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Abstract Onysko

Anglicisms as agents of word formation in German: the case of hybrid compound nouns

The German newsmagazine Der Spiegel of the year 2000 yields a vast amount of hybrid nominal compounds consisting of German and English terms. The following are merely a few examples of more than 12,000 hybrid compounds: Tagesjobs, Talk-Langweiler, Medienboom, Beziehungsstory, Patientenpool, Internetfalle, Designerdrogen, and Astronautenlook. While hybrid compounds are generally indicative of the dominance of compounding as a word formational process in German, the particular combination of an English borrowing and a native German noun allows for a closer investigation of the cognitive implications of compounding in German.

First of all, the functional position of the English noun in the compound is dependent on the degree of conceptual specificity. This underlies a distinction of determinant vs. determinatum prone anglicisms. Nominal anglicisms that occur evenly in both positions, i.e. neutral anglicisms, can show a switch between attributive and stative semantic qualities (cf. Party-Kanzler vs. Haus-Party). Secondly, the referential scope of the compound head evokes primary conceptual spaces of determination which relate to superordinate cognitive categories (e.g. time, location, purpose, medium, mode, and content). The head nominal anglicism –camp, for example, is determined by its purpose in Ausbildungscamp ('training camp'), and Expeditionscamp ('expedition camp'), by its agents in Flüchtlingscamp ('refugee camp') and Forschercamp ('researcher camp'), and by its location in Dschungelcamp ('jungle camp') and Wüstencamp ('desert camp').

On the word formal level, the creation of hybrid compounds can involve the occurrence of a formative, which links the noun bases in the compound construction (e.g. Trainingsalltag). These formatives appear to be triggered by a combination of associative patterns and residual meaning of plurality and genitive case.

Altogether, the analysis of hybrid compound nouns in an extensive corpus of the newsmagazine Der Spiegel contributes to an understanding of cognitive mechanisms in the formation of compound nouns in German.