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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.

6. Derivational Morphology

A second way to create new words out of old elements is by adding suffixes or prefixes to existing

words to modify their meaning and often their syntactic category. This process is called


'derivational and it also typically yields headed constituents (i.e. constituents with a

head, which gives them their main syntactic and semantic properties). In the following example the

suffix is specified as taking as its sister an adjective, and produces a noun. Thus is

-ness happiness

the property of being happy, is the property of being unhappy etc.


(1) N N

A -ness A -ness

Happy -un A



• Class-changing prefixes:

a- asleep V to Adj

bewitch N to V


en- enslave N to V

• Class-maintaining prefixes:

in- indefinite Adj to Adj

foreman N to N


Etc. (most of them)


• Suffixes forming Nouns

N from N: -dom kingdom

N from V: -ee employee

N from Adj: -ce dependence

• Suffixes forming Verbs

V from N: -ify beautify

V from Adj: -en shorten

• Suffixes forming adjectives


Adj from N: -al

Adj from V: -able understandable

Adj from Adj: -ish greenish

• Suffixes forming Adverbs: -ly, -ward, and –wise.


NB. exists in contemporary English only for semiwords like and

fucking bloody.

Ex. kanga bloody roo

deja fucking vu




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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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