Linguistik-Klassifikation: Morphologie / Morphology
Posession as an operational dimension of language
- In this study I want to show, above all, that the linguistic expression of POSSESSION is not a given but represents a problem to be solved by the human mind. We must recognize from the outset that linguistic POSSESSION presupposes conceptual or notional POSSESSION, and I shall say more about the latter in Chapter 3. Certain varieties of linguistic structures in the particular languages are united by the fact that they serve the common purpose of expressing notional POS SESSION. But this cannot be their sole common denominator. How would we otherwise be able to recognize, to understand, to learn and to translate a particular linguistic structure as representing POSSESSION? There must be a properly linguistic common denominator, an invariant, that makes this possible. The invariant must be present both within a particular language and in cross-language comparison. What is the nature of such an invariant? As I intend to show, it consists in operational programs and functional principles corresponding to the purpose of expressing notional POSSESSION. The structures of possessivity which we find in the languages of the world represent the traces of these operations, and from the traces it becomes possible to reconstruct stepwise the operations and functions.
Possessivity, subject and object
- The basic question is whether POSSESSOR and POSSESSUM are on the same level as the roles of VALENCE, two additional roles as it were. My research on POSSESSION has shown (Seiler 1981:7 ff.) that this is not the case, that there is a difference in principle between POSSESSION and VALENCE. However, there are multiple interactions between the two domains, and these interactions shall constitute the object of the following inquiry. It is hoped that this will contribute to a better understanding both of POSSESSION and of VALENCE.
Papers on information structure in African languages
- These proceedings, also online available as No. 46 in the ZAS Papers in Linguistics series under http://www.zas.gwz-berlin.de/index.html?publications_zaspil have resulted from the International Conference "Focus in African languages" held October 6-8, 2005 at the Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft (ZAS) in Berlin. The conference was cooperatively organized by the latter, together with the Collaborative Research Center (Sonderforschungsforschungsbereich) 632, generously funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). It was the first conference bringing together colleagues working on this topic from all over the world in such scale.
Even though this volume contains only ten contributions out of the 35 papers presented at the conference, it displays the wide range of approaches, subjects and languages studied in the field of information structure in African languages. The collection thus reflects the synergetic atmosphere of the conference.
In the name of all organizers (Laura Downing, Ines Fiedler, Katharina Hartmann, Brigitte Reineke, Anne Schwarz, Sabine Zerbian, Malte Zimmermann) we would like to take this opportunity to thank the participant reviewers and student assistants for their contributions by which the conference became such a fruitful forum for inspiring and seminal studies in this field. Also special thanks for their effort in copy editing to our research assistants Lars Marstaller and Paul Starzmann.