A Contrastive Study of English and Chinese Synthetic Compounds

Wei WANG, Weihong ZHOU


The current research compares the distributions of OV/VO patterns in English and Chinese synthetic compounds in a quantitative way and attempts to explain the mechanisms of the two patterns of compounds in English and Chinese. Both English and Chinese adopt SVO as their basic word order. However, the interface of syntax and morphology is more clear-cut in English than in Chinese. VO order prevails in English syntax. But VO order must be transformed into OV order in morphology. VO order is quite unproductive in English morphology. Compared with English, the boundary between morphology and syntax is rather vague in Chinese. The formation of Chinese compounds could be explained by the theory of “syntax-as-morphology”, i.e., the VO order of syntax is directly copied by morphology in Chinese. The mechanism of Chinese synthetic compounds provides evidence for the hypothesis of “syntax as morphology”.


OV; VO; Synthetic compounds; Pattern

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/10375


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