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LINGUIST List 17.3495

Sun Nov 26 2006

Diss: Linguistic Theories: Mukai: 'A Comparative Study of Compound ...'

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        1.    Makiko Mukai, A Comparative Study of Compound Words in English, Japanese and Mainland Scandinavian

Message 1: A Comparative Study of Compound Words in English, Japanese and Mainland Scandinavian
Date: 24-Nov-2006
From: Makiko Mukai <makiko.mukaincl.ac.uk>
Subject: A Comparative Study of Compound Words in English, Japanese and Mainland Scandinavian

Institution: Newcastle University
Program: Centre for Research in Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2006

Author: Makiko Mukai

Dissertation Title: A Comparative Study of Compound Words in English, Japanese and Mainland Scandinavian

Linguistic Field(s): Linguistic Theories

Dissertation Director:
Anders Holmberg

Dissertation Abstract:

The aim of this thesis is to propose a structure for compounds,
specifically compound nouns in Japanese, English and Mainland Scandinavian
within the framework of Chomsky's Minimalist Program and Bare Phrase
Structure (Chomsky 1995). The purpose is to show that words are derived in
Narrow Syntax as phrases and that words must have asymmetrical structure,
i.e. a head of the word should be determined.

The proposed structure of a compound noun in the languages in question is
as follows:

(1) [Root [Root + P(x)]]

Structure (1) is derived with the following assumptions in mind.

1. The place of Morphology within the Minimalist Program is argued to be
outside the Lexicon and after the Narrow Syntax. This has led several
linguists to argue that a word is derived in the same way as a phrase.
Moreover, linear order is redundant in the Narrow Syntax, since the
structure determines the word order. As a result, it is not the Right-hand
Head Rule proposed by Williams (1981) which determines the head of a
compound word but the structure does. The Right-hand Head Rule may have a
place in the phonology, though, in stipulating how a word derived in the
Narrow Syntax is spelled out. The rule is formulated by Williams to apply
in Morphology. In most current minimalist theories morphology is after
spell-out. But the head must be determined before spell-out, since it
determines the LF as well as determining aspects of the PF.

2. Nothing prevents us applying Merge at the level of the word as well as
the phrasal level. As Williams' (1981) Right-hand Head Rule cannot be used
within the Minimalist Program, Collins' (2002) definition of head is used
for compound words. According to Collins, a head is a category which has
one or more unsaturated features. Another stipulation taken from Collins
(2202) is that when a lexical item is chosen from the lexical array and
introduced to the derivation, the unsaturated features of this lexical item
must be satisfied before any new unsaturated lexical items are chosen from
the lexical array. The effect of these two assumptions is that when two
categories a and b are merged, only one of them, say a, can have an
unsaturated feature (which is not saturated by a), so a will be the head.

The structure (1) shows the following.

•First, a root without word class features is merged with a Property
feature, the content of which is given by the root.

•The Property feature is represented above as P(roperty) (x) where 'x'
represents the unvalued referential index.

•There are two ways to check P(x): one is assigning x a value, that is an
index, and the other is deleting x. Since the P(x) feature is unsaturated
in the sense that it needs a referential index from either D or DP, it is a
head, and as such it percolates to the dominating node. Then, another root
is merged to form a compound word. As P(x) is the only unsaturated feature
before and/or after the root is merged, it is percolated and it is the head
of the whole compound.

The present theory can account for the syntactic and semantic properties of
a wide range of compounds, particularly noun-noun compounds in English,
Japanese, and Mainland Scandinavian, within a syntactic theory based on
minimalist assumptions.

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