is now essential to analyse the changes that borrowings have undergone in the English language and how they have adapted themselves to its peculiarities.

All the changes that borrowed elements undergo may be divided into two large groups.

On the one hand there are changes specific of borrowed words only. These changes aim at adapting words of foreign origin to the norms of the borrowing language, e.g. the consonant combinations [pn], [ps], [pt] in the words pneumatics, psychology, Ptolemyof Greek origin were simplified into [n], [s], [t], since the consonant combinations [ps], [pt], [pn], very frequent at the end of English words (as in sleeps, stopped, etc.), were never used in the initial position. For the same reason the initial [ks] was changed into [z] (as in Gr. xylophone).

The suffixes-ar, -or, -atorin early Latin borrowings were replaced by the highly productive Old English suffix -ere,as in L. Caesar>OE. Casere, L. sutor>OE. sūtere.

By analogy with the great majority of nouns that form their plural in -s, borrowings, even very recent ones, have assumed this inflection instead of their original plural endings. The forms Soviets, bolsheviks, kolkhozes, sputniks illustrate the process.

On the other hand we observe changes that are characteristic of both borrowed and native words. These changes are due to the development of the word according to the laws of the given language. When the highly inflected Old English system of declension changed into the simpler system of Middle English, early borrowings conformed with the general rule. Under the influence of the so-called inflexional levelling borrowings like lазu, (MnE. law), fēōlaza (MnE. fellow), stræt (MnE. street), disc (MnE. dish) that had a number of grammatical forms in Old English acquired only three forms in Middle English: common case and possessive case singular and plural (fellow, fellowes, fellowes).

It is very important to discriminate between the two processes — the adaptation of borrowed material to the norms of the language and the development of these words according to the laws of the language.


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