AbstractIn this paper we discuss noun compounding, a highly generative, productive process, in three distinct languages: Czech, English and Zulu. Derivational morphology presents a large grey area between regular, compositional and idiosyncratic, non-compositional word forms. The structural properties of compounds in each of the languages are reviewed and contrasted. Whereas English compounds are head-final and thus left-branching, Czech and Zulu compounds usually consist of a leftmost governing head and a rightmost dependent element. Semantic properties of compounds are discussed with special reference to semantic relations between compound members which cross-linguistically show universal patterns, but idiosyncratic, language specific compounds are also identified. The integration of compounds into lexical resources, and WordNets in particular, remains a challenge that needs to be considered in terms of the compounds syntactic idiosyncrasy and semantic compositionality. Experiments with processing compounds in Czech, English and Zulu are reported and partly evaluated. The obtained partial lists of the Czech, English and Zulu compounds are also described.