Antonio Fabregas Irene Lami

Not all nouns are equal: right-headed deverbal compounds in Italian and Spanish

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In this article, we compare two compounding structures in Spanish and Italian that have been described as consisting of a noun and a predicate, where the former has been argued to be interpreted as an argument of the latter: the VN structure (Sp. lavaplatos It. lavapiatti “dish washerµ) and the NV structure (Sp. videovigilanci It. videosorveglianza, “video surveillanceµ). We show that the differences between the two types of compounds are larger than previously noted, and are not simply restricted to the position of the head.We will argue that the differences are due to the nominal part of VN compounds having more internal complexity than the apparently equivalent member of NV compounds: the first is an individualised noun in an argument position and the second is a predicate adjoined to the compound head.


  • compounding
  • head directionality
  • adjunction
  • argument
  • coreference


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