Polysemy in the Compound Construction Formed as [X be-VPRES]: An Analysis in Construction Morphology

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Professor of Linguistics, Tabeiat Modars University, Tehran, Iran.

2 Ph.D. Candidate of Linguistics, Tabeiat Modars University, Tehran, Iran.


The purpose of this paper is to study the compound construction [X be-Vpres] in Persian within the framework of Construction Morphology. In this study a construction-based approach has been used to determine the different possible meanings drawn from the [X be-Vpres] construction, its schemas, subschemas and the hierarchical structure of this construction in Persian lexicon. The proper data for this study were collected from farhang-e bozorg-e sokhan [The Great Sokhan Dictionary] (Anvari, 2002) and in some cases they have been checked in loqat-nāme-ye dehkhodā [The Dehkhoda Dictionary] (2012). Whenever the meaning of words were unclear, riše-šenāsi-ye tārixi-ye estelāhāt-e fārsi [Etymology of Persian Idioms) (Partovi Amoli, 2013) was used. Accordingly, thirty-nine words were extracted and studied. This study followed a usage-based, construction-based approach. The data in this study have been analyzed within the framework of Construction Morphology (CM). In order to analyze the data, the meaning of each word was studied in a real sentence found in our corpus. In addition, we paid attention to the thematic relation of the non-verbal and verbal parts of each data. Accordingly, our data were categorized in five different semantic categories illustrating agent, benefactory, patient, property and theme. In other words, one single form was corresponded to five different semantic roles. The findings of this study revealed that the [X be-Vpres] construction is polysemous in Persian, that is, the polysemy can be seen at the level of construction. In fact, the polysemy found in this research is constructional.  Analysis of the different meanings revealed that they all related to the thematic  relationships between two parts of the compound. In line with this  finding, we showed that the most abstract meaning of [X be-Vpres] is "an entity with relation (R) to XV". It was the most schematic meaning whose characteristics were inherited by five other subschemas which determined each semantic category.


Aftabi, S. Z. 2012. "Post-Syntactic Word-Formation in Persian". M.A. Thesis. Alzahra university. Faculty of Literature, Languages and History. [In Persian].
Anvari. H. 2000. "The Great Sokhan Dictionary". Tehran: Sokhan press.
Bahrami-Khorshid, S. 2020. Cognitive Grammar: Theoretical Foundations, and Application in Persian. Tehran: SAMT. [In Persian].
Booij, G. 2002. “Constructional idioms, morphology, and the Dutch lexicon.” Journal of Germanic Linguistics 14: 301-327.
Booij, G. 2005. “Construction-dependent morphology.” Lingue e Linguaggio 4: 31-46.
Booij, G. 2005. Compounding and derivation: evidence for construction morphology. Morphology and its demarcations. W. U. Dressler, D. Kastovsky, O. E. Pfeiffer and F. Rainer. Amsterdam / Philadelphia, John Benjamins: 109-132.
Booij, G. 2007. Construction morphology and the lexicon. Selected proceedings of the 5th Décembrettes: Morphology in Toulouse. F. Montermini, G. Boyé and N. Hathout. Somerville, Cascadilla Press: 34-44.
Booij, G. 2008. “Pseudo-incorporation in Dutch.” Groninger Arbeiten zur Germanistischen Linguistik 46: 3-26.
Booij, G. 2009. Compound construction: schemas or analogy? A Construction Morphology perspective. Compounding. S. Scalise and I. Vogel. Amsterdam / Philadelphia, John Benjamins.
Booij, G. 2009. Construction morphology and compounding. The handbook of compounding. R. Lieber and P. Stekauer. Oxford, Oxford University Press: 201-216.
Booij, G. 2010. Construction morphology. Oxford, Oxford University Press.
Booij, G. 2013. Morphology in CxG. In Thomas Hoffmann and Graeme Trousdale (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Construction Grammar. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 255-273.
Booij, G. 2015. Word formation in construction grammar. In Peter O.
Booij, G. (ed.)  2018. The construction of words. Advances in Construction Morphology. Cham etc.: Springer (Studies in Morphology 4).
Cayley 1857. On the theory of the analytical forms called trees, Philosophical magazine, 4th series, 13.
Dehkhoda, A. 2011. "The Dictionary". Tehran: Roshd press [In Persian] Farhangestan Journal. 62-71. [In Persian]..
Gibbs, R. 2007. Why cognitive linguistic should be concerned with empirical methods. In M. Gonzales, M, Spivey, S. Coulson, & I. Mittleberg (Eds.), Empirical methods in cognitive linguistics. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Hilpert, M. 2014. Contruction Grammar and its Application to English. Edinburgh University press Ltd.
Larson, Mildred L. 1984.Meaning-based translation: A guide to cross-language equivalence. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.
Moldovan, D. et al. 2004. “Models for the Semantics of Noun Phrases”. Proceedings of the HLT-NAACL Workshop on Computational Lexical Semantics. Available at:
Müller, Ingeborg Ohnheiser, Susan Olsen, and Franz Rainer (eds.). Word Formation. An International Handbook of the Languages of Europe. Berlin / New York: De Gruyter Mouton.
Nezamabadi, A. 2014. "The Study of Multi-component Adjectives in Persian based on Halliday’s Systemic Functional Grammar". M.A. Thesis. Alzahra university. Faculty of Literature, Languages and History.  [In Persian].
Partovi Amoli. M. 2012. "A History of Persian Proverbs". Tehran: Sanai
Payne, Thomas E. 2007. Summary of semantic roles and Grammatical relations, Eng 595G. press. [In Persian].
Rasekhmahand. M. 2005. "Compound Nominals and Adjectives in Persian". Linguistics journal, 3-5 [In Persian].
Rumelhart, D. 1980. Schemata: The Building Blocks of Cognition. In: Spiro, R., Bruce, B. and Brewer, W., Eds., Theoretical Issues in Reading Comprehension: Perspectives from Cognitive Psychology, Linguistics, Artificial Intelligent,and Education. pp 33-58.
Safa. P. 2006. "The Morpho-syntax of Adjectives in Persian". Dastoor Journal. 102-113. [In Persian].
Sasani. F. 1997. "Adjectives In Comparison with Other Lexical Categories in Persian". M.A. Thesis. Allame Tabatabai University. Faculty of Literature and Foreign Languages [In Persian].
Shaqaqi. V. 1999. "Analogy and Word-Creation". The First Word Coining and Terminology Seminar [In Persian].
Tabatabaie. A. 2001. "Compound Nominals and Adjectives in Persian". Tehran: University Publication Center. [In Persian].
Tabatabaie. A. 2003. " Truncated Infinitival Adjectives",Nāmeye Farhagestān, 62-71. [In Persian].
Volume 12, Issue 1
July 2021
Pages 27-47
  • Receive Date: 22 January 2020
  • Revise Date: 27 May 2020
  • Accept Date: 19 July 2021
  • First Publish Date: 28 July 2021