A novel word is one that is not found in the lexicon of the general population; in other words, it is a word that people have not heard or seen previously. A novel compound is a compound word formed out of two or more individual known words where the combination of these words has not previously been recorded. So, one might wonder how listeners are able to interpret compound words they have never heard before. A method involving semantic schemas has been proposed by Mary Ellen Ryder.
[...] There is a high degree of homogeneity in interpretations of compounds presented with a rich context With no context, the listener will turn to known linguistic templates and semantic information schemas to interpret the new compound. The semantic information schemas looked to will be those common to the meaning of both element nouns When the two element nouns share a semantic information schema that conforms to the linguistic template being used, there will be a high degree of homogeneity in responses to a new compound. [...]
[...] For example, given a novel compound such as whitemail, a listener would look to existing compounds and end up using blackmail as an analogy base. When a listener can not find an existing common semantic information schema, s/he can either create or accommodate one. Ryder defines accommodation as either changing the range of one of the variables of a schema or changing the value of a constant. Another important notion to the interpretation of compound words is that of cue reliability. [...]
[...] The data from experiment 1 proved to support all claims made by the model; however, the data in experiment 2 did not indicate that linguistic templates are always used, but showed that they clearly were in slightly over half ( 50.2 of the cases (p. 151). For a detailed list of the novel compounds used and the analysis of the data, see Ryder's book Ordered Chaos (1994). Whether or not the exact steps Ryder proposes are followed and whether or not the steps are followed in the exact order they are listed, it is evident that Ryder has hit on a valuable and viable semantic approach. [...]
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