Имя материала: Лексикология английского языка

Автор: Антрушина Галина Борисовна

Chapter 6 how english words are made. word-building (continued)




This type of word-building, in which new words are produced by combining two or more stems, is one of the three most productive types in Modern English, the other two are conversion and affixation. Compounds, though certainly fewer in quantity than derived or root words, still represent one of the most typical and specific features of English word-structure.

There are at least three aspects of composition that present special interest.

The first is the structural aspect. Compounds are not homogeneous in structure. Traditionally three types are distinguished: neutral, morphological and syntactic.

In neutral compounds the process of compounding is realized without any linking elements, by a mere juxtaposition of two stems, as in blackbird, shop-window, sunflower, bedroom, tallboy, etc. There are three subtypes of neutral compounds depending on the structure of the constituent stems.

The examples above represent the subtype which may be described as simple neutral compounds: they consist of simple affixless stems.

Compounds which have affixes in their structure are called derived or derivational compounds. E. g. absent-mindedness, blue-eyed, golden-haired, broad-shouldered, lady-killer, film-goer, music-lover, honey-mooner, first-nighter, late-comer, newcomer, early-riser, evil-doer. The productivity of this type is confirmed by a considerable number of comparatively recent formations, such as teenager, babysitter, strap-hanger, four-seater ("car or boat with four seats"), doubledecker ("a ship or bus with two decks"). Numerous nonce-words are coined on this pattern which is another proof of its high productivity: e. g. luncher-out ("a person who habitually takes his lunch in restaurants and not at Home"), goose-flesher ("murder story") or attention getter in the following fragment:


"Dad," I began ... "I'm going to lose my job." That should be an attention getter, I figured.

(From A Five-Colour Buick by P. Anderson Wood)


The third subtype of neutral compounds is called contracted compounds. These words have a shortened (contracted) stem in their structure: TV-set (-program, -show, -canal, etc.), V-day {Victory day), G-man (Government man "FBI agent"), H-bag (handbag), T-shirt, etc.

Morphological compounds are few in number. This 5type is non-productive. It is represented by words in which two compounding stems are combined by a linking vowel or consonant, e. g. Anglo-Saxon, Franko-Prussian, handiwork, handicraft, craftsmanship, Spokesman, statesman (see also p. 115). . In syntactic compounds (the term is arbitrary) we once more find a feature of specifically English word-structure. These words are formed from segments of speech, preserving in their structure numerous traces of syntagmatic relations typical of speech: articles, prepositions; adverbs, as in the nouns lily-of-the-valley, Jack-o f-all-trades, good-for-nothing, mother-in-law, sit-at-home. Syntactical relations and grammatical patterns current in present-day English can be clearly traced in the structures of such compound nouns as pick-me-up, know-all, know-nothing, go-between, get-together, whodunit. The last word (meaning "a detective story") was obviously coined from the ungrammatical variant of the word-group who (has} done it.

In this group of compounds, once more, we find a great number of neologisms, and whodunit is one of them. Consider, also, the two following fragments which make rich use of modern city traffic terms.


Randy managed to weave through a maze of one-way-streets, no-left-turns, and no-stopping-zones ...

(From A Five-Colour Buick by P. Anderson Wood)


"... you go down to the Department of Motor Vehicles tomorrow and take your behind-the-wheel test."



The structure of most compounds is transparent, as it were, and clearly betrays the origin of these words from word-combinations. The fragments below illustrate admirably the very process of coining nonce-words after the productive patterns of composition.


"Is all this really true?" he asked. "Or are you pulling my leg?"

... Charlie looked slowly around at each of the four old faces... They were quite serious. There was no sign of joking or leg-pulling on any of them.

(From Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by R. Dahl)


"I have decided that you are up to no good. I am well aware -that that is your natural condition. But I prefer you to be up to no good in London. Which is more used to up-to-no-gooders."

(From The French Lieutenant's Woman by J. Fowles)


"What if they capture us?" said Mrs. Bucket. "What if they shoot us?" said Grandma Georgina. "What if my beard were made of green spinach?" cried Mr. Wonka. "Bunkum and tommyrot! You'll never get anywhere if you go about what-iffing like that. ...We want no what-iffers around, right, Charlie?"

(From Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by R. Dahl)


The first of the examples presents the nonce-word leg-pulling coined on the pattern of neutral derivational compounds. The what-iffing and what-iffers of the third extract seem to represent the same type, though there is something about the words clearly resembling syntactic compounds: their what-if-nucleus is one of frequent patterns of living speech. As to the up-to-no-gooders of the second example, it is certainly a combination of syntactic and derivational types, as it is made from a segment of speech which is held together by the -er suffix. A similar formation is represented by the nonce-word break fast-in-the-bedder ("a person who prefers to have his breakfast in bed").


* * *


Another focus of interest is the semantic aspect of compound words, that is, the question of correlations of the separate meanings of the constituent parts and the actual meaning of the compound. Or, to put it in easier terms: can the meaning of a compound word be regarded as the sum of its constituent meanings?

To try and answer this question, let us consider the following groups of examples.

(1) Classroom, bedroom, working-man, evening-gown, dining-room, sleeping-car,

reading-room, dancing-hall.

This group seems to represent compounds whose meanings can really be described as the sum of their constituent meanings. Yet, in the last four words we can distinctly detect a slight shift of meaning. The first component in these words, if taken as a free form, denotes an action or state of whatever or whoever is characterized by the word. Yet, a sleeping-car is not a car that sleeps (cf. a sleeping child), nor is a dancing-hail actually dancing (cf. dancing pairs).

The shift of meaning becomes much more pronounced in the second group of examples.

(2) Blackboard, blackbird, football, lady-killer, pick pocket, good-for-nothing, lazybones, chatterbox.

In these compounds one of the components (or both) has changed its meaning: a blackboard is neither a board nor necessarily black, football is not a ball but a game, a chatterbox not a box but a person, and a lady killer kills no one but is merely a man who fascinates women. It is clear that in all these compounds the meaning of the whole word cannot be defined as the sum of the constituent meanings. The process of change of meaning in some such words has gone so far that the meaning of one or both constituents is no longer in the least associated with the current meaning of the corresponding free form, and yet the speech community quite calmly accepts such seemingly illogical word groups as a white blackbird, pink bluebells or an entirely confusing statement like: Blackberries are red when they are green.

Yet, despite a certain readjustment in the semantic structure of the word, the meanings of the constituents of the compounds of this second group are still transparent: you can see through them the meaning of the whole complex. Knowing the meanings of the constituents a student of English can get a fairly clear idea of what the whole word means even if he comes across it for the first time. At least, it is clear that a blackbird is some kind of bird and that a good-for-nothing is not meant as a compliment.

(3) In the third group of compounds the process of deducing the meaning of the whole from those of the constituents is impossible. The key to meaning seems to have been irretrievably lost: ladybird is not a bird, but an insect, tallboy not a boy but a piece of furniture, bluestocking, on the contrary, is a person, whereas bluebottle may denote both a flower and an insect but never a bottle.

Similar enigmas are encoded in such words as man-of-war ("warship"), merry-to-round ("carousel"), mother-of-pearl ("irridescent substance forming the inner layer of certain shells"), horse-marine ("a person who is unsuitable for his job or position"), butter-fingers ("clumsy person; one who is apt to drop things"), wall-flower "a girl who is not invited to dance at a party"), whodunit ("detective story"), straphanger (1. "a passenger who stands in a crowded bus or underground train and holds onto a strap or other support suspended from above"; 2. "a book of light genre, trash; the kind of book one is likely to read when travelling in buses or trains").

The compounds whose meanings do not correspond to the separate meanings of their constituent parts (2nd and 3rd group listed above) are called idiomatic compounds, in contrast to the first group known as non-idiomatic compounds.

The suggested subdivision into three groups is based on the degree of semantic cohesion of the constituent parts, the third group representing the extreme case of cohesion where the constituent meanings blend to produce an entirely new meaning.

The following joke rather vividly shows what happens if an idiomatic compound is misunderstood as non-idiomatic.


Patient: They tell me, doctor, you are a perfect lady-killer.

Dосtоr: Oh, no, no! I assure you, my dear madam, I make no distinction between the sexes.

In this joke, while the woman patient means to compliment the doctor on his being a handsome and irresistible man, he takes or pretends to take the word lady-killer literally, as a sum of the direct meanings of its constituents.

The structural type of compound words and the word-building type of composition have certain advantages for communication purposes.

Composition is not quite so flexible a way of coining new words as conversion but flexible enough as is convincingly shown by the examples of nonce-words given above. Among compounds are found numerous expressive and colourful words. They are also comparatively laconic, absorbing into one word an idea that otherwise would have required a whole phrase (cf. The hotel was full of week-enders and The hotel was full of people spending the week-end there).

Both the laconic and the expressive value of compounds can be well illustrated by English compound adjectives denoting colours (cf. snow-white — as white as snow).

In the following extract a family are discussing which colour to paint their new car.

"Hey," Sally yelled, "could you paint it canary yellow, Fred?"

"Turtle green," shouted my mother, quickly getting into the spirit of the thing. "Mouse grey," Randy suggested. "Dove white, maybe?" my mother asked. "Rattlesnake brown," my father said with a dead-pan look...

"Forget it, all of you," I announced. "My Buick is going to be peacock blue."

(From A Five-Colour Buick by P. Anderson Wood)


It is obvious that the meaning of all these "multi-coloured" adjectives is based on comparison: the second constituent of the adjective is the name of a colour used in its actual sense and the first is the name of an object (animal, flower, etc.) with which the comparison is drawn. The pattern immensely extends the possibilities of denoting all imaginable shades of each colour, the more so that the pattern is productive and a great number of nonce-words are created after it. You can actually coin an adjective comparing the colour of a defined object with almost anything on earth: the pattern allows for vast creative experiments. This is well shown in the fragment given above. If canary yellow, peacock blue, dove white are quite "normal" in the language and registered by dictionaries, turtle green and rattlesnake brown1 are certainly typical nonce-words, amusing inventions of the author aimed at a humorous effect.

Sometimes it is pointed out, as a disadvantage, that the English language has only one word blue for two different colours denoted in Russian by синий and голубой.

But this seeming inadequacy is compensated by a large number of adjectives coined on the pattern of comparison such as navy blue, cornflower blue, peacock blue, chicory blue, sapphire blue, china blue, sky-blue, turquoise blue, forget-me-not blue, heliotrope blue, powder-blue. This list can be supplemented by compound adjectives which also denote different shades of blue, but are not built on comparison: dark blue, light blue, pale blue, electric blue, Oxford blue, Cambridge blue.


* * *


A further theoretical aspect of composition is the criteria for distinguishing between a compound and a word-combination.

This question has a direct bearing on the specific feature of the structure of most English compounds which has already been mentioned: with the exception of the rare morphological type, they originate directly from word-combinations and are often homonymous to them: cf. a tall boy — a tallboy.

In this case the graphic criterion of distinguishing between a word and a word-group seems to be sufficiently convincing, yet in many cases it cannot wholly be relied on. The spelling of many compounds, tallboy among them, can be varied even within the same book. In the case of tallboy the semantic criterion seems more reliable, for the striking difference in the meanings of the word and the word-group certainly points to the highest degree of semantic cohesion in the word: tallboy does not even denote a person, but a piece of furniture, a chest of drawers supported by a low stand.

Moreover, the word-group a tall boy conveys two concepts (1. a young male person; 2. big in size), whereas the word tallboy expresses one concept.

Yet the semantic criterion alone cannot prove anything as phraseological units also convey a single concept and some of them are characterized by a high degree of semantic cohesion (see Ch. 12).

The phonetic criterion for compounds may be treated as that of a single stress. The criterion is convincingly applicable to many compound nouns, yet does not work with compound adjectives:


cf. 'slowcoach, 'blackbird, 'tallboy,

but: 'blue-'eyed, 'absent-'minded, 'ill- 'mannered.


Still, it is true that the morphological structure of these adjectives and their hyphenated spelling leave no doubt about their status as words and not word-groups.

Morphological and syntactic criteria can also be applied to compound words in order to distinguish them from word-groups.

In the word-group a tall boy each of the constituents is independently open to grammatical changes peculiar to its own category as a part of speech: They were the tallest boys in their form.

Between the constituent parts of the word-group other words can be inserted: a tall handsome boy.

The compound tallboy — and, in actual fact, any other compound — is not subject to such changes. The first component is grammatically invariable; the plural form ending is added to the whole unit: tallboys. No word can be inserted between the components, even with the compounds which have a traditional separate graphic form.

All this leads us to the conclusion that, in most cases, only several criteria (semantic, morphological, syntactic, phonetic, graphic) can convincingly classify a lexical unit as either a compound word or a word group.




Consider the following examples.

"... The Great Glass Elevator is shockproof, waterproof, bombproof, bulletproof, and Knidproof1..."

(From Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by R. Dahl)

Lady Malvern tried to freeze him with a look, but you can't do that sort of thing to Jeeves. He is look-proof.

(From Carry on, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse)

Better sorts of lip-stick are frequently described in advertisements as kissproof. Some building materials may be advertised as fireproof. Certain technical devices are foolproof meaning that they are safe even in a fool's hands.

 All these words, with -proof for the second component, stand between compounds and derived words in their characteristics. On the one hand, the second component seems to bear all the features of a stem and preserves certain semantic associations with the free form proof. On the other hand, the meaning of -proof in all the numerous words built on this pattern has become so generalized that it is certainly approaching that of a suffix. The high productivity of the pattern is proved, once more, by the possibility of coining nonce-words after this pattern: look-proof and Knidproof, the second produced from the non-existent stem Knid.

The component -proof, standing thus between a stem and an affix, is regarded by some scholars as a semi-affix.

Another example of semi-affix is -man in a vast group of English nouns denoting people: sportsman, gentleman, nobleman, salesman, seaman, fisherman, countryman, statesman, policeman, chairman, etc.

Semantically, the constituent -man in these words approaches the generalized meaning of such noun-forming suffixes as -er, -or, -ist (e. g. artist), -ite (e. g. hypocrite). It has moved so far in its meaning from the corresponding free form man, that such word-groups as woman policeman or Mrs. Chairman are quite usual. Nor does the statement Lady, you are no gentleman sound eccentric or illogical for the speaker uses the word gentleman in its general sense of a noble upright person, regardless of sex. It must be added though that this is only an occasional usage and that gentleman is normally applied to men.

Other examples of semi-affixes are -land (e. g. Ireland, Scotland, fatherland, wonderland), -like (e. g. ladylike, unladylike, businesslike, unbusinesslike, starlike, flowerlike, etc.), -worthy (e. g. seaworthy, trustworthy, praiseworthy).


Shortening (Contraction)


This comparatively new way of word-building has achieved a high degree of productivity nowadays, especially in American English.

Shortenings (or contracted/curtailed words) are produced in two different ways. The first is to make a new word from a syllable (rarer, two) of the original word. The latter may lose its beginning (as in phone .made from telephone, fence from defence), its ending (as in hols from holidays, vac from vacation, props from properties, ad from advertisement) or both the beginning and ending (as in flu from influenza, fridge from refrigerator).

The second way of shortening is to make a new word from the initial letters of a word group: U.N.O. Падай] from the United Nations Organization, B.B.C. from the British Broadcasting Corporation, M.P. from Member of Parliament. This type is called initial shortenings. They are found not only among formal words, such as the ones above, but also among colloquialisms and slang. So, g. f. is a shortened word made from the compound girl-friend. The word, though, seems to be somewhat ambiguous as the following conversation between two undergraduates clearly shows:


— Who's the letter from?

— My g. f.

— Didn't know you had girl-friends. A nice girl?

— Idiot! It's from my grandfather!


It is commonly believed that the preference for shortenings can be explained by their brevity and is due to the ever-increasing tempo of modern life. Yet, in the conversation given above the use of an ambiguous contraction does not in the least contribute to the brevity of the communication: on the contrary, it takes the speakers some time to clarify the misunderstanding. Confusion and ambiguousness are quite natural consequences of the modern overabundance of shortened words, and initial shortenings are often especially enigmatic and misleading.

Both types of shortenings are characteristic of informal speech in general and of uncultivated speech particularly. The history of the American okay seems to be rather typical. Originally this initial shortening was spelt O.K. and was supposed to stand for all correct. The purely oral manner in which sounds were recorded for letters resulted in O.K. whereas it should have been A.C. or aysee. Indeed, the ways of words are full of surprises.

Here are some more examples of informal shortenings. Movie (from moving-picture), gent (from gentleman), specs (from spectacles), circs (from circumstances, e. g. under the circs), I. 0. Y. (a written acknowledgement of debt, made from I owe you), lib (from liberty, as in May I take the lib of saying something to you?), cert (from certainty, as in This enterprise is a cert if you have a bit of capital), metrop (from metropoly, e. g. Paris is a gay metrop), exhibish (from exhibition), posish (from position).

Undergraduates' informal speech abounds in words of the type: exam, lab, prof, vac, hoi, co-ed (a girl student at a coeducational school or college).


Some of the Minor Types of Modern Word-Building.

Sound-Imitation (Onomatopoeia1)


Words coined by this interesting type of word-building are made by imitating different kinds of sounds that may be produced by animals, birds, insects, human beings and inanimate objects.

It is of some interest that sounds produced by the same kind of animal are frequently represented by quite different sound groups in different languages. For instance, English dogs bark (cf. the R. лаять) or howl (cf. the R. выть). The English cock cries cock-a-doodle-doo (cf. the R. ку-ка-ре-ку). In England ducks quack and frogs croak (cf. the R. крякать said about ducks and квакать said about frogs). It is only English and Russian cats who seem capable of mutual understanding when they meet, for English cats mew or miaow (meow). The same can be said about cows: they moo (but also low).

Some names of animals and especially of birds and insects are also produced by sound-imitation: crow, cuckoo, humming-bird, whip-poor-will, cricket.

The following desperate letter contains a great number of sound-imitation words reproducing sounds made by modern machinery:


The Baltimore & Ohio R. R. Co.,

Pittsburg, Pa.



Why is it that your switch engine has to ding and fizz and spit and pant and grate and grind and puff and bump and chug and hoot and toot and whistle and wheeze and howl and clang and growl and thump and clash and boom and jolt and screech and snarl and snort and slam and throb and soar and rattle and hiss and yell and smoke and shriek all night long when I come home from a hard day at the boiler works and have to keep the dog quiet and the baby quiet so my wife can squawk at me for snoring in my sleep?


      (From Language and Humour by G. G. Pocheptsov.)


There is a hypothesis that sound-imitation as a way of word-formation should be viewed as something much wider than just the production of words by the imitation of purely acoustic phenomena. Some scholars suggest that words may imitate through their sound form certain unacoustic features and qualities of inanimate objects, actions and processes or that the meaning of the word can be regarded as the immediate relation of the sound group to the object. If a young chicken or kitten is described as fluffy there seems to be something in the sound of the adjective that conveys the softness and the downy quality of its plumage or its fur. Such verbs as to glance, to glide, to slide, to slip axe supposed to convey by their very sound the nature of the smooth, easy movement over a slippery surface. The sound form of the words shimmer, glimmer, glitter seems to reproduce the wavering, tremulous nature of the faint light. The sound of the verbs to rush, to dash, to flash may be said to reflect the brevity, swiftness and energetic nature of their corresponding actions. The word thrill has something in the quality of its sound that very aptly conveys the tremulous, tingling sensation it expresses.

Some scholars have given serious consideration to this theory. However, it has not yet been properly developed.




In reduplication new words are made by doubling a stem, either without any phonetic changes as in bye-bye (coil, for good-bye} or with a variation of the root-vowel or consonant as in ping-pong, chit-chat (this second type is called gradational reduplication).

This type of word-building is greatly facilitated in Modern English by the vast number of monosyllables. Stylistically speaking, most words made by reduplication represent informal groups: colloquialisms and slang. E. g. walkie-talkie ("a portable radio"), riff-raff ("the worthless or disreputable element of society"; "the dregs of society"), chi-chi (sl. for chic as in a chi-chi girl).

In a modern novel an angry father accuses his teenager son of doing nothing but dilly-dallying all over the town.

(dilly-dallying — wasting time, doing nothing, loitering)

Another example of a word made by reduplication may be found in the following quotation from The Importance of Being Earnest by O. Wilde:


Lady Bracknell. I think it is high time that Mr. Bunbury made up his mind whether he was going to live or to die. This shilly-shallying with the question is absurd.

(shilly-shallying — irresolution, indecision)


Back-Formation (Reversion)


The earliest examples of this type of word-building are the verb to beg that was made from the French borrowing beggar, to burgle from burglar, to cobble from cobbler. In all these cases the verb was made from the noun by subtracting what was mistakenly associated with the English suffix -er. The pattern of the type to work — worker was firmly established in the subconscious of English-speaking people at the time when these formations appeared, and it was taken for granted that any noun denoting profession or occupation is certain to have a corresponding verb of the same root. So, in the case of the verbs to beg, to burgle, to cobble the process was reversed: instead of a noun made from a verb by affixation (as in painter from to paint), a verb was produced from a noun by subtraction. That is why this type of word-building received the name of back-formation or reversion.

Later examples of back-formation are to butle from butler, to baby-sit from baby-sitter, to force-land from forced landing, to blood-transfuse from blood-transfusion, to fingerprint from. finger printings, to straphang from straphanger.




I. Consider your answers to the following.


1. What is understood by composition? What do we call words made by this type of word-building?

2. Into what groups and subgroups can compounds be subdivided structurally? Illustrate your answer with examples.

3. Which types of composition are productive in Modern English? How can this be demonstrated?

4. What are the interrelationships between the meaning of a compound word and the meanings of its constituent parts? Point out the principal cases and give examples.

5. What are the criteria for distinguishing between a compound and a word-combination?

6. What are the italicized elements in the words given below? What makes them different from affixes? from stems?

statesman, waterproof, cat-like, trustworthy.

7. What are the two processes of making shortenings? Explain the productivity of this way of word-building and stylistic characteristics of shortened words. Give examples.

8. What minor processes of word-building do you know? Describe them and illustrate your answer with examples.


II. Find compounds in the following jokes and extracts and write them out in three columns: A. Neutral compounds. B. Morphological compounds. C. Syntactic compounds.


1. Pat and Jack were in London for the first time. During a tour of the shops in the West End they came to an expensive-looking barber's. "Razors!" exclaimed Pat. "You want one, don't you? There's a beauty there for twenty-five bob,1 and there's another for thirty bob. Which would you sooner have?" "A beard," said Jack, walking off.

2. The children were in the midst of a free-for-all.2 "Richard, who started this?" asked the father as he came into the room. "Well, it all started when David hit me back."

3. That night, as they cold-suppered together, Barmy cleared his throat and looked across at Pongo with a sad sweet smile. "I mean to say, it's no good worrying and trying to look ahead and plan and scheme and weigh your every action, because you never can tell when doing such-and-such won't make so-and-so happen — while, on the other hand, if you do so-and-so it may just as easily lead to such-and-such."

4. When Conan Doyle arrived in Boston, he was at once recognized by the cabman whose cab he engaged. When he was about to pay his fare, the cabman said:

"If you please, sir, I should prefer a ticket to your lecture."

Conan Doyle laughed. "Tell me," he said, "how you knew who I was and I'll give you tickets for your whole family."

"Thank you, sir," was the answer. "On the side of your travelling-bag is your name."

5. An old tramp sailed up to the back door of a little English tavern called The George and Dragon and beckoned to the landlady.

"I've had nothing to eat for three days," he said. "Would you spare an old man a bite of dinner?"

"I should say not, you good-for-nothing loafer," said the landlady and slammed the door in his face.

The tramp's face reappeared at the kitchen window. "I was just wonderin'," he said, "if I could 'ave a word or two with George."

6. "Where are you living. Grumpy?" "In the Park. The fresh-air treatment is all the thing nowadays."

7. Arriving home one evening a man found the house locked up. After trying to get in at the various windows on the first floor he finally climbed upon the shed roof and with much difficulty entered through a second-story window. On the dining-room table he found a note from his absent-minded wife: "I have gone out. You'll find the key under the door mat."

8. One balmy, blue-and-white morning the old woman stood in her long, tidy garden and looked up at her small neat cottage. The thatch on its tip-tilted roof was new and its well-fitting doors had been painted blue. Its newly-hung curtains were gay... Bird-early next morning Mother Farthing went into the dew-drenched garden. With billhook and fork she soon set to work clearing a path to the apple tree.

(From Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by R. Dahl)


III. Identify the neutral compounds in the word combinations given below and write them out in 3 columns:

A. Simple neutral compounds. B. Neutral derived compounds. C. Neutral contracted compounds.


An air-conditioned hall; a glass-walled room; to fight against H-bomb; a loud revolver-shot; a high-pitched voice; a heavy topcoat; a car's windshield; a snow-white handkerchief; big A. A. guns; a radio-equipped car; thousands of gold-seekers; a big hunting-knife; a lightish-coloured man; to howl long and wolf-like; to go into frantic U-turns;1 to fix M-Day2.


IV. Arrange the italicized compounds in the following extracts into two groups: A. Idiomatic compounds. B. Non-idiomatic compounds. Define the structural type of the compounds under study.


1. The mammal1 husband originates from a man in love. Love is only a temporary transient state, which is lost altogether when the man in love turns into a husband. All this is very much the same as the spring love-singing with blackbirds. In the morning, scarcely out of bed, the husband is surprised at being served very hot tea. This proves that his knowledge of the elementary laws of physics is very poor, for he is obviously unaware of the fact that water boils at 100 °C, irrespective of one's being or not being, in a hurry to get to work. Then he shows his annoyance if he has not got a fresh handkerchief. At such moments he is venomous, and it is better to keep out of his way. 2. We've some plain, blunt things to say and we expect the same kind of answers, not a lot of double-talk. 3. Picture the dining-room of the John Grier Home with its oil-cloth-covered tables, and wooden-handed knives and forks. 4. Being a matchmaker is one thing. A match-breaker is something other. 5. She could imagine the polite, disinterested tone, the closed-down, non-giving thin expression on the thin, handsome lady-killer face, still tan with the mountain sun. 6. Crane's brother had played fullback on the football team, but the brothers had rarely been seen together, and the fact that the huge, graceful athlete and the scarecrow bookworm were members of the same family seemed like a freak of eugenics to the students who knew them both. 7. On a giant poster above the entrance, a gigantic girl in a nightgown pointed a pistol the size of a cannon at a thirty-foot-tall man in a dinner jacket. 8. So the fellow took Barmy out, and there was the girl sitting in a two-seater. The girl stared at him, dropping a slice of bread-and-butter in her emotion.


V. Arrange the compounds given below into two groups;

A. Idiomatic. B. Non-idiomatie. Say whether the semantic change within idiomatic compounds is partial or total. Consult the dictionary if necessary.


Light-hearted, adj.; butterfly, n.; homebody, n.; cabman, п.; medium-sized, adj.; blackberry, п.; bluebell, п.; good-for-nothing, adj.; wolf-dog, п.; highway, n.; dragonfly, n.; looking-glass, n.; greengrocer, n.; bluestocking, n.; gooseberry, n.; necklace, n.; earthquake, n.; lazy-bones, n.


VI. Identify the compounds in the word-groups below. Say as much as you can about their structure and semantics.


Emily, our late maid-of-all-work; a heavy snowfall; an automobile salesman; corn-coloured chiffon; vehicle searchlights, little tidbit2 in The Afro-American;3 German A. A. fire;4 a born troubleshooter; to disembark a stowaway,5 an old schoolmate; a cagelike crate; a slightly stoop-shouldered man; a somewhat matter-of-fact manner; a fur-lined boot; to pick forget-me-nots and lilies-of-the-valley; a small T-shirt; a sportscar agency.


VII. Say whether the following lexical units are word-groups or compounds. Apply the criteria outlined in the foregoing text to motivate your answer.


Railway platform, snowman, light dress, traffic light, railway station, landing field, film star, white man, hungry dog, medical man, landing plane, top hat, distant star, small house, green light, evening dress, top student, bluecoat,1 roughhouse,2 booby trap;3 black skirt, medical student, hot dog, blue dress, U-shaped trap, black shirt4.


VIII. Find shortenings in the jokes and extracts given below and specify the method of their formation.


1. Brown: But, Doc, I got bad eyes! Doctor: Don't worry. We'll put you up front.5 You won't miss a thing.


2. "How was your guard duty yesterday, Tom?"

"О. К. I was remarkably vigilant."

"Were you?"

"Oh, yes. I was so vigilant that I heard at once the relief sergeant approaching my post though I was fast asleep."


3. "Excuse me, but I'm in a hurry! You've had that phone 20 minutes and not said a word!" "Sir, I'm talking to my wife."


4. Two training planes piloted by air cadets collided in mid-air. The pilots who had safely tailed out were interrogated about the accident:

"Why didn't you take any evasive action to avoid hitting the other plane?"

"I did," the first pilot explained, "I tried to zigzag. But he was zigzagging, too, and zagged when I thought he was going to zig."


5. Any pro6 will tell you that the worst thing possible is to overrehearse.


6. Hedy cut a giant birthday cake and kissed six GIs7  whose birthday it was.


7. A few minutes later the adjutant and the O. D.1 and a disagreeable master sergeant were in a jeep tearing down the highway in pursuit of the coloured convoy.


IX. What is the type of word-building by which the italicized words in the following extracts were made?


1. If they'd anything to say to each other, they could hob-nob2 over beef-tea in a perfectly casual and natural manner. 2. No sooner had he departed than we were surrounded by cats, six of them, all miaowing piteously at once. 3. A man who has permitted himself to be made a thorough fool of is not anxious to broadcast the fact. 4. "He must be a very handsome fellow," said Sir Eustace. "Some young whipper-snapper3 in Durban." 5. In South Africa you at once begin to talk about a stoep — I do know what a stoep is — it's the thing round a house and you sit on it. In various other parts of the world you call it a veranda, a piazza, and a ha-ha4 6. All about him black metal pots were boiling and bubbling on huge stoves, and kettles were hissing, and pans were sizzling, and strange iron machines were clanking and spluttering. 7.1 took the lib of barging in. 8. I'd work for him, slave for him, steal for him, even beg or borrow for him. 9. I've been meaning to go to the good old exhibish for a long time. 10. Twenty years of bulling had trained him to wear a mask.


X. Define the particular type of word-building process by which the following words were made and say as much as you can about them.


A mike; to babysit; to buzz; a torchlight; homelike; theatrical; old-fashioned; to book; unreasonable; SALT;5 Anglo-American; to murmur; a pub; to dillydally; okay; eatable; a make; a greenhorn;6 posish; a dress coat;7 to bang; merry-go-round; H-bag; B.B.C.; thinnish; to blood-transfuse; a go; to quack; M.P.; to thunder; earthquake; D-region8; fatalism; a find.


XI. Read the following extract. Consider the italicized words in respect of a) word-building, b) etymology and say everything you know about each of them.


Dear Kind-Trustee-Who-Sends-Orphans-to-College,9

Here I am! I travelled yesterday for four hours in a train. It's a funny sensation, isn't it? I never rode in one before.

College is the biggest, most bewildering place. I get lost whenever I leave my room.

I love college and I love you for sending me — I'm very, very happy, and so excited every moment of the time, that I can hardly sleep. You can't imagine how different it is from the John Grier Home. I never dreamed there was such a place in the world. I'm feeling sorry for everybody who isn't a girl and who can't come here, I am sure the college you attended when you were a boy couldn't have been so nice.

My room is up in a tower. There are three other girls on the same floor of the tower — a Senior who wears spectacles and is always asking us please to be a little more quiet, and two Freshmen named Sallie McBride and Julia Rutledge Pendleton. Sallie has red hair and a turn-up nose and is quite friendly; Julia comes from one of the first families in New York and hasn't noticed me yet. They room together and the Senior and I have singles.

Usually Freshmen can't get singles; they are very few, but I got one without even asking. I suppose the register didn't think it would be right to ask a. properly brought up girl to room with a foundling. You see there are advantages.

(From Daddy-Long-Legs by J. Webster)


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