Arbeiten des Kölner Universalien-Projekts : akup
Institut für Sprachwissenschaft, Universität zu Köln. Hrsg. der Reihe: H. Seiler
Year of publication
- English (27) (remove)
- Two types of Cahuilla kinship expressions : inherent and establishing (1980)
- In my Cahuilla Grammar (Seiler 1977:276-282) and in a subsequent paper (Seiler 1980:229-236) I have drawn attention to the fact that many kin terms in this language, especially those that have a corresponding reciprocal term in the ascending direction – like niece or nephew in relation to aunt – occur in two expressions of quite different morphological shape. The following remarks are intended to furnish an explanation of this apparent duplicity.
- Two systems of Cahuilla kinship expressions : labeling and descriptive ; [to appear in the Festschrift for Madison S. Beeler] (1977)
- The language of the Cahuillas shows two systems of expressions referring to kinship, which could be termed, respectively, as labeling-relational and as descriptive-establishing. […] Descriptive terms show two properties: 1. They are analysable into constituent elements so as to recognize the connection between the term and the proposition. 2. They are distinguishable from the proposition: a. by a special formal element […], in Cahuilla the absolutive suffix. b. by a narrowing or specialization in the meaning. A term which is not descriptive, i.e. which is not connected with a proposition, I shall call "label", "1abeling": It does not say anything about the object but is assigned to it just as a label is attached to a thing […].
- 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.
- Towards a typology of valency (1984)
- Grammatical relations, particularly the notions of transitivity, case marking, ergativity, passive and antipassive have been a favourite subject of typological research during the last decade, but surprisingly, the notion of valency has been of marginal interest in cross-linguistic studies, though the syntactic and semantic status of participants is, to a great extent, determined by the relational properties of the verb. Valency is the property of the verb which determines the obligatory and optional number of its participants, their morphosyntactic form, their semantic class membership (e.g. ± animate, ± human) ,and their semantic role (e.g. agent, patient, recipient). The valency inherently gives information on the nature of the semantic and syntactic relations that hold between the verb and its participants. If a verb is combined with more participants than allowed or less than required, or if the participants do not show the required morphosyntactic form or class membership, the clause is ungrammatical. In other words, it is not sufficient to consider only the number of actants as a matter of valency, but it is only acceptable if all semantic and morphosyntactic properties of the relation between a verb and its participants that are predictable from the verb are included. The predictability of these properties results from their inherent givenness, and it does not seem reasonable to count some inherently given relational properties as a matter of valency, but not others (compare Helbig (1971:38f) and Heidolph et ale (1981:479) who distinguish between the quantitative, syntactic and semantic aspect of valency).
- The dimension of oppositeness : universal and typological aspects (1991)
- Oppositeness, i.e. the relation between opposites or contraries or contradictories, has a fundamental role in human cognition. In the various domains of intellectual and psychological activity we find ordering schemas that are based, in one way or another, on the cognitive figure of oppositeness. It is therefore not surprising that the figure and its corresponding ordering schemas show their reflexes in the languages of the world. [...] We shall be dealing with oppositeness in the sense that a linguistically untrained native speaker, when asked what would be the opposite of 'long' can come up with some such answer as 'short', and likewise intuitively grasp the relation between 'man' and 'woman', 'corne' and 'go', 'up' and 'down', etc. Thinking that much of the vocabulary of a language is organized in such opposite pairs we must recognize that this is an important faculty, and we are curious to know how this is done, what are the underlying conceptual-cognitive structures and processes, and how they are encoded in the languages of the world. We shall leave out of consideration such oppositions as singular vs. plural. present vs. past, voiced vs. unvoiced, oppositions that the linguist states by means of a metalanguage which is itself derived from a concept of oppositeness as manifested by the examples which I gave earlier. Our approach will connect with earlier versions of the UNITYP framework. However, as a novel feature, and, hopefully, as an improvement, we shall apply some sort of a division of labor. We shall first try to reconstruct the conceptual-cognitive content of oppositeness and to keep it separate from the discussion of its reflexes in the individual languages. We shall find that a dimensional ordering of content in PARAMETERS and a continuum of TECHNIQUES is possible already on the conceptual-cognitive level. In order to keep it distinct from the level of linguistic encoding we shall use a separate terminology, graphically marked by capital 1etters.
- 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.)
- Possessivity, subject and object (1982)
- 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.
- 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.
- Posession as an operational dimension of language (1981)
- 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.
- 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.