Eccentric construction

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An eccentric construction is a grammatical construction which as a whole belongs to a different form class than all of its constituents . So it fulfills a different grammatical function, has a different meaning or has different characteristics than any of its parts. The opposite of this is an endocentric construction in which one element always occurs (the so-called " head ") that belongs to the same form class as the entire unit.

Origin of the term

The terms exocentric / endocentric were introduced by Leonard Bloomfield . While the term endocentric refers to the fact that the construction has a “center” (i.e. a head) inside, the term exocentric indicates that the construction behaves as if its actual center is or is “outside” their real characteristics are added from the outside.

Eccentric compounds

The difference between exocentric and endocentric occurs, for example, with compound words ( compound words ). An endocentric compound denotes an object of the same kind as it is denoted by the right term of the compound (the right term is the head of the compound, also with regard to grammatical features):

der Hausschuh: eine Art Schuh (maskulin, da auch Schuh maskulin ist)
das Schuhhaus: eine Art Haus (Neutrum, da auch Haus Neutrum ist)

Eccentric compounds are characterized by the fact that their grammatical category (noun, adjective, etc.) and features such as gender cannot be explained from the properties of a head, or that the object to which they refer is not derived from any of their parts . Examples:

der Schluckauf
: aus dem Verb schluck(en) und der Präposition / Partikel auf 
-- insgesamt jedoch ein Nomen (maskulin)

das Stelldichein  
: aus dem zusammengesetzten Verb einstellen (im Imperativ) mit Objekt-Pronomen dich 
-- insgesamt jedoch ein Nomen (Neutrum).

See also