Constructional idioms for bound lexemes

The concept constructional idiom at the word level that was argued for in the preceding sections to be a useful concept for the characterization of affixoids, appears to be applicable to a number of related phenomena, cases in which words and phrases when used as compound constituents have specific properties: (i) complex words that only appear as parts of compounds, (ii) allomorphs of words as compound constituents, and (iii) phrasal constituents. These are discussed in the following subsections.

Complex words as bound elements

Complex words may exhibit the same behaviour as affixoids in the sense that their occurrence is bound to their being embedded in compounds. Consider the German deverbal noun Mach-er ‘mak-er’, discussed in detail in Joeres (1995). Joeres’ observation is that the complex word -macher with the regular meaning ‘maker’ is very productive as part of compounds, whereas it has a lexicalized meaning when used as an autonomous lexeme, namely ‘strong personality who achieves a lot’. Joeres (1995: 151) concludes that -macher can be qualified as a ‘Halbsuffix’, that is, an affixoid. Note, however, that that macher is not one morpheme, as was the case for the affixoids discussed above, but consists of two morphemes, the verbal stem mach- ‘make’ and the agentive suffix -er. Examples of this type of compounding in German are:

(29) with A as first constituent Fit-macher ‘fit-maker’

Krank-macher ‘ill-maker’

Wach-macher ‘awake-maker’

with N as first constituent Baby-macher ‘baby-maker’

Eis-macher ‘ice-maker’

Programm-macher ‘program-maker’

Different from what is at stake with the affixoids discussed in section 3, the meaning of macher in these words is completely regular: it has the meaning ‘entity that causes or creates something’. This meaning, however, is only available within compounds, and not for the word Macher in isolation, which only has the lexicalized meaning mentioned above. In order to account for its bound use, we may assume the following constructional idioms for this class of compounds:

(30) < [Ai [[mach]V er]Nj ]Nk ^ [who causes to be SEMi]k>

< [Ni [[mach]V er]Nj ]Nk ^ [who creates SEMi]k>

These are unifications of two independently motivated word formation schemas, [NN]n or [AN]n on the one hand, and [V-er]N on the other, with the V-slot lexically specified as mach. Note that the interpretation of mach ‘make’ depends on the lexical category of the first constituent: CAUSE with As, CREATE with Ns. These subschemas express the dependence of the use of macher with these meanings on its being embedded in a compound.

There are more cases in Dutch where complex words do not function as words in isolation, or only with a specific meaning (as was the case for German Macher). Examples are compounds headed by the deverbal noun kun-de ‘skill, knowledge’ which has acquired the meaning of ‘science’ when used as compound head:

(31) bodem-kunde ‘soil-science, geology?’ bouw-kunde ‘build-science, architectural science’ dier-kunde ‘animal-science, zoology’ taal-kunde ‘language-science, linguistics’

These and other nouns ending in -kunde denote various sciences. Thus, a specific constructional idiom has developed in Dutch of the form

(32) <[N/V]i [kunde]Nj]Nk ^ [sciencej of SEMi]k

Other examples of derived words that function in similar ways as building blocks of compounds are -aard-ig, -vorm-ig, -zinn-ig. These are denominal adjectives ending in the suffix -ig derived from the following nouns:

(33) aard ‘nature’ vorm ‘form’ zin ‘sense’

The adjectives aardig ‘nice’ and zinnig ‘sensible’ do occur as separate words, but not with the meanings that they have in compounds; the word vormig only occurs as the head of adjectival compounds:

(34) a. boos-aard-ig ‘angry-nature-ed, malignant’

eigen-aard-ig ‘own-nature-ed, peculiar’

b. blad-vorm-ig ‘leaf-shap-ed’ cirkel-vorm-ig ‘circle-shap-ed’

c. diep-zinn-ig ‘deep-sense-ed, profound’ eigen-zinn-ig ‘self-willed’

The bound use of these complex adjectives can be characterized by constructional idioms of the following type:

(35) <[Ai [[aard]Nj igkkk ^ [having property SEMik>

<[Ni [[vormkj igkkk ^ [having formj SEMi]k>

<[Ai [[zinn]Nj ig]A]Ak ^ [having mental disposition with property SEMi]k>

The formal structures of these complex adjectives are unifications of independently motivated morphological structures, AA compounds and complex adjectives of the form [N-ig]A. Yet, we should specify them as part of the hierarchical lexicon, as the denominal adjectives by themselves either do not exist at all, or have a different meaning when used as independent words.

The constituent -aardig may have lost its internal structure for language users, because aardig in isolation means ‘nice’. This lack of transparency can also be observed in the use of the denominal adjective -matig derived from the noun maat ‘measure’. The word matig in isolation means ‘moderate’. As the following examples illustrate, it functions to turn a noun into its corresponding adjective, in which the meaning of maat plays no role:

(36) beroep ‘profession’ beroeps-matig ‘professional’

dwang ‘compulsion’ dwang-matig ‘compulsory’ gevoel ‘instinct’ gevoels-matig ‘instinctive’

kunst ‘art’ kunst-matig ‘artificial’

recht ‘law’ recht-matig ‘legal’

wet ‘law’ wet-matig ‘regular, legal’

The same observation applies to the German equivalent of -aardig, the bound constituent -artig, where the constituent Art ‘character’ is probably no longer

recognized, and -mafiig, the equivalent of -matig, where the meaning of Mafi ‘measure’ is not relevant anymore:

(37) bos-artig ‘bad-natured’ gut-artig ‘good-natured’ grofi-artig ‘great’ gefuhls-mafiig ‘instinctive’ recht-mafiig ‘legal’ gesetz-mafiig ‘regular, legal’

The complex Dutch noun gang-er ‘goer’ is a bound word, only to be used as constituent of compounds, such as:

(38) bedevaart-gang-er ‘pilgrimage-go-er’ kerk-gang-er ‘church-go-er’

Mekka-gang-er ‘Mekka-go-er’

The word ganger cannot be used in isolation. According to the Woordenboek der Nederlandsche Taal, it used to be a word of Dutch that could be used as a free word with the meaning ‘goer’, but this is no longer possible. The class of compounds with -ganger can easily be extended, as the following examples illustrate. In the modifier slot geographical names can be inserted, but also other nouns that denote a destination:

(39) Amsterdam-gang-er ‘Amsterdam-go-er’

Berlijn-gang-er ‘Berlin-go-er’

Heiloo-gang-er ‘Heiloo-go-er’

Parijs-gang-er ‘Paris-go-er’ congres-gang-er ‘conference-go-er’ museum-gang-er ‘museum-go-er’ zee-gang-er ‘sea-go-er’

Hence, the following constructional idiom must be assumed for Dutch:

(40) <[Ni [gang-er^W ^ [goeq to SEMJk>

Note that unlike English goer, the constituent ganger is not derived from the present-day verbal stem ga ‘go’. The noun gang ‘going’ does exist, but gang in ganger is an old infinitive. So even though the suffix -er may be recognized as these words are agent nouns, there is no motivation for a category label for

gang. Hence, ganger is only formally complex, still formally being recognizable as an agent noun.

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