Some Further Observations on the Spelling of English Compounds

Authors

  • Stanimir Rakić University of Belgrade

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.4312/elope.7.1.8-26

Keywords:

English compounds, spelling, syllables, morphological structure, phonotactic transitions, factors ranking

Abstract

This paper explores the main factors which determine the spelling of English N+N compounds. On the basis of a corpus extracted from LDCE (2000) and LDCE (2003), I discuss the following factors, which may have an influence on the spelling of English N+N compounds: the number of syllables, the morphological structure of the first constituent of compounds and the nature of phonotactic transition at the morpheme boundary. The analysis shows that the first two factors exert major influences on the spelling of compounds, while the influence of the third factor varies depending on the number of syllables. In the examined corpus, very few compounds with more than four syllables are spelled solid. The majority of two-syllable compounds are spelled solid under all circumstances, while only 74 four-syllable compounds are spelled solid. The highest percentage of two-syllable compounds are spelled open (49.7%) if the first constituent ending in a consonant builds a consonant cluster at the morpheme boundary. The majority of three-syllable compounds are spelled open unless the first constituent ends in a schwa. The proposed analysis of the extracted corpus shows varied influence of different factors and enables us to establish their partial ranking.

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Published

17.05.2010

How to Cite

Rakić, S. (2010). Some Further Observations on the Spelling of English Compounds. ELOPE: English Language Overseas Perspectives and Enquiries, 7(1), 8–26. https://doi.org/10.4312/elope.7.1.8-26