41-50 of 540 Results

Article

Sluicing and Predicate Ellipsis in Chinese  

Audrey Yen-hui Li and Ting-chi Wei

This article focuses on sluicing-like constructions and those that have been subsumed under predicate ellipsis—the Aux(iliary)-construction (VP-ellipsis) and the shi-construction. Important facts and main analyses are evaluated in regard to their strengths and weaknesses, leaving some issues for further research. Regarding the sluicing-like construction, this article shows that neither the approach of base-generating a clause [pro (+ copula) + wh] nor the movement + deletion approach fully accommodates all the relevant facts. Nor is it adequate to adopt both derivations simultaneously, as it would wrongly allow sentences that are unacceptable in a number of cases. The second part of this article briefly compares the Aux-construction and the shi-construction. The two differ in the size of the part that is missing—in the former, a Verb Phrase (VP) licensed by an auxiliary, and in the latter, a Tense Phrase (TP) licensed by the verb shi. Neither one allows extraction from within the missing VP/TP, pointing to the advantage of a Logical Form (LF)–copying approach over a Phonological Form–deletion approach.

Article

Southern Gallo-Romance: Occitan and Gascon  

Andres M. Kristol

Occitan, a language of high medieval literary culture, historically occupies the southern third of France. Today it is dialectalized and highly endangered, like all the regional languages of France. Its main linguistic regions are Languedocien, Provençal, Limousin, Auvergnat, Vivaro-dauphinois (Alpine Provençal) and, linguistically on the fringes of the domain, Gascon. Despite its dialectalization, its typological unity and the profound difference that separates it from Northern Galloroman (Oïl dialects, Francoprovençal) and Gallo-Italian remain clearly perceptible. Its history is characterised by several ruptures (the Crusade against the Albigensians, the French Revolution) and several attempts at "rebirth" (the Baroque period, the Felibrige movement in the second half of the 19th century, the Occitanist movement of the 20th century). Towards the end of the Middle Ages, the Occitan koinè, a literary and administrative language integrating the main dialectal characteristics of all regions, was lost and replaced by makeshift regional spellings based on the French spelling. The modern Occitanist orthography tries to overcome these divisions by coming as close as possible to the medieval, "classical" written tradition, while respecting the main regional characteristics. Being a bridge language between northern Galloroman (Oïl varieties and Francoprovençal), Italy and Iberoromania, Occitan is a relatively conservative language in terms of its phonetic evolution from the popular spoken Latin of western Romania, its morphology and syntax (absence of subject clitics in the verbal system, conservation of a fully functional simple past tense). Only Gascon, which was already considered a specific language in the Middle Ages, presents particular structures that make it unique among Romance languages (development of a system of enunciative particles).

Article

Verb Positions and Basic Clause Structure in Germanic  

Jan-Wouter Zwart

The syntax of the modern Germanic languages is characterized by a word order pattern whereby the finite verb appears to the immediate right of the first constituent (“verb second” or V2). In canonical verb-second languages (German, Dutch, Afrikaans, Frisian, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish), verb second is limited to main clauses, yielding a main-embedded clause asymmetry, characteristic of the syntax of many Germanic languages. In the standard generative analysis, dating from the 1970s, the derivation of the verb-second pattern involves two ordered steps: (a) verb movement to the complementizer position C and (b) phrasal movement of an arbitrary constituent to the specifier position of the complementizer phrase. While this analysis remains a popular starting point for generative treatments of Germanic verb second, later developments have posed serious problems for the approach. These developments include (a) the articulation of a more detailed structure of the functional domain of the clause, providing a range of possible landing sites for the finite verb in verb-second clauses; (b) higher standards of descriptive and explanatory adequacy, necessitating well-motivated triggers for each individual movement step; (c) the development of the minimalist program, involving a sharper definition of what counts as syntactic operations, allowing for the possibility that certain processes previously considered syntactic are now better regarded as post-syntactic linearization processes; and (d) the widening of the empirical scope of verb-second research, including a range of related phenomena (such as verb-first or verb-third orders) not easily accommodated within the traditional frame. These developments make the study of verb second an exciting field in current syntactic theory, in which the varied and well-studied phenomena of Germanic continue to provide a fertile ground for the advancement of theory and description.

Article

Further Contributions to Romance Dialectometry  

John Nerbonne

Jean Séguy and Hans Goebl were the founders both of Romance dialectometry and of dialectometry in general, which focused largely on Romance languages in its early years. While other attention to dialects had appealed to scholarly intuition to adduce the principles behind the geographic distribution of linguistic variation, dialectometry insisted on employing exact methods and on basing analyses on entire large samples of material. The samples may often be found in dialect atlases, which pre-dialectometry scholars had assiduously compiled. Dialectometry thus continues the work of dialectology but always proceeding from entire large data collections and using methods that are more exact. It would nonetheless be a mistake to regard dialectometry as purely a methodological contribution, for dialectometry enables new research questions as well as sharper versions of traditional ones, which it has also pursued. Most centrally, dialectometry asks how geography influences linguistic variation, contrasting, for example, the perspective of discrete dialect areas with that of continua or examining the influence of distance or dialect areas on differences among varieties. It further seeks to characterize the sorts of variation involved (i.e., which sounds, words, or grammatical elements are involved) and aspires to characterize linguistic variation in ways that facilitate comparison to variation in other cultural dimensions such as religion, ethnicity, or mobility. Further work on Romance dialectometry has built on Séguy’s and Goebl’s innovative foundations (see ORE article on the Salzburg school) and has expanded the empirical scope of the research line to include non-geographic influences as well. Further contributions to this area of study have conducted analyses on different Romance language areas and have incorporated novel data collection protocols, new measures of pronunciation differences as encoded in phonetic transcription (edit distance), and novel statistical analyses, notably the application of multidimensional scaling, mixed-effects regression techniques, and generalized additive models. Emerging questions in dialectometry include attention to linguistic levels beyond phonetics and lexicology, the stricter validation of its techniques, more effective means of identifying the most important linguistic bases exploited in dialectal differentiation, and naturally the continued research into the enormous range of linguistic variation and its geographic distribution.

Article

Language Ideologies  

Susan Gal

Language ideologies are representations about the nature, structure, and use of linguistic forms in a social world. These understandings are never only about language. They are politically positioned, morally and aesthetically loaded evaluations of the situated linguistic practices to which a social group attends. Language ideologies are evident in practices and in embodied dispositions, or may be implicit in textual form and in material infrastructures. Sometimes they are explicit in discourse. Language ideologies are indispensable in social life because they mediate between aspects of language and other sociocultural phenomena such as identities, interactional stances, and hierarchies of cultural value.Speakers must draw on their presumptions about language and speech to interpret talk and thereby engage in everyday interactions, including child socialization, political debate, ritual speech, intellectual exploration, and governance. Language ideologies have considerable sociopolitical and historical consequences as metacommunications that frame the meaning of enregistered signs-in-use. Mediatingsemiotically between linguistic practices and social as well as linguistic structures, ideologies shape the direction of linguistic and social change. Semiotic concepts of indexicality, differentiation, rhematization, fractality, and erasure are essential in analysis. Language ideologies are evident in communities of all kinds. Scholars, too, have ideological presuppositions which orient their research and have political consequences. A study of a social group's language ideologies is indispensable in projects of language documentation, revitalization, poetics, and multilingual sustainability.

Article

(Non-)Local Dependencies in Germanic  

Augustin Speyer

Dependencies in the Germanic languages are usually established by local configurations in which one element is in the sphere of influence of another. Non-local dependencies are defined as dependencies holding between elements that are not in such a configuration that one element is in the sphere of influence of the other, at least not on the surface. Non-local dependencies can arise as a result of movement, and mostly do so, but there are counterexamples. This article reviews some common non-local dependency phenomena found in the Germanic languages, namely, extraposed relative clauses, predicative adjectives, split topicalization, preposition stranding, long-distance reflexivization, and long wh-movement. For each phenomenon, hints to the analysis are given, and it is checked in which Germanic languages the phenomenon occurs. The focus is on modern Germanic languages, although occasionally the perspective is widened to older stages of Germanic languages. For all cited phenomena with exception of predicative adjectives and long-distance reflexivization, it can be shown that the non-locality of the dependence arises as a result of movement. It is thus spurious non-locality. Predicative adjectives receive their inflectional features by control, whereas for long-distance reflexivization, explanations have been brought forward that center on the question of whether anaphoricity is a sufficient condition on the use of a reflexive pronoun.

Article

Liheci ‘Separable Words’ in Mandarin Chinese  

Kuang Ye and Haihua Pan

Liheci ‘separable words’ is a special phenomenon in Mandarin Chinese, and it refers to an intransitive verb with two or more syllables that allows the insertion of syntactic modifiers or an argument in between the first syllable and the second or the rest of syllables with the help of the nominal modifier marker de. There are two major groups of Liheci: those stored in the lexicon, such as bangmang ‘help’, lifa ‘haircut’, and shenqi ‘anger’, and those derived in syntax through noun-to-verb incorporation, such as chifan ‘eat meal’, leiqiang ‘build wall’, in which fan ‘meal’ and qiang ‘wall’ are incorporated into chi ‘eat’ and lei ‘build’, respectively, to function as temporary verbal compounds. The well-known behavior of Liheci is that it can be separated by nominal modifiers or a syntactic argument. For example, bangmang ‘help’ can be used to form a verb phrase bang Lisi-de mang ‘give Lisi a help’ by inserting Lisi and a nominal modifier marker, de, between bang and mang, with bang being understood as the predicate and Lisi-de mang as the object. Although Lisi appears as a possessor marked by de, it should be understood as the theme object of the compound verb. In similar ways, the syntactic–semantic elements such as agent, theme, adjectives, measure phrases, relative clauses, and the like can all be inserted between the two components of bangmang, deriving verb phrases like (Zhangsan) bang Zhangsan-de mang ‘(Zhangsan) do Zhangsan’s help’, where Zhangsan is the agent; bang-le yi-ci mang ‘help once’, where yi-ci is a measure phrase; and bang bieren bu xiang bang de mang ‘give a help that others don’t want to give’, where bieren bu xiang bang is a relative clause. The same insertions can be found in Liheci formed in syntax. For example, chi liang-ci fan ‘eat two time’s meal’ (eat meals twice), lei san-tian qiang ‘build three day’s wall’ (build walls for three days). There are three syntactic-semantic properties exhibited in verb phrases formed with Liheci: first, possessors being understood as Liheci’s logical argument; second, interdependent relation between the predicate and the complement; and, third, obligatory use of verbal classifiers instead of nominal classifiers. In this article, first, five influential analyses in the literature are reviewed, pointing out their strengths and weaknesses. Then, the cognate object approach is discussed. Under this approach, Lihecis are found to be intransitive verbs that are capable of taking nominalized reduplicates of themselves as their cognate objects. After a complementary deletion on the verb and its reduplicate object in the Phonetic Form (PF), all the relevant verb phrases can be well derived, with no true separation involved in the derivation, as all the copies of Liheci in question remain intact all along. After a discussion of the relevant syntactic structures, it is shown that with this syntactic capacity, all participants involved in the events can be successfully accommodated and correctly interpreted. The advantage can be manifested in six aspects, demonstrating that this proposal fares much better than other approaches.

Article

Ellipsis in the Romance Languages  

José M. Brucart, Ángel J. Gallego, and Javier Fernández-Sánchez

Linguistic expressions are complex objects that consist of sound and meaning. However, it is well known that certain linguistic expressions that convey meaning may lack sound, given the appropriate context. Consider the string John a book: Without a previous context, the sequence cannot be interpreted as propositional; however, when such string constitutes the second conjunct in a coordination structure as in Mary read a paper and John a book, it then receives full propositional content. More specifically, the second conjunct is unequivocally interpreted as John read a book, not as John wrote a book or John will read a book, for example. These phenomena, which involve meaning without sound, fall within the domain of ellipsis. Ellipsis is pervasive across languages, although its existence poses an obvious challenge to the dual nature of linguistic expressions as pairs of sound and meaning (note that, in a sense, ellipsis phenomena are the flipside of expletive elements like the pronoun it in it snows, which involve sound without meaning). Precisely because of its theoretical relevance, it has always occupied a privileged position in the linguistic literature. Although English has played a crucial role in the inquiry on ellipsis, more languages, including Romance languages, have been increasingly considered to strengthen the empirical validity of the various theories available. The goal of this article is twofold: first, to show how Romance languages can contribute to our theoretical understanding of ellipsis and, second, to discuss the various issues regarding parametric variation within Romance in the domain of nominal, verbal, and clausal ellipsis.

Article

The Language of Medicine in the Romance Languages  

Pius ten Hacken

The nature of the object designated by language as used in medical language is quite different from the one used in Romance language. A language such as French or Galician can be said to exist as a speech community or as a norm. The speech community is a way of classifying speakers on the basis of their competence, and the norm regulates what is considered proper use of this competence in the speech community. Medical language is primarily based on the classification of performance in particular contexts. These contexts vary widely, and it is not possible to determine a homogeneous register or genre of medical language. The variation is much more pronounced in medical language than in other specialized languages, in part due to the fact that speaking and writing about medicine ranges from technical discussions in specialized research journals to court proceedings in cases about health insurance and to communication between doctors and patients. To the extent that there is a unifying factor in these varieties, it is rather to be found at the lexical level than at the discourse level. Medical dictionaries record the vocabulary that is specific to medicine as well as words that have special meanings in a medical context. For French, Spanish, and Italian, large monolingual medical dictionaries have been compiled. Such medical dictionaries are often reworked for other languages. In some cases, American dictionaries have served as a model, resulting especially in South America also in bilingual dictionaries. Apart from medical dictionaries, anatomical atlases also play a role in recording specialized vocabulary. Medical vocabulary is often characterized by the application of specific word-formation processes. As the language of medicine used to be Latin, which itself had borrowed many terms from Greek, neoclassical word formation and borrowings from Latin and Greek are frequent. The special relationship that persists between Latin and modern Romance languages facilitates the sharing of such words among languages. Although much medical research is now reported on in English, the Latin-based component of the vocabulary remains important, because there is also a significant proportion of Latin and French loanwords in English. This feature of medical language also makes the formation of corresponding words in Romance minority languages such as Ladin less problematic, which in turn supports the use of these languages in communication with patients in the relevant communities. The use of Romance languages in medical journals is a measure of the resistance to English dominance in the domain. In all major Romance language areas, we find English-only medical journals, especially among those with the greatest impact, alongside journals with a mixture or with only the Romance language. Particularly in the case of Spanish, there are also journals that publish all articles in two languages, translating them into English after acceptance.

Article

Norwegian  

Agnete Nesse

Norwegian is mainly spoken in Norway and is represented in writing by two written languages, Bokmål (90%) and Nynorsk (10%). Both would work well as a written standard for the whole country but are to some extent regionally distributed. The distribution is partly based on the dialects and their likeness to one of the two written standards, and partly on tradition and ideology. There is no codified standard spoken Norwegian, so in formal settings the choice is either to approximate to one of the written standards, or to simply use dialect, which is most often the case. Norwegian is part of the Scandinavian dialect continuum. Due to geography and historical developments in the region, most Norwegians easily understand spoken Swedish but sometimes struggle with written Swedish. Conversely, they easily understand written Danish but sometimes struggle with spoken Danish. Einar Haugen pinned the term Semi Communication to the almost mutual understanding between speakers of Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish. Between Norwegian and the insular Nordic varieties Icelandic and Faroese, there is no mutual intelligibility. Norwegian has both synthetic and analytic language characteristics. Grammatical meaning is partly conveyed morphologically by endings and partly syntactically through word order. The vocabulary is, apart from a group of loanwords from Greek and Latin, almost solely Germanic. Due to the influence from German (Low and High), Danish, and English, parts of Norwegian vocabulary will be recognizable to speakers of other Germanic varieties. The influence caused by the century-long language contact between Sami, Finnish, and Norwegian has not led to great changes in the vocabulary, but, regionally, dialects have changed due to this contact. The part of Norwegian vocabulary that has been retained from Old Norse is to some degree recognizable to modern speakers, but Old Norse as such is not comprehensible to a modern Norwegian reader. Typical grammatical features of Norwegian are 1. A relatively homogenous vowel inventory of nine vowels, and a heterogenous consonant system in which the dialects differ between 17 and more than 25 different phonemes. 2. Two distinctive tonemes in most dialects. 3. Suffixed definite article. 4. V2 word order