Head Faithfulness in Lexical Blends: A Positional Approach to Blend Formation Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Shaw, Katherine Elaine
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Linguistics
  • This thesis applies Positional Faithfulness theory (Beckman 1998) to the problem of lexical blending in English. Lexical blends, like brunch or motel, contract multiple source words into a single lexical item shaped by competing sets of phonological and psycholinguistic constraints. Existing studies of blend structure (e.g., Bat-El & Cohen 2012, Gries 2004a,b) focus on the contributions of each source word relative to their linear order, positions that have little relevance outside of blend formation. I present both corpus and experimental data to argue that previously observed right-word faithfulness effects are actually due to head faithfulness (Revithiadou 1999). This has two major implications: it provides evidence for the existence of positional faithfulness and of head faithfulness in particular; second, it demonstrates that blend formation is subject to independently motivated, broadly applicable constraints. In addition, the discovery of left-headed blends in the corpus argues that blending is a distinct process from compounding.
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  • Moreton, Elliott
  • Master of Arts
Graduation year
  • 2013

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