IS THERE A DICHOTOMY BETWEEN SYNTHETIC COMPOUNDS AND PHRASES IN THAI?
Kamolchanok Hongthong , Kingkarn Thepkanjana , Wirote Aroonmanakun / Chulalongkorn University
This study discusses a structural ambiguity between synthetic compounds and other syntactic phrases in Thai, as they potentially appear identical. Productive Ns and Vs were extracted from the Thai National Corpus. The data were divided into two groups. Group A consists of seven N-V(P) strings with the strongest collocations, each of which exhibits a semantically different relation. Group B is a similar set of N-V(P)s to Group A, but they feature interventions, coordinations, and modifications or alterations within a 5-word span. To test the state of being a lexical or syntactic unit, the Lexical Integrity Hypothesis served as a template to build internal cohesion. The corpus frequency and native speakers’ judgment were also taken into account. The comparison shows that Group A has a much higher frequency of occurrence than Group B. There are tendencies that native speakers consider tightly cohesive and frequently occurring strings in Group A as single-whole units, while the status of members of Group B is arguable depending on their Type/Token Ratio and cultural familiarity. As for Thai synthetic compounds, the division between the lexicon and syntax is yet a fuzzy boundary.
Keywords: synthetic compounds, Thai, internal cohesion, corpus frequency, entrenchment