Publication details [#66722]

Nesset, Tore and Svetlana Sokolova. 2019. Compounds and culture. Conceptual blending in Norwegian and Russian. Review of Cognitive Linguistics 17 (1) : 257–274.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


This study explores compounds from the perspective of conceptual blending (conceptual integration), and argues that the meaning of compounds arises through the interaction of three levels: (i) input spaces established for the head and non-head components, (ii) a blended space involving compression and emergent structure, i.e. elements not imported from the input spaces, and (iii) the language system as a whole and the culture this system is part of. With regard to (iii) this study proposes the “Culture-to-Compound Hypothesis”, according to which compounding can be recruited to represent culturally “novel” content in languages where compounding enjoys a peripheral status in the language system. The examples discussed in the article come from Norwegian (a Germanic language where compounding is a central word-formation mechanism) and Russian (a Slavic language where compounding is more marginal in the language system).