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Lexical Structures

Compounding and the Modules of Grammar

Heinz J Giegerich

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Proposes a tripartite structure for the study of grammar comprising the lexicon, the morphology and the syntax

Bringing together the subjects of English compounding and Chomsky’s theory of ‘Lexicalism’, Heinz Giegerich demonstrates in this new study the impossibility of drawing a line between compounds and phrases, and therefore between the lexicon and the syntax, the two grammatical modules of Lexicalism. Proposing a new model of grammatical modularity, where the lexicon and the syntax overlap ‘like slates on a roof’, Giegerich examines long-standing and unresolved questions about the difference between English compounds and phrases. With its detailed study of compound words in English and its comprehensive analysis of Lexicalism’s theoretical framework, Lexical Structures: Compounding and the Modules of Grammar will be of profound interest for all researchers and students with an interest in English linguistics, and in morphological, syntactic or phonological theory.

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Chapter One: The grammar of adjectival attribution
1.1: Introduction
1.2: Lexicalism and the syntax-lexicon continuum of attribution
1.2.1: Intersective vs. subsective attribution
1.2.2: Restrictive vs. non-restrictive attribution
1.2.3: Ascriptive vs. associative attribution
1.3: The stress patterns of attribution
1.4: Summary: the nature of adjectival attribution
Chapter Two: Associative attribution
2.1: Introduction: more on ascription and association
2.2: The morphology and lexical semantics of associative adjectives
2.3: The syntax of associative adjectives
2.4: Candidature for lexical status
2.5: Associative adjectives and the pro-form one
2.6: The stress patterns of associative attribution
Chapter Three: A mythology of fore-stress, end-stress and tree geometry
3.1: Introduction
3.2: The first myth: ‘All phrases have end-stress’
3.3: End-stressed NNs – compounds or phrases?
3.3.1: Background
3.3.2: Fore-stress and end-stress in NNs
3.3.3: End-stressed NNs and the limits of formal prediction
3.3.4: Tendencies for end-stress: attribution, transparency, ascription
3.3.5: Compound stress in Scottish English
3.4: The stress patterns of NNNs
3.4.1: The myth and the facts
3.4.2: Analysis 1: all end-stressed NNs are phrases
3.4.3: Analyses 2 and 3: all NNs are or may be compounds
3.5: Conclusion
Chapter Four: Interlude: the porous nature of lexical stratification
4.1: Introduction
4.2: The nature of lexical strata
4.2.1: Productivity and semantic transparency
4.2.2: Phonological transparency
4.2.3: Embedding and affix ordering
4.2.4: An illustrative example: noun-forming –er
4.3: Brackets and their erasure
4.4: Overlapping strata: unexpected stress preservation and its unexpected failure
4.5: More on stratal overlap
Chapter Five: Lexical integrity?
5.1: On the nature of the lexicon-syntax divide
5.2: The purported integrity of the lexicon
5.2.1: Lexical integrity and bracket erasure
5.2.2: Syntactic operations as diagnostics of phrasal status Co-ordination reduction Pro-one Phrases inside compounds
5.2.3: Listed semantics, regular form
5.2.4: Unlisted semantics: anaphoric compounding
5.3: Compounds in no-man’s land
5.3.1: Lexical non-integrity
5.3.2: Overlapping modules

About the Author

Heinz Giegerich is Professor of English Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His previous publications include Metrical phonology and phonological structure (CUP 1985), English phonology (CUP 1992) and Lexical strata in English (CUP 1999). At EUP he is the editor of the Edinburgh textbooks on the English language and a co-founder and co-editor (with Laurie Bauer and Greg Stump) of the journal Word Structure


There is a great deal of food for thought in the material G. presents. The discussion of different kinds of attribution is clearer than I have seen elsewhere, the problems of trying to distinguish syntactic NNs from lexical NNs by a number of (largely syntactic) tests is carried out in great detail and with thought to the overall pattern of interaction between lexical and syntactic factors, the problems with a modular approach to morphology and syntax are explored in detail by someone who has been an exponent of just such a modular approach, the differences between various compound types are presented clearly. There is no doubt that this is a major contribution to the literature on this area of grammar (and so, incidentally, a promising start for Edinburgh University Press’s new series).

- Laurie Bauer, Victoria University of Wellington

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