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Apparently, languages differ when it comes to the prevalence of compound words in their lexicons. For example, the fact that compound words are more prevalent in Chinese than in French was mentioned in this article: http://www.lingref.com/cpp/decemb/5/paper1617.pdf.

How much do languages vary when it comes to the prevalence of compound words in their lexicons? Are there extremes, such as languages with almost no compound words? (The article above describes Chinese as lying near the opposite extreme.)

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  • See your previous question about defining "word". I think you are probably looking for linguistic typology, which classifies languages not into historical families but into categories like Right-Branching, SOV, analytic/synthetic, etc.
    – jlawler
    Mar 31, 2013 at 20:44

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