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专题四


In English, plural forms such as mice appear to be treated in a different way from plurals such as rats. If you tell people that a place is infested with mice or rats, they will accept the compounds mice-infested and rat-infested, but not *rats-infested. This would suggest that the forms which have the regular plural affix (-s) follow a different rule in compounding than irregular plural forms such as mice. Can you think of a way to state a rule (or sequence of rules) that would accommodate all the examples given here? (The asterisk *designates an unacceptable form.) teethmarks a people-mover clawmarks a dog-mover *clawsmarks *a dogs-mover *the fingers-cruncher *roaches-infested the finger-cruncher roach-infested the feet-cruncher lice-infested

My answer: For the noun that have the regular plural affix (-s), when they are combined with another word to form a new word, it can only be the singular form of the noun. Such as lice-infested, a people-mover , the feet-cruncher, teethmarks . For the noun that have irregular plural forms, when they are combined with another word to form a new word. It must be the plural form of the noun. Such as roach-infested, a dog-mover, the

finger-cruncher, clawmarks. The above examples can be explained with a sequence of rules as follow: 1.lice-infested roach-infested *roaches-infested : the combination

of irregular plural form of noun or the regular singular form of noun and the past participle of verb equals adj. 2. a people-mover a dog-mover *a dogs-mover: the combination of irregular plural form of noun or the regular singular form of noun and verb with a suffix “-er” equals noun.

3.the feet-cruncher

the finger cruncher

*the fingers-cruncher:

the combination of irregular plural form of noun or the regular singular form of noun and verb with a suffix “-er” equals noun.

4.teethmarks

clawmark *clawsmarks : the combination of

irregular plural form of noun and another noun equals noun; the combination of the regular singular form of noun and another noun equals noun. What about passers-by?


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