Selkirk's theory of verbal compounding: a critical appraisal

Rudolf P. Botha


This paper presents a critical appraisal of the theory of verbal compounding proposed recently by Selkirk (1981).1) On her (1981 :246) view, English verbal compounds are "endocentric adjective or noun compounds whose head adjective or noun (respectively) is morphologically complex, having been derived from a verb, and whose nonhead constituent is interprete d as an argument of the head a d·]ectlv·e or" noun. 2) To l. llustrate this characterization of verbal compounds Selkirk (1981:247) furnishes examples such as the following:

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