Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 27
  1. #1
    rambolola is offline Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Icelandic
      • Home Country:
      • Iceland
      • Current Location:
      • Iceland
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    6
    Post Thanks / Like

    Question Compound words, noun plus noun.

    Hello
    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

  2. #2
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is online now VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    13,805
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Compound words, noun plus noun.

    Quote Originally Posted by rambolola View Post
    Hello
    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
    Most nouns can be used as adjectives describing other nouns. When used that way, the noun used as an adjective is called an "attributive noun". The only rules that are involved are logic and common sense.

  3. #3
    probus's Avatar
    probus is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    2,047
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Compound words, noun plus noun.

    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.

  4. #4
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    9,496
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Compound words, noun plus noun.

    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.

  5. #5
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is online now VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    13,805
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Compound words, noun plus noun.

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    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.
    Good advice. One can take "babysitter" and "house sitter" and create "dog sitter" and even "gerbil sitter", but not "hammer sitter" or "wrench sitter".

  6. #6
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Philippines
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    42,706
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Compound words, noun plus noun.

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    Good advice. One can take "babysitter" and "house sitter" and create "dog sitter" and even "gerbil sitter", but not "hammer sitter" or "wrench sitter".
    Isn't that covered by your point about logic? Compounds come into being and may catch on when there's a need- gerbils may need a sitter, but we haven't got around to nurturing and caring for wrenches to that degree (yet).

  7. #7
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is online now VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    13,805
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Compound words, noun plus noun.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Isn't that covered by your point about logic? Compounds come into being and may catch on when there's a need- gerbils may need a sitter, but we haven't got around to nurturing and caring for wrenches to that degree (yet).
    Yes, it covered by that, but I was not certain it was clear.

  8. #8
    rambolola is offline Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Icelandic
      • Home Country:
      • Iceland
      • Current Location:
      • Iceland
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    6
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Compound words, noun plus noun.

    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?

  9. #9
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    28,168
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Compound words, noun plus noun.

    Quote Originally Posted by rambolola View Post
    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?
    I have no idea what 'command-line argument' means, but I don't work in computer programming, Those who do presumably know what it means.

    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.


  10. #10
    rambolola is offline Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Icelandic
      • Home Country:
      • Iceland
      • Current Location:
      • Iceland
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    6
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Compound words, noun plus noun.

    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? :/

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. [Grammar] more about the compound noun
    By curiousmind in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 03-Feb-2011, 22:06
  2. A compound noun
    By omasta in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 18-Dec-2009, 18:51
  3. Compound Noun or Descriptive Noun -- Show Possesive
    By bellb in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 19-Oct-2007, 09:59
  4. Compound Noun
    By TRANG in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 09-Jan-2007, 12:25
  5. compound noun
    By notmyname216 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 08-Dec-2004, 11:48

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •