Linguistik-Klassifikation: Lexikologie/Etymologie / Lexicology/Etymology
Descriptivity grading of finnish body-part terms
- Three quantificational approaches to the measurement of lexical descriptivity are proposed, based on: the semantic sum of the parts of a lexeme is equal to the whole, paraphrase-term and term-paraphrase congruence, explicitness of semantic elements of a construction. Combination of all possible values into tripartite sets and then into equipollent groups results in a system composed of 12 grades. This system was tested with a semantic domain of the Finnish lexicon: body-part terms. The descriptivity indices for each lexical item were correlated with natural divisions of the body, construction-motivation types (form, function, location), grammatical construction types (endo- and exocentric compounds, derived forms, metaphors), and loanwords. These comparisons result in a number of grade profiles whereby specific descriptivity grades are characteristically associated with one or more types of body section, construction motivation, and grammatical construction. Diachronic and synchronic evidence points overwhelmingly to a process of semantic narrowing in the development of descriptive words and labels from phrases or sentences.
Measuring nominal descriptivity
- Using Ultan's theory of descriptivity grading as a starting point, I will attempt to capture this differential utility in terms of [...] criteria of literalness, explicitness and syntactic complexity. I will first briefly present his System and investigate some generalizations which he has proposed on the basis of his study of body part terminologies in numerous languages. I will apply his theory to nouns in this and four other semantic domains, in three North American Indian languages. I will test his generalizations and propose some new ones. I will then present an alternative system of descriptivity grading and compare the results of its application with those of Ultan's system. In the final section I will suggest another methodology for quantification. An appendix at the end of the paper lists all of the descriptive lexical items mentioned, graded according to both systems.
Analysis of a Cayuga Particle : ne:' as a Focus Marker
- A feature of the Northern Iroquoian languages is their especially rich inventory of particles. This paper is concerned with one particle in the Cayuga language which has a widespread distribution and performs a broad range of apparently unrelated functions. The particle ne:' is commonly .translated as 'it is/that is', 'this' or ' that'. In other instances it is translated as predominant stress, or is simply omitted in the translation. The particle can occur in almost any syntactic or semantic environment, but it is not obligatory in any context. The various functions that have been suggested in the literature include indication of declarative mood and assertion, marking of emphasis, focus or contrast, and expression of predicative and deictic force. I argue that the particle ne:' can be described successfully if its distribution is considered from a wider perspective, taking into account discourse structure and variation in scope. Its analysis as a focus marker can account for the variety of apparently unrelated functions. The analysis is based on a detailed study of the particle' s distribution in spoken language using a database of five Cayuga texts by four different speakers, including three narratives, one procedural text and a children 's version of a ceremonial text.
An interesting couple: the semantic development of dyad morphemes
- Most systematic discussion of dyad morphemes has focussed on Australian languages, owing to a combination of their relative prevalence there, and the development of a descriptive tradition that investigates them in some depth. In the course of researching this paper, however, I became aware of functionally and semantically similar morphemes in many other parts of the world, almost invariably described in isolation from any typological reference point. I have incorporated such data as far as I am aware of it, in the hope that a systematic study will encourage other investigators to identify, and investigate in detail, similar constructions in a range of languages. The current state of our research, however, as well as some interesting geographical skewings that I discuss below, such that outside Australia dyad constructions almost exclusively employ reciprocal morphology, means that most of this paper will focus on Australian languages.