Back-formed compound words
Asensio Garciandia, Amaia
Back-formation and compounding constitute two morphological processes of word-formation that, on the one hand, can coalesce, and on the other hand, can collide. The central aim of this paper is to explain back-formation as belonging to the set of word-formation processes existing in the English language. Likewise, the paper also aims to approach compounding from three different perspectives: as being problematic towards the notion of wordhood, as the morphological process it constitutes, and as a process which is highly present within back-formation. For that purpose, the structure of the paper attempts to reproduce the order in which back-formation takes place as a morphological process, i.e. backwards. Indeed, the concept of ‘word’ is firstly presented in order to establish a problematic notion also addressed in relation to compounding later in the paper. Secondly, inflection and derivation are defined in order to locate word-formation processes and compounding within derivation. Finally, I discuss whether back-formation constitutes a word-formation process on its own or not. The conclusions drawn show how the notion of wordhood needs to be explained from a holistic perspective —i.e. from the different sub-branches of grammar— in order to get defined in a non-problematic manner. Nonetheless, examples of Compounding have brought counter-evidence to more than one of those definitions. In fact, compounding being a highly productive morphological process, it has also been proven to be a problematic notion in the literature in terms of structure, stress pattern, etc. Moreover, back-formation has been backed up with evidence as being a word-formation process on its own, instead of, as some scholars have asserted, being a mix of other word-formation processes. In addition, there is a huge amount of back-formed compound words in English; but compounding and back-formation directly differ on the fact that while compounding is the result of summing lexemes, backformation is the result of removing affixes.