Compounds: plurals

plurals in compounds

References in LLog postings on the topic:

(Gordon, 1985) Peter Gordon, Level-ordering in lexical development. Cognition, 21 (1985), pp. 73–93.

(Haskell et al.) Language learning and innateness: Some implications of Compounds Research, by Todd R. Haskell, Maryellen C. MacDonald, and Mark S. Seidenberg. Cognitive Psychology, Volume 47, Issue 2, September 2003, pp. 119-163

(Churma, 1983) Churma, Donald G. 1983. Jets fans, Raider Rooters, and the interaction of morphosyntactic processes. Richardson et al. 1983, 50-62. (Richardson, John F., Mitchell Marks & Amy Chukerman (eds.). 1983. Papers from the parassession on the interplay of phonology, morphology, and syntax. Chicago: CLS.)

from Haskell et al.:
An observation dating from at least Kiparsky (1982) is that whereas rats-eater is conspicuously ill-formed, mice-eater is not. A major difference between the two, of course, is that rats is the rule-governed plural of rat, whereas mice is an exception.

(Kiparsky, 1982) P. Kiparsky, From cyclic phonology to lexical phonology, H. van der Hulst, N. Smith, eds., The structure of phonological representations, Foris, Dordrecht, The Netherlands (1982).


GP, 12/1/03: Postcard from Vegas 3: Regularly-inflected plurals exclusion? I don’t think so:
activities center

ML, 12/1/03: Activities centers in Paradise and Santa Cruz:

GP, 12/1/03: The rigors of fieldwork trips:
drinks servers

ST, 5/26/04: We have deer and elk and bear and mice around here:
mice-eater vs. ??rats-eater (synthetic compounds)

ML, 6/6/04: Psycholinguistics in the logging industry:
“game animal” plurals

12/5/10: Data points: plurals in compounds 12/5/10:

Data points: plurals in compounds 12/5/10

schools chief; comments spam; antiques X (antiques dealer etc.); jobs market

with a survey of some earlier literature: abstracts committee and other cases that might involve avoidance of ambiguity; cases where N1 is an irregular plural (mice-eater or mouse-eater); cases where N1 is name of a sports team (Yankees fan or Yankee fan); and a large collection of other cases where N1 is plural presumably to mirror the semantics (Movies Update as an alternative to Movie Update)

final note: “though I’ve followed the literature in talking about N+N compounds like job market as having a singular first element, I’m inclined to say that the first element in such cases is not actually a singular form, but is an unmarked N stem (which of course is phonologically identical to the singular form). This is true whether the first N is mass or count; a count N as modifier is usually interpreted semantically as plural (as in job market).”

ML, 12/7/11: Complaint(s) Department:

Complaint(s) Department

7/16/12: Data points: plurals in compounds 7/16/12:

Data points: plurals in compounds 7/16/12

jobs creation, jobs creators, jobs growth

7/24/12: jobs market:

job(s) market

jobs market

9/22/12: underfeet:



3/31/15: More plurals in compounds:

More plurals in compounds

movies industry etc.; inventory of postings

10/6/15: crap(s) game:

crap(s) game

12/29/20: Once more with the mice:

Once more with the mice

mice delivery

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