First Sister Principle

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First Sister Principle is a generalization formulated in Roeper & Siegel (1978) which says that All verbal compounds are formed by incorporation of a word in first sister position of the verb (where first sister position means that the non-head of the verbal compound must be a word which can appear immediately after the verb in a corresponding verb phrase).
The FSP is intended to account for (i) the relationship between he drives a truck, truck driver, and driver of trucks, (ii) the difference in well-formedness between truck driver, on the one hand, and *quick driver (next to drive a truck quickly), and *child driver (next to a child drives a truck) on the other. Roeper & Siegel propose that synthetic compounds (e.g. truck driver) are derived from lexical representations which resemble verbal phrases (in our example drive a truck) by means of a number of lexical transformations. See First Order Projection Condition.


Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics


  • Roeper, T. and D. Siegel 1978. A Lexical Transformation for Verbal Compounds, Linguistic Inquiry 9, pp. 199-260
  • Spencer, A. 1991. Morphological Theory, Blackwell, Oxford.