This chapter begins by addressing the question of the manner in which compounds may be defined. It notes that it is by no means a simple task to present an intensional definition of the notion ‘compound’. It focuses, therefore, on an extensional definition as well as a discussion of the prototypical properties of compounds. Compound prototypes in this formulation are characterized by the absence of a set of features that are known to be properties of syntactic phrases. The chapter discusses the definition of morphological productivity, which in turn leads to a consideration of the role of morphological headedness in compound formation. It cites evidence that compounding shows a preference for right-headedness and endocentricity. It concludes by summarizing the properties of prototypical compounds, and listing the structural preferences that one may observe across languages.
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