Special Issue "Synthetic Compounds in German and Beyond"

A special issue of Languages (ISSN 2226-471X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 October 2022 | Viewed by 631

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Livio Gaeta
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Humanities, University of Turin, via S. Ottavio 20, 10124 Turin, Italy
Interests: morphology; historical linguistics; grammaticalization; language contact
Prof. Dr. Stefan Hartmann
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
HHU Düsseldorf, Universitätsstraße 1, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany
Interests: historical linguistics; construction grammar; morphology; dynamics of language

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

We invite proposals for contributions to a Special Issue of the open access journal Languages on synthetic compounding. 

Synthetic compounds like German Taxifahrer (cab driver) or blauäugig (blue-eyed) have been a key topic in linguistic morphology for a long time. In synthetic compounds, a derivational compound scopes over the compound units (Melloni 2020), which allows for multiple analyses, e.g., [[blue]-[eyed]] vs. [[blue-eye]d] (see, e.g., Plag 2003, Booij 2012). Thus, synthetic compounds are a phenomenon at the interface of syntax and morphology that blurs the boundaries between composition and derivation and challenges traditional accounts that assume a highly modular organization of grammar in the mind (see e.g., Gaeta 2010, 2016 for discussion). The analysis of synthetic compounds against the backdrop of different theoretical frameworks, their place in the lexicon or in grammar, their historical development, as well as their selectional properties and distribution in different languages have been discussed extensively (see, e.g., Botha 1984, Leser 1990, Lieber 1994, Neef 2015, Werner 2017, among many others). 

The aim of this Special Issue is to bring together original papers that investigate synthetic compounds from a variety of theoretical perspectives with an empirical outlook and a focus on German and on the Germanic languages. We particularly invite corpus-based and experimental papers as well as papers taking a contrastive perspective especially—although not exclusively—within the Germanic family, but theoretical papers that shed new light on the topic are also very welcome. 

We request that, prior to submitting a manuscript, interested authors initially submit a proposed title and an abstract of 400-600 words summarizing their intended contribution. Please send it to the guest editors ([email protected], [email protected]) or to the Languages editorial office ([email protected]). Abstracts will be reviewed by the guest editors for the purposes of ensuring proper fit within the scope of the Special Issue. Full manuscripts will undergo double-blind peer-review.

Tentative completion schedule:

  • Abstract submission deadline: 31 October 2021
  • Notification of abstract acceptance: 15 November 2021
  • Full manuscript deadline: 1 October 2022


Booij, Geert E. 2012. The Grammar of Words: An Introduction to Linguistic Morphology. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Botha, Rudolf. 1984. Morphological mechanisms: Lexicalist analyses of synthetic compounding. Oxford: Pergamon Press.

Gaeta, Livio. 2010. Synthetic compounds. With special reference to German. In Sergio Scalise & Irene Vogel (eds.), Cross-disciplinary issues in compounding, 219–235. (Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 311). Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Gaeta, Livio. 2016. How lexical is morphology? The constructicon and the quadripartite architecture of grammar. In Lívia Körtvélyessy, Pavol Štekauer & Salvador Valera (eds.), Word-formation across languages, 109–146. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Leser, Martin. 1990. Das Problem der “Zusammenbildungen.” Eine Lexikalistische Studie. Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag.

Lieber, Rochelle. 1994. Root compounds and synthetic compounds. In R.E. Asher (ed.), Dictionary of Language and Linguistics, 3607–3610. Oxford: Pergamon Press.

Melloni, Chiara. 2020. Subordinate and Synthetic Compounds in Morphology. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Linguistics. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780199384655.013.562.

Neef, Martin. 2015. Synthetic compounding in German. In Peter O. Müller, Ingeborg Ohnheiser, Susan Olsen & Franz Rainer (eds.), Word Formation: An International Handbook of the Languages of Europe, vol. 1, 582–593. (HSK). Berlin, New York: De Gruyter.

Plag, Ingo. 2003. Word-Formation in English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Werner, Martina. 2017. Zur Entwicklung der synthetischen Komposition in der Geschichte des Deutschen. Zeitschrift für Wortbildung 1. 73–92.

Prof. Dr. Livio Gaeta
Prof. Dr. Stefan Hartmann
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Languages is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Morphology-syntax interface
  • synthetic compounds
  • morphology
  • compounding
  • Germanic languages
  • empirical linguistics
  • contrastive linguistics

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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