Motivation and regularity of semantic and structural correlation with free word-groups are the basic factors favouring a high degree of productivity of composition and may be used to set rules guiding spontaneous, analogic formation of new compound words.
The description of compound words through the correlation with variable word-groups makes it possible to classify them into four major classes: 1) adjectival-nominal, 2) verbal-nominal, 3)nominal and 4) verbal-adverbial.
I. Adjectival-nominalcomprise for subgroups of compound adjectives:
1) the polysemantic n+a pattern that gives rise to two types:
a) Compound adjectives based on semantic relations of resemblance: snow-white, skin-deep, age-long,etc. Comparative type (as…as).
b) Compound adjectives based on a variety of adverbial relations: colour-blind, road-weary, care-free,etc.
2) the monosemantic pattern n+venbased mainly on the instrumental, locative and temporal relations, e.g. state-owned, home-made.The type is highly productive. Correlative relations are established with word-groups of the Ven+ with/by+ N type.
3) the monosemantic num + npattern which gives rise to a small and peculiar group of adjectives, which are used only attributively, e.g. (a) two-day(beard), (a) seven-day(week), etc. The quantative type of relations.
4) a highly productive monosemantic pattern of derivational compound adjectives based on semantic relations of possession conveyed by the suffix -ed. The basic variant is [(a+n)+ -ed], e.g.long-legged.The pattern has two more variants: [(num + n) + -ed), l(n+n)+ -ed],e.g. one-sided, bell-shaped, doll-faced.The type correlates accordingly with phrases with (having) + A+N, with (having)+ Num + N, with + N + N or with+ N + of + N.
The three other types are classed as compound nouns. All the three types are productive.
II. Verbal-nominal compounds may be described through one derivational structure n+nv, i.e. a combination of a noun-base (in most cases simple) with a deverbal, suffixal noun-base. All the patterns correlate in the final analysis with V+N and V+prp+N type which depends on the lexical nature of the verb:
1) [n+(v+-er)],e.g. bottle-opener, stage-manager, peace-fighter.The pattern is monosemantic and is based on agentive relations that can be interpreted ‘one/that/who does smth’.
2) [n+(v+-ing)],e.g. stage-managing, rocket-flying.The pattern is monosemantic and may be interpreted as ‘the act of doing smth’.
4) [n+(v + conversion)],e.g. wage-cut, dog-bite, hand-shake,the pattern is based on semantic relations of result, instance, agent, etc.
III. Nominal compounds are all nouns with the most polysemantic and highly-productive derivational pattern n+n; both bases are generally simple stems, e.g. windmill, horse-race, pencil-case.The pattern conveys a variety of semantic relations; the most frequent are the relations of purpose and location. The pattern correlates with nominal word-groups of the N+prp+N type.
IV. Verb-adverb compounds are all derivational nouns, highly productive and built with the help of conversion according to the pattern [(v + adv) + conversion].The pattern correlates with free phrases V + Adv and with all phrasal verbs of different degree of stability. The pattern is polysemantic and reflects the manifold semantic relations of result.