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Park, Sujin. 2018. A Descriptive and Statistical Analysis of Old English Compounds. English Language and Linguistics 24.1, 17-56. This paper aims at providing a descriptive and statistical analysis of Old English (OE) nominal, adjectival, and verbal compounds on the basis of the exhaustive data (9,875 in total) retrieved from the OE dictionary, Bosworth and Toller. Compounding was one of productive operations of OE word formation. Accordingly, OE compounds have received much attention from a number of earlier works (Quirk and Wrenn 1989, Lass 1994, Görlach 1997, Mitchell and Robinson 2001, Baugh and Cable 2002, Hogg 2002, Kastovsky 1985, 1992, 2002, 2006, 2009, among others). These previous (descriptive) studies, however, do not provide a statistical analysis based on exhaustive data; their research scope of OE compounds is limited to some typical types and a few examples. In this study, I attempted to elaborate the previous works by adding or reclassifying the compounds' morphological types and semantic patterns, and by presenting the distribution of each compound type. The main result of this extensive research can be twofold. First, the distribution shows that the number of OE nominal, adjectival, and verbal compounds is 8,034 (81.35%) 1,674 (16.95%), and 167 (1.69%) respectively. Second, OE compounds can have much more varied morphological subtypes (42) and semantic subpatterns (100) than those that have been proposed by earlier works. I argue that the findings are meaningful and significant for the field of OE compounding, as they show not only qualitative but also quantitative aspects of OE compounds for the first time.
Key words: Old English, compounds, morphology, word-formation