Linguistik-Klassifikation: Semantik / Semantics
Noun, verb, and participation
- The present article is a crosslinguistic discussion of the distinction between a word class of nouns and a word class of verbs in the UNI TYP framework of the dimension of PARTICIPATION (for a first overall sketch of PARTICIPATION see Seiler 1984). According to this framework the noun/verb-distinction (henceforth N/V-D) must be regarded as a gradable, continuous phenomenon ranging from the stage of a clear-cut distinction with no overlap to almost a non-distinction. Although there is no question that most, if not all, languages do differentiate between nouns and verbs, it is also quite apparent that the languages do so to a different degree and by different means, and that it only makes sense to use the terms "noun" and "verb" in different languages when one actually has a common functional denominator in mind (see below). After a general introduction to the notion of a noun/verb-continuum (chapter 1) the reader will be presented with a survey of languages as diverse as German. English, Russian, Hebrew, Turkish, Salish. and Tongan (see chapter 2) in support of the continuum hypothesis. In chapter 3 the facts are coordinated in an overall pattern of regularities underlying the Increase or decrease of categorical restrictions between the respective word classes. Also, chapter 3 raises the issue to what degree a N/V-D can be considered a matter of certain lexemes or a matter of the morphosyntactic environment of certain lexical units. Lastly, we shall seek for an answer to the question why it is not a necessary requirement for languages to draw a sharp distinction between a word class of nouns and a word class of verbs.