Arbeiten des Kölner Universalien-Projekts : akup
Institut für Sprachwissenschaft, Universität zu Köln. Hrsg. der Reihe: H. Seiler
Year of publication
- English (27) (remove)
- Noun, verb, and participation (1987)
- 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.
- On the sequence of the techniques on the dimension of participation (1988)
- This is a survey of the development of the model of PARTICIPATION (P'ATION) with reference to the postulated sequence of the techniques on the dimension of P'ATION. Along with a brief explanation of the techniques this article contains a discussion of the major claims with regard to the sequence of the techniques and the possibilities of subjecting the claims to empirical verification.
- Remarks on deixis (1992)
- The prevailing conception of deixis is oriented to the idea of 'concrete' physical and perceptual characteristics of the situation of speech. Signs standardly adduced as typical deictics are I, you, here, now, this, that. I and you are defined as meaning "the person producing the utterance in question" and "the person spoken to", here and now as meaning "where the speaker is at utterance time" and "at the moment the utterance is made" (also, "at the place/time of the speech exchange"); similarly, the meanings of this and that are as a rule defined via proximity to speaker's physical location. The elements used in such definitions form the conceptual framework of most of the general characterisations of deixis in the literature. [...] There is much in the literature, of course, that goes far beyond this framework . A great variety of elements, mostly with very abstract meanings, have been found to share deictic characteristics although they do not fit into the personnel-place-time-of-utterance schema. The adequacy of that schema is also called into question by many observations to the effect that the use of such standard deictics as here, now, this, that cannot really be accounted for on its basis, and by the far-reaching possibilities of orienting deictics to reference points in situations other than the situation of speech, to 'deictic centers' other than the speaker. [...] Analyses along the lines of the standard conception regularly acknowledge the existence of deviations from the assumed basic meanings. One traditional solution attributes them to speaker's "subjectivity", or to differences between "physical" and "psychological" space or time; in a similar vein, metaphorical extensions may be said to be at play, or a distinction between prototypical and non-prototypical meanings invoked. Quite apart from the question of the relative merits of these explanatory principles, which I do not wish to discuss here, the problem with all such accounts is that the definitions of the assumed basic meanings themselves are founded on axiom rather than analysis of situated use. The logical alternative, of course, is to set out for more abstract and comprehensive meaning definitions from the start. In fact, a number of recent, discourse-oriented, treatments of the demonstratives proceed this way; they view those elements as processing instructions rather than signs with inherently spatial denotation (Isard 1975, Hawkins 1978, Kirsner 1979, Linde 1979 , Ehlich 1982.)
- Patterns of grammaticalization in African languages (1982)
- The approach outlined in the present paper is based on observations made with African languages. Although the 1000-odd African languages display a remarkable extent of structural variation, there are certain structures that do not seem to occur in Africa. Thus, to our knowledge, an African language having anything that could be called an ergative case or a numeral classifier system has not been discovered so far. It may turn out that our approach can, in a modified form, be made applicable to languages outside Africa. This , however, is a possibility that has not been considered here. The present approach is based essentially on diachronic findings in that it uses observations on language evolution in order to account for structural differences between languages. Thus, it has double potential: apart from describing and explaining typological diversity it can also be material to reconstructing language history.
- Morphosyntactic predication : a functional-operational approach (1986)
- As a traditional notion of fundamental importance in linguistics and philosophy (logic), "predication" is fraught with controversial issues. It is thus difficult to delimit the scope of this paper without becoming involved in some major issue. The following distinctions seem to me to be plausible on an intuitive basis. Evidence for why they are useful and legitimate will be found in the body of the paper. The discussion will focus on morphosyntactic predication […].
- Local prepositions and serial verb constructions in Thai (1984)
- The present paper is an attempt to describe a particular semantic domain in Thai, that of local relations, in terms of a gradual interconnection of what traditional descriptions usually regard as distinct and isolated categories. It is based on the well-known observation that isolating languages like Thai typically display a high degree of 'multifunctionality', or else of syntactic 'versatility' of very many lexical items. […] The semantic area studied in the following pages yields a clear systematic interconnection of three different categories, viz. that of nouns – as the focal instance of maximum syntactic independence –, that of verbs – as, conversely, the focal instance of maximally relational concepts –, and, as an intermediary category between these two, that of prepositions which the system lexically feeds from both these opposite ends. The examples given in the course of this paper have been obtained from published grammatical literature, from Thai texts, and from informants.
- Nominalization and lexicalization in modern Newari (1977)
- One of the striking features in modern Newari noun phrases is the wide usage of a set of affixes found in combination with the various elements that may expand a noun into an endocentric construction. At first sight such affixation would appear as a linking device by which the subordinate constituents of a noun phrase are tied to their head noun. Closer investigation, however, reveals a more complex picture which I have attempted to outline in the following paragraphs. The results of this inspection lead to the conclusion that the pattern of affixation displayed in Newari mirrors the close interaction of two converse functional principles: both the syntagmatic function of nominal determination on the one hand and a paradigmatic function – the formation of certain types of lexicalized expressions in Newari – formally tie in with each other by the application of one common technique.
- Twentv-four questions on linguistic typology and a collection of answers (1982)
- At the end of last year, I designed an inquiry about the present state of linguistic typology in the form of a questionnaire. It was an attempt to cover the whole field by formulating the questions which seemed most relevant to it. This questionnaire is reproduced, without modifications, following this preface. In the first days of this year, it was sent to 33 linguists who I know are working in the field. The purpose was to form, on the basis of responses received, a picture of convergences and divergences among trends of present-day linguistic typology. The idea was also to get an objective basis for my report on "The present state of linguistic typology", to be delivered at the XIII. International Congress of Linguistics at Tokyo, 1982.
- Possessive constructions in Tolai (1982)
- Possessive constructions are grammatical constructions which contain two nominals and express that the referent of one of these nominals belongs to the other. The kind of relationship denoted by possessive constructions is not only that of ownership (1), as the term "possessive" might suggest, but also that of kinship (2), bodypart relationship (3), part/whole relationship (4) and similar relationships [...]. The following investigation will start with possessive constructions on phrase level, i.e. possessive phrases, and then deal with possessive constructions on clause level.
- Adnominal and predicative possessive constructions in Melanesian languages (1983)
- According to the present state of research, there seems to be no language which shows possessive classifiers and possessive verbs corresponding to English "to have" at the same time. In classifier languages predicative possession is expressed by verbless clauses, i.e. by existential clauses ("there is my possessed item"), equative clauses ("the possessed item is mine" "that is my possessed item") or by locative expressions ("the possessed item is near me"), in which the classifier in the case of non-inherent possession marks the nature of the relationship. While most Melanesian languages, as for instance Fijian, Lenakel, Pala and Tolai are classifier languages, Nguna, a Melanesian language spoken in Vanuatu, only shows traces of the Melanesian possessive classifier system, but, in contrast to the other Melanesian languages, it has a possessive verb, namely 'peani' "to have". In order to show how the Nguna possessive constructions deviate from the common Melanesian type, we shall start with a brief description of the Melanesian possessive constructions in general, and that of Fijian in particular.