LINGUIST List 6.877

Mon 26 Jun 1995

Sum: [N+V] verbal compounds

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Message 1: Summary and Acknowledgments: [N+V] verbal compounds

Date: Wed, 21 Jun 1995 13:41:20 Summary and Acknowledgments: [N+V] verbal compounds
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Subject: Summary and Acknowledgments: [N+V] verbal compounds

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In March, we sent a message about [N+V] verbal compounds. We were
working on this kind of compounds in Catalan and we wished to know
what happen in other languages. We also asked for references. We
received some messages. We briefly sum them up in 1. In 2. we list
the people which answer us and, although we thank them personaly, we
(re) thank them.

 Our request said something like this:

 "We are two resarchers at the Universitat de Girona (SP) and we
are working on a kind of Catalan verbal compounding. We sumarize tha
characteristics of these compounds here below. We are interested in
other VO languages with the same (or similar) process of verb


 To be more clear we enumerate the relevant characteristics of our

 1. First of all, we must say that Catalan is a VO language.
 2. Our compounding looks like a process of Noun Incorporation
where the incorporated noun within the lexical item is the ineternal
argument in the syntactic structure. See (1):

 (1) a. El cacador trenca la cama de l'ocell.
 the hunter breaks the leg of the bird
 b. El cacador camtrenca l'ocell.
 the hunter leg+breaks the bird

 3. Nevertheless, the noun-incorporation doestn't affect to the
capacity of the verb of assigning acusative case, this is, the
complex verb remains transitive.
 4. This kind of "noun-incorporation" is only possible when the
noun incorporated is a
in inalienable possession noun (IPN) and the new internal argument of
the complex verb is the possessor. See (2) and (3):

 (2) a. corferir
 to heat+hurt
 b. colltorcer
 to neck+twist

 (3) a. *cadiratrencar
 to chair+break
 to iron+twist

 5. We hypothesise that the IPN acsts as a kind of modifier in the
complex verbal form and it doesn't act as a verbal argument"

 Most of the people gave us references, they are listed below.
Most of the answers coincide with the belief that this kind of
verbal compounds are backformations from adjectives( in -er) or
nominal compounds. Then "to baby sit" comes from "baby sitter" for
example. Another repeated idea is that they aren't productive in
languages as English, or Romance languages. Nevertheless, we still
claim that both questions, the productiviy and the
backformation, are not so clear in Catalan. Bertienetto notes that
maybe there is a relation between this kind of nominal incorporation
and a progressive aspect (it has been also noted in the literature
about the theme; see, for example Miller G. (1993): Complex Verb
Formation, J. Benjamins.). J. Alvarez sent to us an interesting paper
on incorporation and possessor ascension in Guajiro. In that
language, not only INP are able to be incorported but also other
kind of nouns.

 We haven't demonstrated our hypothesis yet but we are carry on
with our research and any comment is always welcome.


ALVAREZ, Jose (1994): "Estudios de Linguistica Guajira". Gobernacion
del Estado de Zulia, Maracaibo, Venezuela.

GAVARRO, Anna (1990) :Syntactic Theory and the Grammar of Catalan
Compounds, PhDiss, University of Edinburg.

KLINGEBIEL, Kathryn (1989): Noun+Verb Compounding in Western Romance.
Berkeley, University of California Press.

ROBINSON, Peter (1988): "Universals of word formation processes:
noun incorporation in the acquisition of Samoan as a second language"

VELAZQUEZ-CASTILLO, Maura (1993): The Grammar of Inalienability:
Possession and Noun Incorporation in Parguayan Guarani. PhDiss,
University of California, San Diego.


 Jose Alvarez (Universidad de Zulia,
 Pier Marco Bertinetto (Scuola Normale Superiore dei Pisa,
 George Aaron Broadwell (SUNY-Albany,
 Anna Gavarro (Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona,
 Jose Ignacio Hualde (University of Illinois,
 Suzanne Kemmer (University of California, San Diego,
 Arantza Martinez (Univerisitat del Pais Basc,
 Peter Robinson (University of Queensland,
 Max Wheeler (Univerity of Sussex,

Olga Fullana (
Lluisa Gracia (
Univerittat de Girona
Dept. Filologia i Filosofia
Pl. Ferrater Mora, 1
E-17071 Girona
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