Studies in German and English morphology with special reference to 'linking elements'
Montgomery, Bettina Isensee
This thesis is primarily concerned with the status and derivation of linking elements in German (and, to a lesser extent, English) compounds, with the question of whether such linking elements are inflectional suffixes, and with the problem associated with the apparently low predictability of such elements. A number of empirical and theoretical issues arising from that analysis are discussed - among those the claim found in recent research whereby German has retained the morphological category 'Stem', while English has lost that category. The thesis is couched in the framework of recent, 'base-driven' Lexical Morphology and Phonology. The data under investigation support a model of lexical stratification which posits three strata for German (root, stem and word-based respectively) and two (root and word-based respectively) for English. Chapter 1 provides an introduction to the theoretical background of the thesis, as well as addressing a number of notions and concepts which appear to be 'established' in linguistics, but which nevertheless have defied full understanding or satisfactory definition - for example the difference between inflection and derivation; the difference between the lexical categories root, stem and word; the issue of storage within a model of the lexicon. Chapter II investigates the morphological category Stem in German by discussing both the morphological processes which give rise to verb stems, and the morphological processes which require verb stems as their input. Chapter III presents an analysis of [[Vstem] [N]] compounding in German: a variety of formations is discussed and the linking element fa/ is analysed in terms of its phonotactic, morphological and semantic triggers. Chapter IV is a comprehensive study of the phenomenon of linking elements in the juncture position of [[N] _ [N]] compounds in German. All linking elements which can be found in German nominal compounds are by appearance a proper subset of nominal inflectional suffixes. It will be argued that, with the exception of -s-, the so-called 'linking elements' in German nominal compounds can be interpreted as inflectional endings. The issue of blocking, where fa/ is blocked from appearing in the juncture in such cases where (1) the noun is homophonous with a verb stem, (2) the noun ends in fa/, is also explored. Chapter V draws comparisons between the German material and compounding in English. Difficulties with the definition of'compound" vs. 'phrase' are discussed. Again, an investigation into the nature of'linking elements' is presented; in light of the German data, the possibility of inflection within compounding is considered.