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In contrast to derivational morphology, compounding is a frequent and rather regular process in Denden. Several ancient compounding elements have developend into derivational suffixes.

There are few phonological phenomena observable in the compounded constructions, although a compound is supposed to be stressed as a single unit. However, the stress rules of Denden have not yet been determined completely.

Compounding can be analyzed as a stronger version of the qualified-qualifier relationship of noun-adjective or verb-adverb. Compounds contrast with the regular qualified-qualifier relations in that the order is always qualified noun - qualifier, while in non-compound relations the order can be inverted for markedness. In compounds, the glottal stop which commonly occurs between qualified and qualifier disappears, forming a marked contrast to Limbu, where a glottal stop often occurs between the two components of a compound (van Driem 1987: 54).

A compound is always binary, that is, it consists of two and only two elements. However, a compound itself can be recursively embedded in other compounds.

A compound can be mainly verbal or mainly nominal in nature, and can consist not only of noun-adjective/noun or verb-adverb/verb relations, but also of verb-noun and noun-verb relations. Verbs using as a component in compounds cannot be inflected for mood, tense or aspect, but a verbally used compound can.





Ancient compounds often consist of elements that cannot be used separately anymore.


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