- English (8) (remove)
- The consonant phonemes of Proto-East-Cushitic (PEC) : a first approximation (1979)
- This paper is a preliminary attempt to reconstruct the consonant system of Proto-East-Cushitic (PEC) , one of the four branches of the Cushitic family. Data are taken from some twenty-odd languages including unpublished material on a variety of hitherto little known languages. After discussing a number of general problems raised by the phonological comparison of the East Cushitic languages, 23 consonants are reconstructed for the inventory of the proto-language and the evidence for the reconstructions is presented in the form of cognate sets and correspondence rules which map the proto-phonemes onto the individual reflexes. The method employed is that of comparative linguistics as traditionally employed in Indo-European linguistics.
- Recent activity in the theory of aspect: Accomplishments, achievements, or just non-progressive state? (2002)
- There is an inexhaustible stream of theoretical work on aspect. More than 20 major books of a gelteral nature have come out during the past few years, not to mention the vast amount of shorter articles. The theoretical proposals found in these works are often radically different. What is the state of the art in this highly controversial area? To what extent can the "ordinary workirag linguist" profit from the flood of theoretical proposals? This paper started out as a review article on five recent books on aspect. These reviews are incorporated here into a general assessment of contemporary aspect theories. We will classify different approaches to aspect and try to sort out their theoretical primitives. The paper concludes wich a brief summary pointing out the most urgent desiderata for a typologically adequate approach to aspect.
- Theory of language death und Language decay and contact-induced change : similarities and differences ; [the following two papers were presented at the International Symposium on Language Death in East Africa, Bad Homburg, January 8 - 12, 1990] (1990)
- A preliminary bibliography on focus (1995)
- [I]n its present form, the bibliography contains approximately 1100 entries. Bibliographical work is never complete, and the present one is still modest in a number of respects. It is not annotated, and it still contains a lot of mistakes and inconsistencies. It has nevertheless reached a stage which justifies considering the possibility of making it available to the public. The first step towards this is its pre-publication in the form of this working paper. […] The bibliography is less complete for earlier years. For works before 1970, the bibliographies of Firbas and Golkova 1975 and Tyl 1970 may be consulted, which have not been included here.
- Theticity (1996)
- The subject matter of this chapter is the semantic, syntactic and discoursepragmatic background as well as the cross-linguistic behavior of types of utterance exemplified by the following English sentences […]: (1) My NECK hurts. […] (2) The PHONE's ringing. [...] Sentences such as […] are usually held to stand in opposition to sentences with a topical subject. The difference is said to be formally marked, for example, by VS order vs. topical SV order (as in Albanian po bie telefoni 'the PHONE is ringing' vs. telefoni po bie 'the PHONE is RINGING'), or by accent on the subject only vs. accent on both the subject and the verb (as in the English translations). The term theticity will be used in the following to label the specific phenomenological domain to which the sentences in (1) and (2) belong. It has long been commonplace that these and similar expressions occur at particular points in the discourse where "a new situation is presented as a whole". We will try to depict and classify the various discourse situations in which these expressions have been found in the different languages, and we will try to trace out areas of cross-linguistic comparability. Finally, we will raise the question whether or not there is a common denominator which would justify a unified treatment of all these expressions in functional/semantic terms.
- Lexical typology : a programmatic sketch (1997)
- The present paper is an attempt to lay the foundation for Lexical Typology as a new kind of linguistic typology.1 The goal of Lexical Typology is to investigate crosslinguistically significant patterns of interaction between lexicon and grammar.
- Qualities, objects, sorts, and other treasures : gold digging in English and Arabic (1999)
- In the present monograph, we will deal with questions of lexical typology in the nominal domain. By the term "lexical typology in the nominal domain", we refer to crosslinguistic regularities in the interaction between (a) those areas of the lexicon whose elements are capable of being used in the construction of "referring phrases" or "terms" and (b) the grammatical patterns in which these elements are involved. In the traditional analyses of a language such as English, such phrases are called "nominal phrases". In the study of the lexical aspects of the relevant domain, however, we will not confine ourselves to the investigation of "nouns" and "pronouns" but intend to take into consideration all those parts of speech which systematically alternate with nouns, either as heads or as modifiers of nominal phrases. In particular, this holds true for adjectives both in English and in other Standard European Languages. It is well known that adjectives are often difficult to distinguish from nouns, or that elements with an overt adjectival marker are used interchangeably with nouns, especially in particular semantic fields such as those denoting MATERIALS or NATlONALlTIES. That is, throughout this work the expression "lexical typology in the nominal domain" should not be interpreted as "a typology of nouns", but, rather, as the cross-linguistic investigation of lexical areas constitutive for "referring phrases" irrespective of how the parts-of-speech system in a specific language is defined.
- Recent activity in the theory of aspect : accomplishments, achievements, or just non-progressive state? (2001)
- It has become commonplace to introduce works on aspect with the remark that there is hardly another field in linguistics so much plagued by terminological and notional confusion. [..] About 20 major books claiming a comprehensive treatment have come to my attention during little more than the past half decade […]. Among these books are five that form the subject of this paper in a narrower sense, given that the present article originally started out as a combined review of these five works: […] Even if one is not at all keen on monocultures, it is clear that the obvious disunity in fundamental points of view makes the situation increasingly difficult for the "ordinary working linguist". It is getting impossible to keep up with the many different issues raised in the theoretical literature when, for instance, writing a chapter on aspect for a descriptive grammar of a language. As a result, a tremendous gap between descriptive and theoretical work has arisen. This has not gone unnoticed in the literature. There are several recent publications in which explicit attempts are made to bridge this gap […], all of them trying to add a typological perspective to aspect theory and to free it from its purely truth-conditional embedding, which was the dominant paradigm in the 70ies and 80ies. But again, these works are often themselves cast into specific theoretical frameworks, more often than not ignoring other approaches to the field if they do not fit their persuasions. I will therefore avail myself of the opportunity of this review article by briefly sorting out the differences in the fundamental assumptions and theoretical primitives of the various approaches, in order to come to grips with the aspectological landscape. A general, chiefly historically oriented assessment is presented in the first part of this paper (see section 1). The second part is then devoted to a detailed discussion of the books under review against the background etablished in this survey (see section 2). At the end, I will try to draw some conclusions and hint at some directions for future work with aspect in a descriptive and/or typological context (see section 3).