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Taliesin wrote:

> * R A Brown said on 2005-11-18 08:38:35 +0100
> > You are, of course, correct. I guess we should amend Trask thus:
> > "An expression consisting of two or more morphemes whose meaning
> > cannot be simply predicted from the meanings of its constituent
> > parts."
>
> I don't think this is wise. In English it might be so that a compound
> ceases to be a compound as soon as it needs its own entry in a
> dictionary, but this is not necessarily the case in other languages.

I'm getting the impression there is a lot of overlap between compounds 
(transparent, semi-transparent, or totally obscure), metaphors, and outright 
idioms (like 'pulling someone's leg', 'kick the bucket').

Indonesian has lots of phrasal compounds that need special definition 
(usually under both terms), e.g. _rumah sakit_ (house+sick) 'hospital' (Kash 
compounds house+health for this, a nicer combination I think).
Literally it could mean 'a sick house' (or building)-- a concept so far 
limited to our "advanced" Western world I hope.

Come to think of it, I suspect Kash has more than its share of such 
semi-transparent or obscure compounds and forms-- e.g. a lot of the 
accidental verbs with prefix caka-, like caka/ņoni 'to nitpick, quibble' 
(ņoni 'test, try'). Or ca/kanjik 'gluttonous; s.o. who'll eat anything (fig. 
gullible)' (hanjik 'bite of food, mouthful'). And related ca/kacip 'picky 
about one's food; (fig.) fastidious', vele ('give') hacip 'to give a small 
bribe/payoff' (hacip 'a little bite/nibble of food') and many more. And you 
could make nonce-forms like caka/fanu 'obsessed with the number 8' (fanu 
'8').

>
> Take for instance the word/compound "redcap" (a mythological creature
> IIRC).

Mythological?? Eh? Nowadays it might as well be....;-)) Back in the days 
when the US had a functional railway system, a redcap was a porter in the 
station. They did wear official caps, though I don't remember if they were 
red (it was a very long time ago), but at some point I suppose they did. 
Now we have _skycaps_ at airports; not too long ago they actually carried 
your baggage in; now they just check you in at the curb and throw your bag 
onto a cart or conveyer belt. They may or may not wear a cap.......