Nominal compounds in Mapudungun

Zúñiga, Fernando (2014). Nominal compounds in Mapudungun. In: Danielsen, Swintha; Hannss, Katja; Zúñiga, Fernando (eds.) Word Formation in South American Languages. Studies in Language Companion Series: Vol. 163 (pp. 11-31). Amsterdam: John Benjamins 10.1075/slcs.163.02zun

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It is perhaps unsurprising that the rich agglutinative-polysynthetic verb morphology of Mapudungun has drawn most attention in linguistic studies. So far unnoticed in the literature are Mapudungun complex noun phrases, which show a puzzling distribution in terms of the internal structure they display. Some complex NPs are head-final (mapu-che ‘people of the land’). Others are head-initial, and of these a subset appears to be less lexicalized. In some cases, all three possibilities are found with the same components: mamüll-che ‘wood people’, che-mamüll ‘people made of wood’, and che mamüll ‘wood-like people’. The present paper reviews the comparatively modest literature on these phenomena, deals with them in an account based on semantic factors, and places them in a broader typological context.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of Linguistics

UniBE Contributor:

Zúñiga, Fernando


400 Language > 410 Linguistics
400 Language > 490 Other languages




Studies in Language Companion Series


John Benjamins




Fernando Zúñiga

Date Deposited:

26 Nov 2014 17:32

Last Modified:

26 Nov 2014 17:32

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Mapudungun, nominal compound, head-final, head-initial, nonhead, complex noun phrases, modification, subordination


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