Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Linguistics
This thesis investigates the linking element that sometimes appears in Swedish compounds made up of three noun stems, also called complex nominal compounds. I present a comprehensive analysis of Swedish compounding and the nature of the linking element, and then argue that the appearance of the linking element, typically -s-, in complex nominal compounds is predictable. This thesis proposes that the linking element is a marker of a particular syntactic structure, and thereby a particular linear ordering of the nouns inside a complex compound. Two previous syntactic proposals (Josefsson, 1998; Mukai, 2008) for the linking element and Swedish complex compounds are discussed, and I argue that these proposals are partly problematic due to their application of Kayne's (1994) antisymmetry theory of syntax. I discuss Kayne's antisymmetry theory, with its restrictions to asymmetric c-command, and offer a solution to the problem found in the previous proposals. I contend that antisymmetry theory can account for both the subword structure and linearization of Swedish complex nominal compounds with and without the linking element.