Synthetic compound

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Synthetic compound is a particular type of compound, viz. compounds whose head is derived from a verb by affixation, and where the non-head fulfills the function of argument or complement of the verb.


The English compounds truck driver, truck driving, fast acting and pan fried are synthetic compounds. Synthetic compounds have played a major role in the development of linguistic theory, since they raise a number a questions concerning the morphology-syntax interface. Another term for synthetic compound is verbal compound.



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  • Roeper, T. 1988. Compound syntax and head movement, Yearbook of morphology 1, 187-228
  • Roeper, T. 1987. Implicit arguments and the head-complement relation, Linguistic Inquiry 18, 267-310
  • Roeper, T. and D. Siegel 1978. A Lexical Transformation for Verbal Compounds, Linguistic Inquiry 9, pp. 199-260
  • Selkirk, E. O. 1982a. The Syntax of Words, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.
  • Spencer, A. 1991. Morphological Theory, Blackwell, Oxford.
  • Sproat, R. 1985. On Deriving the Lexicon, PhD diss. MIT.
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