Publication details [#9443]

Rubio Cuenca, Francisco. 2004. Microcognitive analysis of noun-noun compounds in a present-day English lexicon. Spain. 542 pp.


This piece of research centres upon a detailed analysis of the internal structure of noun-noun compounds extracted from a corpus of present-day English. Our theoretical approach has been based on a variety of theories and basic principles within the field of cognitive linguistics and microcognition: Langacker's Cognitive Grammar, the Theory of Conceptual Metaphor as proposed by Lakoff and Johnson, Turner and Fauconnier's Theory of Conceptual Integration as well as Pustejovsky's Generative Lexicon. All of these approaches have been pervasively influenced by a background on connectionism. The author has carried out a detailed analysis of a set of compounds according to its morphological, syntactic, semantic, cognitive and pragmatic features as each element of the compound is inserted into its 'contextual slot' within the nominal composition construction. One of the critical findings has been the reinforcement of the fallacy of mass-count opposition in nouns. In this sense, noun compounds have helped reveal the real nature of nouns in general, as they are relatively mass or count within a countability scale based on the prototype. On the other hand, the conjunction of a conceptual context and a textual context within the contextual slot are essential for an adequate interpretation of a lexical unit. The contextual slot has thus been depicted as a container for a linguistic type, featuring a high degree of specificity with symbolic implications. The author has also described the basic structure of the nominal composition construction (NCC) which is made up of two contextual slots: one slot for the compound's internal modifier (M i ) and another for the compound's head (H n ). The conceptual integration between the two components of a compound, the concept of emergence and the fact the many compounds have a well-delimited metaphorical and/or metonymical structure are also some of the interesting findings of this research. The author has concluded that a noun-noun compound is a conceptually-integrated linguistic unit, functionally and semantically autonomous in relation with its two components. (Dissertation Abstracts)