- For Teachers
I was wondering how open compound words work.You can have these common compound words like ice cream, post office and credit card etc.
But what about open compound words like for example: " cheerleader trick","terminal window", "computer science". What are the rules about open compound words? Can I just make a compound word if I want? In all books and texts on the internet there is always just talked about the common open compound words(and i'm mainly talking about noun + noun) but what about the rest? I'm trying to learn computer science but I get carried away because I don't understand how noun + noun words work.
Best regards Rambolola
As Steven Pinker says in The Language Instinct: a noun is just a word that does nouny things. I think you can feel free to combine nouns in pairs in any way that seems to you to make sense; for example, rain gear, radium dial, snow boots. But keep your pairings two separate words. Compounds tend to become single words if they are used commonly and frequently; for example, top coat has become topcoat and rain coat raincoat, but top hat is still top hat, possibly for orthographic reasons or possibly because it has become uncommon.
Last edited by probus; 03-Oct-2013 at 03:54.
As a non-native speaker I would be wary about trying to create my own compound nouns. You will find that English creates them on its own.
But what if the meaning of the noun plus noun word is not clear? Like what does command-line argument in computer programming mean? Is there no rule on how the meanings of noun plus noun alter when they're put together?
There are NO rules. We don't have a body regulating the English language. People invent new words and compounds, sometimes consciously, sometimes not. If enough people accept and use these neologisms, they will become normal within a certain group and, perhaps, within the language community as a whole.
Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.
But what about when you put together many nouns, like: Hotel reception desk. There has to be some kind of a rule to get the meaning of that as a whole? :/