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Greek Compounds of the Type ισóεoς 'Equal to a God', αξιóλoγoς 'Worthy of Note', απειρoμαχας 'Ignorant of War', etc.

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In the majority of Greek compounds the head occurs on the right. Within this system, a number of left-oriented categories are tolerated, chiefly preposition- and verb-first compounds, but also a handful of minor groups. This article aims to provide a more thorough appraisal of a specific subtype of left-oriented compounds: those showing an adjectival head (type ισóεoς, αξιoλoγoς, etc.). It first provides an overview of the various types of left-oriented compounds in Greek (section 2). It then assesses the claim that adjectival left-oriented compounds derive from left-oriented syntactic phrases by supplying a full corpus of such forms, and comparing them to existing syntagms of the type adjective plus noun (section 3). The subsequent sections investigate the autonomous morphological reasons behind the left-headedness of such compounds, which the syntactic model does not adequately explain. Section 4.1 addresses the question of why such compounds could not have been right-oriented. Section 4.2 identifies the morphological features which—as in the case of prepositional compounds—characterise adjectives in left-oriented compounds, and are largely responsible for their placement on the left.

Affiliations: 1: St John's College, Oxford OX1 3JP, UK


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