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Compounds with Zero Suffix in Vuk Karadžić’s “Srpski Rječnik” (“The Serbian Dictionary”) (1818) and Their German and Greek Equivalents

Folkloristika 3/2 (2018): 37‒53
Authors: Gordana Štasni i Žarko Bošnjaković
Text: PDF


In the Vuk Karadžić’s Srpski Rječnik (The Serbian Dictionary) (1818), compound words formed by the compound-suffixal derivation according to the model Io + o + Go + -ø show themselves as a very stable derivational model, since they are the most productive both in Vuk Karadžić’s time and today. Observed compound words show exceptional semantic diversity based on their nominational meaning and referential abilities. This condition is the consequence of the association of semantic potential, which is represented in motivational words, and the zero suffix. In this regard, morphosyntaxic properties of the verbal component and the noun with which it enters into a particular relationship are important. Motive transitive verbs, as a rule, require an object complement, which is reflected in transformational models (for example, kotlokrp onaj koji krpi kotao, and the disposition of the compound elements point to the following word order: O + V, which is characteristic for the majority of the compound types of this type). There are rarely compound words that are based on an instrumental-object type (for example, rukopisono što je rukom pisano). In some examples, it is also realized a subject-predicate type structure (crvotočono što crv toči). Therefore, the observed compound words correspond to the paraphrase that is formalized by the relative clause. From a syntax point of view, all the compounds belong to a subordinate type, which is also a consequence of a syntax-semantic relationship between the words that are constituent parts of the compounds. From the semantic point of view, they are with the dominant exocentric property. There is a certain similarity between the Serbian and the German compounds on the formal plan, but the complete compatibility is very rare. Most of the components are equally distributed (for example, v(j)etr-о-met-ø and der Wind-strom, vrat-о-lom-ø and der Hals-brech-er, kotl-о-krp-ø and der Kessel-flicker), but German compounds are most often without a connecting element. Higher degree of compatibility is expressed by semantic equivalents, whose motivational bases have the same semantic content in both languages (vrat-о-lom-ø and der Hals-brech-er; ruk-о-pis-ø and die Hand-schrift). In this group of compounds, there are also the structural-semantic equivalents (klas-о-ber-ø and der Ähre-n-leser). These units could be considered as calques. Although, we could talk about the reverse German, as in the case of klas-o-ber-ø and der Ähre-n-les-er, which may have been influenced by the specificity of the material culture of two nations. The units registrated in Vuk Karadžić’s The Serbian Dictionary contains a significantly smaller number of Greek equivalents for Serbian compounds, since Vuk translated his dictionary into German and Latin. Many denotata are not in current use and they are not registered by bilingual Greek-Serbian dictionaries. In a smaller number of compounds there are structural-semantic equivalents (čank-o-liz-ø and o-τσανακ-ο-γλείφ-της; ruk-o-pis-ø and το χειρ-ό-γραφ-ο), which could belong to the calque category. There are also examples that have very similar structures, but they differ in the motivational base of the other component (crv-o-toč-ø and η σκωληκό-βρωση; sunc-o-kret-ø and o ηλί-ανθος). It is very rare that all three language are structurally the same.
Keywords: Vuk Karadžić’s Srpski Rječnik (The Serbian Dictionary) (1818), noun compounds, compound-suffixal derivation, zero suffix, calque, Serbian language, German language, Greek language