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(5) a. a dark a room that is dark


b. a a room from which daylight is excluded so that photographs can be processed.


There are sometimes instances of in Thus a

structural ambiguity California history

may be someone that teaches California history, or it may be a history teacher from


California. The first meaning is obtained by making a morphological constituent.

California history

The second meaning is obtained by the morphological tree found on the right.

(6) California history teacher

a. N b. N


teacher California


California history history teacher

Types of compounds: how they are written

analytic language,

Since English is a mostly unlike most other Germanic languages, it creates

compounds by concatenating words without case markers. As in other Germanic languages, the

compounds may be arbitrarily long. However, this is obscured by the fact that the written

representation of long compounds always contains blanks. Short compounds may be written in

three different ways, which do not correspond to different pronunciations, however:

1. The ‘solid’ or ‘closed’ forms in which two usually moderately short words appear together as

one. Solid compounds most likely consist of short (monosyllabic) units that often have been

established in the language for a long time. Examples are etc.

housewife, lawsuit, wallpaper,


2. The form in which two or more words are connected by a hyphen. Compounds that

contain affixes, such as and as well as adjective-adjective

house-build(er) single-mind(ed)(ness),

compounds and verb-verb compounds, such as and are often hyphenated.

blue-green freeze-dry,

Compounds that contain articles, such as and are also often

mother-of-pearl salt-and-pepper,


3. The ‘open’ or ‘spaced’ form consisting of newer combinations of usually longer words, such as


distance learning, player piano, lawn tennis,

Usage in the US and in the UK differs and often depends on the individual choice of the writer

rather than on a hard-and-fast rule; therefore, open, hyphenated, and closed forms may be

encountered for the same compound noun, such as the triplets container ship/container-


ship/containership particle board/particle-board/particleboard

Types of compounds: how they are interpreted

In general, the meaning of a compound is a specialization of the meaning of its head. The modifier

limits the meaning of the head. This is most obvious in descriptive compounds, in which the

modifier is used in an attributive or appositional manner. A is a particular kind of board,


which is (generally) black, for instance.

In determinative compounds, however, the relationship is not attributive. For example, a is


not a particular type of stool that is like a foot. Rather, it is a (It can be

stool for one's foot or feet.

used for sitting on, but that is not its primary purpose.) In a similar manner, the is

office manager

the manager of an office, an is a and a is a

armchair chair with arms, raincoat coat against the rain.

These relationships, which are expressed by prepositions in English, would be expressed by

grammatical case in other languages. Both of the above types of compounds are called endocentric

compounds because the semantic head is contained within the compound itself -- a blackboard is a

type of board, for example, and a footstool is a type of stool.


However, in another common type of compound, the compound, the semantic head is

is not with

not explicitly expressed. A for example, a kind of head, but is a person red


hair. Similarly, a is also not a head, but a person with a head that is as hard and


unreceptive as a block (i.e. stupid). And, outside of veterinary surgery, a is not a type of


heart, but a person with a heart like a lion (in its bravery, courage, fearlessness, etc.).

Note in general the way to tell the two apart: is

1. Can you paraphrase the meaning of the compound "[X . Y]" to or

A person/thing that a Y, ...

does if Y is a verb (with X having some unspecified connection)? This is an endocentric

that Y,

compound. with

2. Can you paraphrase the meaning if the compound "[X . Y]" to with

A person/thing that is Y,

X having some unspecified connection? This is an exocentric compound.

Exocentric compounds occur more often in adjectives than nouns.

These types account for most compound nouns, but there are other, rarer types as well.

Coordinative, copulative or dvandva compounds combine elements with a similar meaning, and

the compound meaning may be a generalization instead of a specialization. Bosnia-Herzegovina,

for example, is the combined area of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but a is an aircraft


that is both a fighter and a bomber. or compounds repeat a single element, to

Iterative amredita

express repetition or as an emphasis. and are examples of this type of

Day-by-day go-go-go

compound, which has more than one head.

In the case of verb+noun compounds, the noun may be either the subject or the object of the verb.

In for example, the noun is the subject of the verb (the whereas it is the object

playboy, boy plays),

in (someone

callgirl calls the girl)

Phrasal verbs

English syntax distinguishes between phrasal verbs and prepositional verbs. Consider the following:

I held up my hand.

I held up a bank.

I held my hand up.

*I held a bank up.

The first three sentences are possible in English; the last one is unlikely. When means

to hold up to

it is a prepositional verb; the preposition can be detached from the verb and has its own

raise, up

individual meaning "from As a prepositional verb, it has a literal

lower to a higher position".

meaning. However, when to hold up means it is a phrasal verb. A phrasal verb is used in an

to rob,

idiomatic, figurative or even metaphorical context. The preposition is inextricably linked to the

verb; the meaning of each word cannot be determined independently but is in fact part of the idiom.

The distinguishes seven types of prepositional or phrasal verbs in

Oxford English Grammar


1. 1. intransitive phrasal verbs (e.g. give in)

2. 2. transitive phrasal verbs (e.g. [discover])

find out

3. 3. monotransitive prepositional verbs (e.g. [care

look after for])

4. 4. doubly transitive prepositional verbs (e.g. [something] [someone])

blame on

5. 5. copular prepositional verbs. (e.g. serve as)

6. 6. monotransitive phrasal-prepositional verbs (e.g. [respect])

look up to

7. 7. doubly transitive phrasal-prepositional verbs (e.g. [something]

put down to

[someone] [attribute to])


Definition: Similar to compounds, but parts of the words are deleted.

• Examples:

Motor + hotel Motel

Breakfast + lunch Brunch (1896)

Wireless + Fidelity Wi-fi

Sheep + goat Shoat

Tanganyika + Zanzibar Tanzania (1964)

Spanish + English Spanglish

Oxford + Cambridge Oxbridge

Eletric + execute electrocute

Black + exploitation Blaxploitation (film genre)

Bill + Hillary Billary (referring to the two Clintons)

Tom + Katie Tomkat (referring to Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes)

Many blends have been created in recent years as names for new forms of exercise regimes, many

Aquarobics, Callanetics

of them trade names: (the first name of blended with

Callan Pinckney

Jazzercise aquacise, dancercise, sexercise, slimnastics.

(jazz + and Among

athletics), exercise),

parascending surfari,

sports we have terms like (parachute + and and nonce adjectives


sportsational swimsational

such as or which blend words with the last element of sensational.

The media, advertising and show business have been responsible for an especially large crop:

advertorial docutainment

(an written as though it were an (a

advertisement editorial); documentary

written as with variable felicity concerning actual events), which is also known as a


from though this is a clipped compound, not a blend); an

dramadoc, dramatised documentary,

infomercial infotainment

is a television in the form of an announcement;

commercial information magalogue

is a blend, in reality as well as etymology, of and a is a cross

information entertainment;


between a and a a is a From the

magazine catalogue; television evangelist.

animatronics camcorder

entertainment field we have (a blend of and

animated electronics),

rockumentary squarial

(camera + (a and, for a while in Britain, (a

recorder), rock documentary)

used to receive satellite television signals).

square aerial, Clintonomics,

Politics and the economy have a fair representation in the list. We have

Reaganomics, Rogernomics

and which all combine the name of a political figure with the word


In similar vein are a near-disastrous combination of and

economics. stagnation

slumpflation Californicate.

and (slump + The US has punning blends like

inflation, inflation).

Science and technology has been responsible for large numbers of new blends. Some well-

transistor Chunnel smog

established ones are (transfer + (Channel + (smoke +

resistor), tunnel),

nucleonics transputer

(nucleon + and (transistor + However, there is

fog); electronics), computer).

a set of new scientific words which fall somewhere in the same territory as blends but which also

could also be said to look like extended abbreviations or acronyms. An excellent example is

amphetamine, which comes from its full chemical name of Such

alpha methyl phenyl ethyl amine.

creative mangling of names is now common when making up the vast number of trade and generic


names needed for new drugs: the generic name of the AIDS drug AZT, is formed from


azidodeoxythymidine with the letters inserted for no obvious reason; used to treat


stomach ulcers and better known by its trade name Zantac, is furan + +

nitro –itidine.




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Questa è la prima lezione del corso di Inglese per il giornalismo e l'editoria tenuto dalla prof.ssa Donati. Viene spiegato cosa si intende per Morfologia, ovvero lo studio della struttura interna della parole. Nello specifico, vengono illustrate due tipologie di morfologia dell'inglese e di formazione di parole: Compounding e derivation.

Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea magistrale in editoria multimediale e nuove professioni dell'informazione
A.A.: 2011-2012

I contenuti di questa pagina costituiscono rielaborazioni personali del Publisher Atreyu di informazioni apprese con la frequenza delle lezioni di INGLESE PER IL GIORNALISMO E L’EDITORIA e studio autonomo di eventuali libri di riferimento in preparazione dell'esame finale o della tesi. Non devono intendersi come materiale ufficiale dell'università La Sapienza - Uniroma1 o del prof Donati Caterina.

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