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Co-Compounds and Natural Coordination$
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Bernhard Wälchli

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199276219

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199276219.001.0001

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A Semantic Classification of Co-compounds

A Semantic Classification of Co-compounds

(p.135) 5 A Semantic Classification of Co-compounds
Co-Compounds and Natural Coordination

Bernhard Wälchli

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents a semantic classification of co-compounds based on the semantic relationship between parts and whole, drawing mainly on material from central Eurasian languages. A distinction between basic and non-basic co-compounds is made, and how different types of co-compounds can develop from each other diachronically is discussed. Several phenomena similar to co-compounds are discussed, viz. appositional compounds, ideophone compounds, reduplication, and echo-words, and how these are related to co-compounds is considered. Co-compounds are an ideal field for the study of lexico-semantic relationships and processes in real language use. It is argued that synonymy has usually to be considered as contextual synonymy rather than complete synonymy. The chapter discusses how the meaning of parts of co-compounds are sharpened in the context by contextual sharpening processes, such as pair sharpening and synonymic sharpening. Characteristic contexts motivating the use of co-compounds, such as generalization, non-referentiality, and distributivity, are explored.

Keywords:   lexical semantics, synonymy, contextual sharpening, appositional compounds, ideophones, reduplication, echo-words, generalization, distributivity

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