Günther, Fritz; Marelli, Marco (2021):
"CAOSS and Transcendence: Modeling Role-Dependent Constituent Meanings in Compounds." Morphology : 1-24.
Journal Article

Many theories on the role of semantics in morphological representation and processing focus on the interplay between the lexicalized meaning of the complex word on the one hand, and the individual constituent meanings on the other hand. However, the constituent meaning representations at play do not necessarily correspond to the free-word meanings of the constituents: Role-dependent constituent meanings can be subject to sometimes substantial semantic shift from their corresponding free-word meanings (such as -bill in hornbill and razorbill, or step- in stepmother and stepson). While this phenomenon is extremely difficult to operationalize using the standard psycholinguistic toolkit, we demonstrate how these as-constituent meanings can be represented in a quantitative manner using a data-driven computational model. After a qualitative exploration, we validate the model against a large database of human ratings of the meaning retention of constituents in compounds. With this model at hand, we then proceed to investigate the internal semantic structure of compounds, focussing on differences in semantic shift and semantic transparency between the two constituents.