Morphology Compounding

New words can be created either by compounding or by derivation, especially nouns, adjectives and, to some extent, verbs. These processes are less productive for pronouns, adverbs, prepositions and conjunctions.

Compounding can be either modifying, e.g. husbdt 'house boat', or copulative, i.e. similar to conjoining, matematisk-naturvetenskaplig 'for mathematics and science'. Modifying compounds consist of two elements, the first being the modifying element, but copulative compounds often consist of several parallel elements, e.g. svensk-norsk-dansk 'Swedish-Norwegian-Danish'. Compounds are written in one word, but especially in copulative compounds and after proper names hyphens are often used to make the structure clear, e.g. Kurosawa-film 'Kurosawa movie'.

Special linking morphemes, an -s- or a vowel, are sometimes attached to the first element, e.g. land-s-ting 'county council', las-e-bok 'textbook', kvinn-o-arbete 'women's work'. In some cases, there are special allomorphs of the first element to be used in compounds, e.g. lant-bruk 'agriculture' from land 'land'. The use of linking morphemes is lexically marked, and the same first element can take an -s- in some compounds and be used alone in others, e.g. dag-s-inkomst 'daily income', dag-tid 'day time'. The -s- is also used when the first element of the compound is complex in itself (compound or derived), e.g. talspr&k-s-data 'data on spoken language', avgift-s-fri 'free of charge', parkering-s-forbud 'parking prohibition'. The main exceptions to this rule are first elements ending in /s, J7 or a cluster containing one of these phonemes, e.g. sjukhus-byggnad 'hospital building', uppmarsch-order 'deployment order', humanist-overskott 'humanist surplus', or ending in a vowel or in an unstressed vowel + /r, 1, n/, e.g. stortd-nagel 'big-toe nail', forsommar-natt 'night in early summer'.

Typical compounds have primary stress on the first element and secondary stress on the second element, even if the second element is semantically and syntactically the head of the compound, e.g. xblodxrdd 'blood red', xupp,stalla 'put up'.

Sometimes, the primary stress is on the last element: (a) in contracted phrases, e.g.forgatmig'ej 'forget-me-not' (and here the first element can be the head element, e.g. kryp'in 'cosy corner'); (b) in additive numerals, e.g. trettio Jem '35'; (c) in compounds consisting of three or more constituents, e.g. OECD-landerna 'the OECD countries'. But in the last case all elements often have equal stress, e.g. norskt-danskt-svenskt samarbete 'Norwegian-Danish-Swedish cooperation'.

Nouns and participles are more easily compounded than verbs, cf. tomgdng 'idle running' - gdpd tomgdng 'run idle', snabbgdende 'fast' - gd snabbt 'go fast'.

Phrases do not normally occur within word formations. If they do, hyphens are often used between the words inside the word, or at least after the phrase, e.g. ta det lugnt-attityd '(lit.) take it easy-attitude'. The phrase can also be reformulated into a compound, e.g. ordhdllig 'keeping one's word' from hdlla ord, tremotorig 'with three motors', cf. med tre motorer.

Inflectional endings can occur inside a compound in a few cases only, e.g. the neuter -1 in copulative compounds, or a plural ending in compounds with a numeral in the first element like femdagarsvecka 'five-day week'.


New nouns, adjectives and verbs are easily formed by derivation. Most derivational affixes are suffixes, but some prefixes are used. The last element (stem or suffix) determines the word class of the derivation. Some derivational affixes are unstressed, while others carry a secondary stress, like the last element of a typical compound. Still others carry the main stress of the word, thereby removing the stress from the stem.

Prefixing: be-lagga 'cover\for-tala 'defame', xo-xradd 'fearless', xmiss-jag 'mistake'. It is often hard to draw a borderline between prefixing and compounding, e.g.1kvasi-popujar, xmini-xraknare 'mini-calculator'.

Noun formation with suffixes: sok-ande 'search', bo-ende 'living', overfor-ing 'transport', las-ning 'reading', bak-else 'pastry', frukt-an 'fear', realisation 'sale', brygg-exri 'brewery', xvag-xhet 'vagueness', xkdr-xlek 'love', 'rike-xdom 'richness', xmoder-xskap 'motherhood', individual-Vtet 'individuality', modern-ism 'modernism', lop-are 'runner', spekul-ant 'prospective buyer', kontrah-ent 'party', komment-ator 'commentator', dans-or 'dancer', sol-ist 'soloist', vek-ling 'weakling', hdrd-ing 'tough guy', feg-is 'coward', somm-erska 'dress-maker', fin-ska 'Finnish woman/language', prost-inna 'dean's wife'.

Adjective formation with suffixes: ljud-lig 'loud', lust-ig 'funny', sjalv-isk 'selfish', syn-sk 'para-normal', minim-al 'minimal', individ-uxell 'individual', represent-axtiv 'representative', nerv-os 'nervous', enarm-ad 'one-armed', xstdnds-xmassig 'conformable', xtra-xaktig 'wooden-like', lspar-xsam 'economical', lefterxhang-sen 'clinging', xdel-%bar 'divisible', diskut-abel 'debatable'.

Verb formation with suffixes: sdg-a 'saw', telefon-era 'telephone', legalist era 'legalize'.

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