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 idu-no1 {ų}2 -sokro-oie3




(she) yesterday 1 { ų1 }2

aborted 3

{ child }


The Interfacial Compound
     Some sequences display properties both of a fully fledged compound and a phrase. Such sequences may be said to belong to the interface between lexis and syntax. cü-vu ‘house-go (= marry (sbj.’ is a classic case in point. cü-vu is a compound by the criteria of Notional No redundancy and Identity Erasure, among others, but it is syntactically sensitive in so far as it forces its animate Direct Object to shed its DO marker viz. -yi (recall that animate direct Objects take -yi).
390 1.  lijisa-no1 loli2 cü-vü-e3
    Lijisa 1 Loli’s2 house-went-to3 (= married)
    i.e., Lijisa1 married3 Loli2

Had cü-vu been syntactically insular or insensitive, in other words, had it been a fully fledged compound, the sentence would have been :


2.  lijisa-no loli-yi cü-vu-e

which is sharply ungrammatical. loli ‘Loli’ functions at the same time as a DO and a determiner in the phrase it forms with a nominal component of a(n) (incipient) compound. Note, en passant, that this dual role of loli ‘Loli’ in 390 has to do with the sov order of sentential constituents. It is impossible for the DO to function both as a DO and a determiner in an svo or a osv language.

Structural Typology

There are eight types of compounds. The parenthesized notation refers to the external distribution class of the compound : (1) NN(N) (2) NN(V) (3) NV(V) (4) NV(N) (5) Vintr N(N) (6) VAdv (N) (7) NVN(N) (8) VV(V).



 mhi-dzü ‘eye-water’ ‘tear(n)’
  cü-hĩ ‘nature-eye’ ‘sun’
phi-hĩ  leg-eye ‘ankle’
  ora-tu desert-domestic bovine ‘camel’
  cü-phe house-top ‘roof’
  cü-pra house-front ‘front courtyard’
dzü-bvü water-box ‘lake’
dzü-khe paper-layer ‘page’
larü-cü paper-house ‘school’



 hĩ-li  eye-one (kali) ‘to wink’

Note that the external distribution class of the compound is different from that of either constituent.


The constituent verb could be transitive, intransitive or causative.


1.  odzü-da water-beat ‘swim’
    koto ho food-not have ‘be poor’
    odzü-akhrü water-pour-on, bathe ‘wash body parts’
    hĩ-rü eye-stare ‘to stare’
    ona-hrü child-conceive ‘to conceive’
    ona-sokro child-abort ‘to abort’
    cü-vu house-go ‘to marry (sbj: fem. sg.)’
    dzü-lü  water-be hot ‘hot-water’
    dzü-ku water-be cold ‘cold-water’


‘be physiologically mature
        (of females)’



 larü-mazhie  ‘paper-cause to fly’ ‘kite’
  cü-so ‘house-be long’ ‘rafter, beamthatsupports
      a house’
  cü-khu ‘house-to guard’ ‘door’
  pi-khu  ‘head-to guard’ ‘pillow’

Note : There is no possibility of a VN compound because Mao is an SOV language.
One could, however, have a V intr N compound.

V Intr N(N)


 kazhie-bvü flying-box ‘aircraft’

Curiously, the form kazhie is itself being increasingly used to mean ‘aircraft’.





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