Jussi Niemi

Compounds in Finnish

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Compounds have a high lexical (dictionary) frequency in Finnish, since over one half of dictionary items tend to be compounds. Moreover, the textual frequency of compounds in Finnish is also high, and compounding is productively used, since well over one half of Finnish compounds in texts are hapaxes. Structurally, Finnish compounding is also rich, since long compounds are one characteristic of this language. Moreover, the language allows compound-internal infl ection, a feature not typical of SAE languages: e.g., tö-i-hin+men-o lit. work-pl-illative+go-ing 'going to work' and tö-i-stä+pal-uu lit. workpl-elative+return-ing 'coming back from work'. The structural analyses are here complemented with (dictionary) frequency analyses of nominal, adjectival and verbal compounds made up of two lexical components. All three types of compounds display a preference for initial components belonging to nominal categories (i.e., noun, adjective). As for the morphological structure of the initial component, in a fairly high number of cases it contains compound-internal inflectional marking, with verbs showing the widest repertoire of these markers (cf. deverbal nouns in the examples above).


  • Morphology
  • word-formation
  • compounds
  • corpus analysis
  • Finnish


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