Jana Haeussler


Schwa-deletion in German noun-noun compounds
Tom S Juzek | Jana Haeussler
Proceedings of the Workshop on the Cognitive Aspects of the Lexicon

We report ongoing research on linking elements in German compounds, with a focus on noun-noun compounds in which the first constituent is ending in schwa. We present a corpus of about 3000 nouns ending in schwa, annotated for various phonological and morpho-syntactic features, and critically, the dominant linking strategy. The corpus analysis is complemented by an unsuccessful attempt to train neural networks and by a pilot experiment asking native speakers to indicate their preferred linking strategy. In addition to existing nouns, the experimental stimuli included nonce words, also ending in schwa. While neither the corpus study nor the experiment offer a clear picture, the results nevertheless provide interesting insights into the intricacies of German compounding. Overall, we find a predominance of the paradigmatic linking element -n for feminine and masculine nouns. At the same time, the results for nonce words show that -n is not a default strategy.