Frankenwords: a cognitive perspective on the interpretation of NOUN-NOUN compounds in English
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NOUN - NOUN compounds have been extensively studied in the past, not only for the reason that they possess a remarkable degree of diversity regarding semantic relationships between their constituents but also because of their complexity as composite structures (Benczes, 2006). In the following study, we intend to delve into English NOUN - NOUN compounds from a cognitive constructional perspective, specifically regarding their form and the emergent structure they create. Previous cognitive linguistic attempts at addressing compounding have yielded a typology based on the occurrence of metaphoric and metonymic extension. Nevertheless, this typology could be improved by addressing heretofore unaddressed vexing matters regarding the complexity of the inner workings of compounding. Hence, we will inquire into NOUN - NOUN compounds as an interpretative result of a blending process, decomposing creativity into observable factors, such as the prototypicality of the components of the compound, their grammatical arrangement, the semantic distance between them, as well as the schematicity of their blending’s generic space. Hence, we will analyse NOUN - NOUN compounds exploring factors such as prototypicality, blending processes, syntactic structure, semantic distance and schematicity of generic space, to see how these factors affect the creation of compounds, the generic space, and the interpretation of the resulting compound. To do this, we selected nouns drawn from 7 superordinate semantic categories, each one with 3 basic level members that were run through the NOW corpus and the online dictionary WordSpy in order to obtain compounds at the subordinate level of a semantic hierarchy. The compounds of each category were then analysed regarding the aforementioned factors in order to reach an intra-categorical and inter-categorical analysis of NOUN - NOUN creative compounding that re-addresses creativity in terms of these factors.
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