Zeitschrift für die Welt der Türken / Journal of World of Turks, Vol 8, No 3 (2016)

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Compound and Pseudo-Compound Words in Orkhon Inscriptions



Compounding is one of the most productive ways of word-formation along with affixation in agglutinative languages. This is also true for modern Turkic languages. But in the language of Orkhon Inscriptions, the condition is different. There are very few compound words in Orkhon Turkic, most of them being proper names. But there are some phrases, including reduplicative words, composite names, numeral phrases and “compound verbs” that were considered as compound words by some researchers. The aim of this paper is to distinguish these pseudo-compounds from genuine compounds and to suggest that even without those few genuine compounds Orkhon Turkic could function and express very different ideas. So we assume that agglutinative languages can function without compound words, because they have larger opportunities for affixation.

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