Coordination of Word Parts: a Surface Level Account

  • Ron Artstein


Coordination of parts of words is not reducible to coordination of whole words: while any group in the extension of orthodontists and periodontists must include at least two orthodontists and two periodontists, the denotation of ortho and periodontists includes groups with just one specialist of each kind. The contrast follows from a surface level interpretation of [ortho and perio]dontists. Individual word parts receive meanings through phonological decomposition: the conjuncts ortho and perio denote strings of sounds, and the remnant dontists is a function from sounds to word meanings that recovers the meaning of the whole word. The coordinate constituent [ortho and perio] denotes a plural object, and plural dontists licenses a cumulative inference, so one orthodontist and one periodontist are ortho and periodontists. The semantics also interprets ungrammatical strings like *cran and strawberries and *peri and telescopes, but these are ruled out on phonological grounds.
How to Cite
Artstein, R. (2019). Coordination of Word Parts: a Surface Level Account. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 6, 1-16.