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Article

Marcin Kilarski and Marc Allassonnière-Tang

Classifiers are partly grammaticalized systems of classification of nominal referents. The choice of a classifier can be based on such criteria as animacy, sex, material, and function as well as physical properties such as shape, size, and consistency. Such meanings are expressed by free or bound morphemes in a variety of morphosyntactic contexts, on the basis of which particular subtypes of classifiers are distinguished. These include the most well-known numeral classifiers which occur with numerals or quantifiers, as in Mandarin Chinese yí liàng chē (one clf.vehicle car) ‘one car’. The other types of classifiers are found in contexts other than quantification (noun classifiers), in possessive constructions (possessive classifiers), in verbs (verbal classifiers), as well as with deictics (deictic classifiers) and in locative phrases (locative classifiers). Classifiers are found in languages of diverse typological profiles, ranging from the analytic languages of Southeast Asia and Oceania to the polysynthetic languages of the Americas. Classifiers are also found in other modalities (i.e., sign languages and writing systems). Along with grammatical gender, classifiers constitute one of the two main types of nominal classification. Although classifiers and gender differ in some ways, with the presence of a classifier not being reflected in agreement (i.e., the form of associated words), in others they exhibit common patterns. Thus, both types of nominal classification markers contribute to the expansion of the lexicon and the organization of discourse. Shared patterns also involve common paths of evolution, as illustrated by the grammaticalization of classifier systems into gender systems. In turn, particular types of classifiers resemble various means of lexical categorization found in non-classifier languages, including measure words, class terms, as well as semantic agreement between the verb and direct object. All these three means of classification can be viewed in terms of a continuum of grammaticalization, ranging from lexical means to partly grammaticalized classifiers and to grammaticalized gender systems. Although evidence of classifiers in non-Indo-European languages has been available since the 16th century, it was only the end of the 20th century that saw a formative stage in their study. Since then, classifier systems have offered fascinating insights into the diversity of language structure, including such key phenomena as categorization, functionality, grammaticalization, and the distinction between lexicon and grammar as well as the language-internal and external factors underlying the evolution of morphosyntactic complexity.

Article

Discourse and pragmatic markers are functional units, universally present in human language, that deictically relate text fragments, propositions, utterances, and discourse chunks to the context of speech. They manage the interaction of the discourse participants in the speech situation and facilitate successful communication. This group of functional units includes elements as diverse as discourse and pragmatic markers in the broad sense, illocutionary markers, sentence particles, modal particles, and connectives. Romance languages, particularly the spoken varieties, exhibit all those types of elements, even modal particles, which have often been claimed to be absent in Romance. As in other languages, discourse and pragmatic markers mostly develop out of adverbs and adverbials (especially prepositional phrases), but nouns, adjectives, verbal forms, and other (parenthetical) phrases are further possible sources. One case that is peculiar to Romance is the ability to combine lexical material with the common complementizer corresponding to ‘that,’ which leads to more or less grammaticalized items that function as discourse and pragmatic markers. The wealth of data for Romance and Latin offers plenty of opportunities for the study of the diachronic evolution of discourse and pragmatic markers. In this context, the question whether discourse and pragmatic markers represent cases of grammaticalization or pragmaticalization and discoursivization remains a matter of some debate. In particular, the increased interest in linguistic interfaces in formal linguistic grammar theory has led to highly detailed investigations of the Romance left periphery, which has been shown to host all kinds of discourse-related phenomena.

Article

The Romance languages have a rich numeral system that includes cardinals—providing the bases on which the other types of numeral series are built—ordinals, fractions, collectives, approximatives, distributives, and multiplicatives. Latin plays a decisive and continued role in their formation, both as the language to which many numerals go back directly and as an ongoing source for lexemes and formatives. While the Latin numeral system was synthetic, with a distinct ending for each type of numeral, the Romance numerals often feature more than one (unevenly distributed) marker or structure per series, which feature varying degrees of inherited, borrowed, or innovative elements. Formal consistency is strongest in cardinals, followed by ordinals and then the other types of numeral, which also tend to be more analytic or periphrastic. From a morphological perspective, Romance numerals overall have moved away from the inherited syntheticity, but several series continue to be synthetic formations—at least in part—with morphological markers drawn from Latin that may have undergone functional change (e.g. distributive > ordinal > collective). The underlying syntax of Romance numerals is in line with the overall grammatical patterns of Romance languages, as reflected in the prevalence of word order (with arithmetical correlates), connectors, (partial) loss of agreement, and analyticity. Innovation is prominent in the formation of higher numerals with bases beyond ‘thousand’, of teens and decads in Romanian, and of vigesimals in numerous Romance varieties.

Article

Andrea Scala

Gallo-Italic dialects are spoken in northern Italy, in a wide area covering Liguria, Piedmont, Lombardy, and Emilia-Romagna and some adjacent territories of Trentino, Tuscany, Le Marche, and southern Switzerland. The term Gallo-Italic was coined by Bernardino Biondelli about the middle of the 19th century and later used in a more rigorous way by Graziadio Isaia Ascoli to identify a group of dialects sharing a significant amount of linguistic features (mainly, but not only, phonetic features). However, Gallo-Italic dialects are not demarcated by a single isogloss and represent rather a group of dialects centered on a cluster of areas defined by individual isoglosses. The highest concentration of these isoglosses (cf., e.g., lenition, loss of final vowels other than -a, labialized front vowels [ø] (or [œ]) < ŏ in stressed open syllable, and [y] < ū, the fronted outcomes [i̯t]/[ʧ] < -ct-) can be found in western Lombardy and Piedmont, whereas some of them do not reach, for example, Liguria and eastern Emilia-Romagna. Such a geographical distribution of isoglosses suggests that they must have spread in northern Italy primarily from Milan or both Milan and Turin, the two main centers of innovation in this area.

Article

The linguistic history of the Italian, French, and Occitan Jewish communities may be reconstructed thanks to the survival of both written records and modern dialects. The situation of the three groups, however, sharply diverges in terms of quality and quantity of the available sources and retention of their linguistic identity after the medieval period. For the Jewish communities of the Italo-Romance area, there is a corpus of medieval and modern texts, mostly in Hebrew script, and with several dialectological inquiries for modern and contemporary dialects. As for the Jewish communities of Northern France, only a limited corpus of medieval written sources exists, because the French-speaking Jews were linguistically assimilated to their respective environments after the 1394 expulsion from the kingdom of France. On the other hand, the records of the Occitan-speaking Jews are scanty for both the medieval and the modern periods, when they apparently maintained a certain amount of linguistic distinctiveness.

Article

Romanian stands out from its sister Romance languages through the conditions of its historical evolution. It has developed in isolation from the other Romance languages, and in cultural and linguistic contact with various non-Romance populations. The history of writing in Romanian, and the earliest preserved texts, dating from the 16th century, also reflect this rather unique heritage. The main dialectal division is marked geographically by the Danube river. The variety developed north of the Danube forms the Daco-Romanian group, while the variety developed south of the Danube includes Aromanian and Megleno-Romanian. The most characteristic changes affecting consonants in the development of Romanian include several patterns of palatalization (with or without affrication, depending on the segments’ place and manner of articulation), the emergence of labial-coronal clusters as part of a more general preference for labials, and rhotacism, a major feature of nonstandard varieties. Major vocalic changes include patterns of diphthongization, vowel raising before nasals and in the context of trills, which led to the development of two phonemic central vowels, /ɨ/ and /ʌ/. Many of these patterns show variation among different varieties. In all varieties of Romanian, vowel alternations are involved in morpho-phonological alternations. The stress pattern of modern Romanian follows the stress pattern of Balkan Romance. The standard and nonstandard varieties differ with respect to their intonation patterns, particularly in the case of yes/no questions.

Article

A number of recent developments in phonological theory, beginning with The Sound Pattern of English, are particularly relevant to the phonology of compounds. They address both the phonological phenomena that apply to compound words and the phonological structures that are required as the domains of these phenomena: segmental and nonsegmental phenomena that operate within each member of a compound separately, as well as at the juncture between the members of compounds and throughout compounds as a whole. In all cases, what is crucial for the operation of the phonological phenomena of compounds is phonological structure, in terms of constituents of the Prosodic Hierarchy, as opposed to morphosyntactic structure. Specifically, only two phonological constituents are required, the Phonological Word, which provides the domain for phenomena that apply to the individual members of compounds and at their junctures, and a larger constituent that groups the members of compounds together. The nature of the latter is somewhat controversial, the main issue being whether or not there is a constituent in the Prosodic Hierarchy between the Phonological Word and the Phonological Phrase. When present, this constituent, the Composite Group (revised from the original Clitic Group), includes the members of compounds, as well as “stray” elements such as clitics and “Level 2” affixes. In its absence, compounds, and often the same “stray” elements, are analyzed as a type of Recursive Phonological Word, although crucially, the combinations of such element do not exhibit the same properties as the basic Phonological Word.

Article

Chinese has a rich system of Sentence-Final Particles (SFPs). Traditional grammar and descriptive linguistic studies attempt to capture the precise semantic interpretation and the discourse function of each particle. Much work related to this aspect tries to find out what the core semantic interpretation of a given SFP is, how the diverse interpretations of a given SFP are developed from its core interpretation, and in what context the use of a given SFP is licit. Linguists from different disciplines have made important observations and offered various explanations. On the other hand, diachronic studies trace the origin and the evolution of each SFP, which helps understand the core semantics of SFPs in modern Chinese. Studies on different Chinese dialects also help the understanding of the meaning and the function of SFPs from a comparative perspective. Under the generative framework, SFPs are analyzed as complementizers, which are located in the peripheral domain. Both traditional grammarians and generative syntacticians are interested in patterns like the rigid order that necessarily shows whenever SFPs co-occur. They attempt to establish the hierarchical order of SFPs and identify the general principle that regulates such an order. Recent studies show that such an order is regulated by a discourse constraint related to subjectivity, according to which the higher a functional projection is located, the more directly it is for such a projection to be linked to the speaker’s attitude, the more subjective the interpretation of such a projection becomes, and the less likely it is for such a projection to be embedded. This constraint offers an explanation to the question of why only some SFPs can appear in embedded clauses whereas the others demonstrate root properties. Syntacticians are also interested in the question of how to derive the final order of SFPs. Two analyses are available: disjunction analysis and complement-to-specifier raising analysis. A more recent finding is that under the minimalist framework, each SFP heads a phase and bears an EPP feature. Complement-to-specifier raising is required as a last resort to satisfy the Extended Projection Principle (EPP). The complement of an SFP is moved to the phase edge to postpone the transfer of the phrases that are embedded within the complement, which allows these phrases to be extracted later.

Article

The history of the Romanian lexicon has been divided into periods in various ways: (a) the Latin of the Danubian provinces (from around the 2nd to around the 7th centuries); (b) common Romanian (româna comună, from 8th to 11th/12th centuries); and (c) preliterary Romanian (the centuries this period covers vary, from the 8th century at the earliest to the 14th century at the latest) and the rise of literary Romanian (start of the 16th century–1780). This latter period includes the most important stages in the process of unification and modernization of Romanian, and thus of its lexicon; (d) Modern Romanian (1780–1945); and (e) the contemporary era, including the socialist period (1945–1989) and current Romanian. A stand-alone section 7 discusses the numerous external influences of varied and complex origin: geographic contact, bi- and multilingualism, foreign occupation and/or domination, and last but not least, the strengthening of national conscience followed or accompanied by a cultural and political paradigm shift.

Article

Masayoshi Shibatani

The major achievements in syntactic typology garnered nearly 50 years ago by acclaimed typologists such as Edward Keenan and Bernard Comrie continue to exert enormous influence in the field, deserving periodic appraisals in the light of new discoveries and insights. With an increased understanding of them in recent years, typologically controversial ergative and Philippine-type languages provide a unique opportunity to reassess the issues surrounding the delicately intertwined topics of grammatical relations and relative clauses (RCs), perhaps the two foremost topics in syntactic typology. Keenan’s property-list approach to the grammatical relation subject brings wrong results for ergative and Philippine-type languages, both of which have at their disposal two primary grammatical relations of subject and absolutive in the former and of subject and topic in the latter. Ergative languages are characterized by their deployment of arguments according to both the nominative (S=A≠P) and the ergative (S=P≠A) pattern. Phenomena such as nominal morphology and relativization are typically controlled by the absolutive relation, defined as a union of {S, P} resulting from a P-based generalization. Other phenomena such as the second person imperative deletion and a gap control in compound (coordinate) sentences involve as a pivot the subject relation, defined as an {S, A} grouping resulting from an A-based generalization. Ergative languages, thus, clearly demonstrate that grammatical relations are phenomenon/construction specific. Philippine-type languages reinforce this point by their possession of subjects, as defined above, and a pragmatico-syntactic relation of topic correlated with the referential prominence of a noun phrase (NP) argument. As in ergative languages, certain phenomena, for example, controlling of a gap in the want-type control construction, operate in terms of the subject, while others, for example, relativization, revolve around the topic. With regard to RCs, the points made above bear directly on the claim by Keenan and Comrie that subjects are universally the most relativizable of NP’s, justifying the high end of the Noun Phrase Accessibility Hierarchy. A new nominalization perspective on relative clauses reveals that grammatical relations are actually irrelevant to the relativization process per se, and that the widely embraced typology of RCs, recognizing so-called headless and internally headed RCs and others as construction types, is misguided in that RCs in fact do not exist as independent grammatical structures; they are merely epiphenomenal to the usage patterns of two types of grammatical nominalizations. The so-called subject relativization (e.g., You should marry a man who loves you ) involves a head noun and a subject argument nominalization (e.g., [who [Ø loves you]]) that are joined together forming a larger NP constituent in the manner similar to the way a head noun and an adjectival modifier are brought together in a simple attributive construction (e.g., a rich man) with no regard to grammatical relations. The same argument nominalization can head an NP (e.g., You should marry who loves you ). This is known as a headless RC, while it is in fact no more than an NP use of an argument nominalization, as opposed to the modification use of the same structure in the ordinary restrictive RC seen above. So-called internally headed RCs involve event nominalizations (e.g., Quechua Maria wallpa-ta wayk’u-sqa-n -ta mik”u-sayku [Maria chicken-acc cook-P.nmlzr-3sg-acc eat-prog.1pl], lit. “We are eating Maria cook a chicken,” and English I heard John sing in the kitchen ) that evoke various substantive entities metonymically related to the event, such as event protagonists (as in the Quechua example), results (as in the English example), and abstract entities such as facts and propositions (e.g., I know that John sings in the kitchen ).