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The Semantics of Word Formation and Lexicalization$
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Pius ten Hacken and Claire Thomas

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780748689606

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748689606.001.0001

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Semantic and formal structure

Semantic and formal structure

a corpus-based study of Swedish NN compounds and their French counterparts

(p.102) Chapter 6 Semantic and formal structure
The Semantics of Word Formation and Lexicalization

Maria Rosenberg

Edinburgh University Press

The study addresses the semantics of word formation from a contrastive perspective. Swedish often uses NN compounds to express combined concepts in cases where French uses lexicalized constructions or syntactic phrases. The objective is to examine Swedish NN compounds and corresponding constructions in French with regard to formal and semantic structure. A parallel corpus of Swedish and French versions of minutes from European Parliament debates has been compiled. The method consists in extracting and analysing all Swedish NN compounds (nearly 1,000) along with their French counterparts in the corpus. The analysis confirms that Swedish NN compounds manifest a multitude of semantic relations, and that French uses several different constructions in corresponding cases. NA and N de N phrases, the two most frequent French counterparts, exhibit almost all the semantic relations expressed by the Swedish compounds. Inversely, two of the most frequent semantic relations, PURPOSE and CLASSIFY, are rendered by nearly all the French constructions. Furthermore, French NN constructions are rarely attested and considerably more semantically rigid compared to Swedish NN compounds.

Keywords:   formal structure, French, Swedish, parallel corpus, compounding, nominal construction, semantic structure, word formation

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