Compound (linguistics)

Sign languages also have compounds. They are created by combining two or more sign stems.


Appositional compounds are lexemes that have two (contrary) attributes that classify the compound.

All natural languages have compound nouns. The positioning of the words (i.e. the most common order of constituents in phrases where nouns are modified by adjectives, by possessors, by other nouns, etc.) varies according to the language. While Germanic languages, for example, are left-branching when it comes to noun phrases (the modifiers come before the head), the Romance languages are usually right-branching.

A type of compound that is fairly common in the Indo-European languages is formed of a verb and its object, and in effect transforms a simple verbal clause into a noun.

Verb–verb compounds are sequences of more than one verb acting together to determine clause structure. They have two types:

Likewise in Hindi: तेरे को मार डालेंगे tere ko mār DāleNge, lit. "we will kill-throw you").
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Because a compound is understood as a word in its own right, it may in turn be used in new compounds, so forming an arbitrarily long word is trivial. This contrasts to Romance languages, where prepositions are more used to specify word relationships instead of concatenating the words. As a member of the Germanic family of languages, English is unusual in that compounds are normally written in separate parts. This would be an error in other Germanic languages such as Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, German and Dutch. However, this is merely an orthographic convention: As in other Germanic languages, arbitrary noun phrases, for example "girl scout troop", "city council member", and "cellar door", can be made up on the spot and used as compound nouns in English too.