Between Hamasstan and Dumbfuckistan: About blends
Camiel Hamans (European Parliament Brussels/Strasbourg)
Traditionally morphology deals with complex words, 'words which are not simple signs, but which are made up of more elementary ones' (Aronoff 1976). Although 'portmanteau' words such as smog, snark or chunnel are derived from other forms - 'smoke + fog, 'snake + shark' and 'channel + tunnel' - Aronoff does not include the pattern of word formation in his theory of morphology. These products of blending processes are just 'oddities'. Bauer(1983), Scalise (1984), Spencer (1991) and Rainer (1993) share the same view.
In the work of Suzanne Kemmer (for instance Kemmer 2000) blends play a more central role. She considers 'lexical blends, such as glitterati , stalkerazzi , imagineer and carjacking , as instances of one of the most vivid and creative word formation processes in English'. However, she realizes how problematic blends are for rule-based theories of morphology. Therefore she describes the process of blending within usage-based network theories.
In this paper I want to discuss in how far blending processes are more or less systematic.
I shall start with examples such as:
(1) brunch breakfast + lunch
flumpet Flügelhorn + trumpet
The process under (1) is not very productive and at first sight not really systematic, just as in examples such as:
(2) governator governor + terminator
Nescafé Nestlé + café
Nespresso Nestlé + espresso
On the other hand, examples such as under (3) suggests morphological boundaries might play a role in the formation of portmanteau words:
(3) Oxbridge Oxford + Cambridge
stagflation stagnation + inflation
infotainment information + entertainment
The last example under (3) makes clear how complicated the process is, since infotainment is a part of a paradigm
(4) entertainment wintertainment webtainment
The process which operates here might be described in terms of more or less productive forms of blending, just as in (5), (6) and (7). On the other hand it could be considered as a combination of clipping and suffixation, or sometimes of twofold clipping and compounding, as in (8), (9) and (10).
motel motor + hotel
botel boat + hotel
Bollywood Bombay + Hollywood
Mollywood Moskou + Hollywood
The last example, Englishation , suggests a conscious but normal process of suffixation is taking place already, as in some of the examples under (8)-(10) as well.
(9) advertising stopvertising
Swenglish Dunglish Germish globalish
Spanglish Nenglish offlish (office English)
Aronoff, Mark. 1976. Word formation in generative grammar. Linguistic Inquiry Monograph 1. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
Bauer, Laurie. 1983. English WordFormation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Kemmer, Suzanne. 2000. Lexical Blending: An integrated View, with Implications for
Morphology. Paper presented at First Landau International Symposium, Germany, March 2000.
Rainer, Franz. 1993. Spanische Wortbildungslehre. Tübingen: Niemeyer
Scalise, Sergio. 1984. Generative Morphology, Dordrecht: Foris
Spencer , Andrew. 1991. Morphological theory: an introduction to word structure in
generative grammar . Oxford: Blackwell.