The Classification of Compounds in Distributed Morphology

Document Type : Research Paper


1 General Linguistics University of Tehran

2 Assistance Professor of General LinguisticsUniversity of Tehran


All languages in the world use different ways to create new words. One of these ways is Compounding. In many languages, Compounding (also called composition) is the most frequently used way of making new lexemes. Its defining property is that it consists of the combination of lexemes into larger words. Compounds are words that are composed of two (or more) bases, roots, or stems. In other word, compounding consists of the combination of two words, in which one word modifies the meaning of the other, the head. This means that compounds have a binary structure. The productivity of compounding in many languages is largely due to its semantic transparency and versatility. When a new compound is formed, we already know the meaning of its constituents, and the only task we face is to find out the semantic relation between the two parts. In Persian, compounding and derivation are the most frequently used way of making new words. Many Iranian linguists have written articles about compounding. Classification of compounds has been and still is a much-debatable issue in the linguistic literature. In this article, we will review other classifications and then introduce a new classification which is based on a morphosyntactic approach and focus on the structure of words. According to this new classification, there are two types of compounds: root compounds and synthetic compounds. Synthetic compounds have v element in their structure but root compounds don’t have this element. Presence of v element in the structure of the compounds creates a dual situation which logically doesn’t have a third option and this is not reputable. Indeed it cannot be violated.


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Volume 10, Issue 2
March 2020
Pages 1-20
  • Receive Date: 13 December 2019
  • Revise Date: 21 December 2019
  • Accept Date: 07 March 2020
  • First Publish Date: 07 March 2020