A root-and-pattern approach to word-formation in Chinese
This paper argues that compounding, the major source of word-formation in Chinese, and the root-and-pattern system in Hebrew involve fundamentally the same syntactic operations and observe the same locality constraints, despite the salient differences. More specifically, it addresses the well-known continuum that the coordinate and attributive compounds behave more like words, whereas resultative and subordinate compounds are much more like phrases. It puts forward the idea that this continuum can be accounted for by assuming that there is a distinction between word-formation from roots and word-formation from words, with the former giving rise to more lexical properties and the latter more phrasal properties. The paper also discusses some related issues, such as the correct formulation of word-level phases and the structure of the major types of compound words in Chinese.
Keywords: root-and-pattern, root, Chinese, compounding, Distributed Morphology
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Published online: 11 March 2020
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