Workshop proposal - Partitives
silvia.luraghi at UNIPV.IT
Sun Oct 11 07:27:58 UTC 2009
Silvia Luraghi, Università di Pavia
Tuomas Huumo, University of Tartu
We plan to submit a workshop proposal to the 2010
Annual SLE (Societas Lingustica Europaea) Meeting
in Vilnius, Lithuania (2 - 5 September, 2010),
and invite papers on partitives in
crosslinguistic perspective. Please send draft
abstracts to both of us no later than November 8,
2009 (final abstracts must be submitted by
January 1, 2010) at the following addresses:
<mailto:silvia.luraghi at unipv.it>silvia.luraghi at unipv.it
<mailto:tuomas.huumo at utu.fi>tuomas.huumo at utu.fi
Some languages, notably Baltic Finnic and Basque,
have a partitive case, which is usually said to
indicate partial affectedness of patients (cf.
Blake 2001: 151). Such function is also
attributed to other cases in languages that do
not have a separate partitive, as in the case of
the Hungarian partitive/ablative, and the
partitive/genitive of various Indo-European
languages (a separate partitive, lexically
restricted, also exists in Russian).
Depending on the language, the use of
partitives may be more or less restricted. In
Basque, for example, the partitive occurs in
negative sentences and it can indicate either the
object of transitive verbs or the subject on
intransitive verbs (in other words, it can
substitute the absolutive case in negative
sentences). A connection between negation and
partitive(genitive) also occurs in the Slavic and
the Baltic Finnic languages. The alternation
between the partitive and other cases sometimes
also has connections with aspect: this has been
argued for Baltic Finnic, Slavic (see e.g.
Fischer 2004), and possibly Sanskrit (Dahl 2009).
In fact, partitivity is not only a possible
feature of patients: in Finnish existentials, for
examples, even agentive intransitive verbs such
as juosta run, opiskella study, etc., take partitive subjects.
In some Indo-European languages, besides
partitive objects and partitive subjects (mostly
with unaccusative verbs, cf. Conti 2009 on
Ancient Greek), partitive adverbials also exist,
for example in time expressions (such as Nachts
during the night in German). In Ancient Greek,
some locative occurrences of the partitive
genitive are attested (see Luraghi 2003, 2009):
è# halòs è# epì gês
or sea:gen or on land:gen
either at sea or on land (Homer, Od. 12.26-27).
In one of the few existing cross-lingustic
description of partitives, Moravcsik (1978: 272)
summarizes typical semantic correlates of partitives as follows:
a. the definitness-indefinitness of the noun phrase;
b. the extent to which the object is involeved in the event;
c. the completedness versus non-completedness of the event;
d. whether the sentence is affirmative or negative.
Moravcsik further remarks that marking
difference brought about by the partitive does
not correlate with any difference in semantic
case function. Thus, the use of the partitive
seems to be at odds with the basic function of
cases, that is marking dependent nouns for the
type of relationship they bear to their heads
(Blake 2001: 1): rather than to indicate a
specific grammatical or semantic relation that a
NP bears to the verb, the partitive seems to
indicate indeterminacy (in various manners). In
fact, this has been noted by several authors. For
example, Laka (1993: 158) suggestes that what is
referred to as partitive case in Basque is a
polar determiner, much like English any. In
Finnish, the functions of the partitive are also
related to indeterminacy, unboundedness and
polarity, and it is noteworthy that the partitive
is not the sole marker of any grammatical
function but participates in a complementary
distribution with other cases in all its main
functions, i.e. as marker of the object
(PART~ACC), the existential subject (PART~NOM)
and the predicate nominal (PART~NOM).
In this connection, one must mention the
so-called partitive article of some Romance
varieties, which derives from the preposition
which has substituted the Latin genitive (Latin
de). In French, the partitive article is clearly
a determiner and not a case marker, as shown by its distribution:
Lenfant joue dans le jardin / un enfant joue dans le jardin
the child plays in the garden / a child plays in the garden
Les enfants jouent dans le jardin / des enfants jouent dans le jardin
the childred play in the garden / some(=part. art.) childred play in the garden
The brief survey above shows that there are
striking similarities among partitives across
languages, which are not limited to the
indication of partial affectedness. However,
reaserch on partitives is mostly limited to
individual languages. In this workshop we would
like to bring together and compare data from
different languages in which a case (or an
adposition, as in French) are classified as partitive.
Possible topics for the workshop include, but are
not limited to, the following:
(a) The distribution of partitives in different
syntactic positions (objects, subjects, other roles) and across constructions;
(b) Partitives as determiners;
(c) Types of verbs with which partitive subjects (or objects) can occur;
(d) The diachrony of partitives: what are the
sources of partitive markers? What is the
diachronic relation between ablative, genitive,
and partitive? (cf. Heine and Kuteva 2002: 32-33, 241);
(e) Do partitives always start out as possible
substitutes for the object case and then extend
to subjects and possibly to other roles? (data
from French and other early Romance varieties
would be in order regarding this point);
(f) Partitives as non-canonical grammatical
markers: Finnish partitive subjects and objects
have been treated under the heading of
non-canonical marking (Sands and Campbell
2001). However, it is highly questionable that
the occurrence of partitive subjects and objects
marked by a partitive article, as in French,
should also be considered under this heading. Is
the change from case marker (including
adpositions) some kind of grammaticalization
process and at what stage should a morpheme start
to be considered a determiner, rather than a case marker?
(g) Discourse functions of partitives: Since
partitives indicate indeterminacy, it might be
expected that they are not topical elements in
discourse. For instance, Helasvuo (2001) has
shown that the referents of Finnish partitive
subjects (unlike those of nominative subjects)
are typically not tracked in discourse. What is
the discourse function of partitives crosslinguistically?
(h) Semantic roles and referential functions of partitives.
(i) Partitives, aspect and quantification: The
Baltic Finnic partitive object is well-known for
its function of indicating aspectual
unboundedness. Other BF partitives (existential,
copulative) do not share the aspectual function
proper but often indicate an incremental theme
(in the sense of Dowty 1991), which gives rise to
unbounded nominal aspect (Huumo 2003, 2009).
What are the aspectual and quantificational
functions of partitives crosslinguistically?
Blake, Barry 2001. Case. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.
Conti, Luz 2008. Zum Genitiv bei impersonalen
Konstruktionen im Altgriechischen. Paper read at
the XIII. Fachtagung der Indogermanischen
Gesellschaft, Salzburg 22.9.-27.9.2008.
Dahl, Eystein 2009 Some semantic and pragmatic
aspects of object alternation in Early Vedic. In
J. Barðdal and S. Chelliah (eds) The Role of
Semantics and Pragmatics in the Development of Case. Amsterdam: John Benjamins
Dowty, David 1991. Thematic proto-roles and
argument selection. Language 67, 547619.
Fischer, Susann 2004. Partitive vs. Genitive in
Russian and Polish: an empirical study on case
alternation in the object domain. In S. Fischer,
R. van de Vijver and R. Vogel (eds.),
Experimental Studies in Linguistics. I, LiP 21. 123-137.
Heine, Bernd and Tania Kuteva 2002. World Lexicon
of Grammaticalization. Cambridge: CUP.
Helasvuo, Marja-Liisa 2001. Syntax in the Making:
The emergence of syntactic units in Finnish conversation. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Huumo, Tuomas 2003. Incremental Existence: The
World According to the Finnish Existential Sentence. Linguistics 41/3: 461493
Huumo, Tuomas 2009. Fictive dynamicity, nominal
aspect, and the Finnish copulative construction.
Cognitive Linguistics 20/1: 4370.
Laka, Itziar 1993. Unergatives that Assign
Ergative, Unaccusatives that Assign Accusative. MITWPL 18: 149-172.
Luraghi, Silvia 2003. On the Meaning of
Prepositions and Cases. A Study of the Expression
of Semantic Roles in Ancient Greek. Amsterdan: Benjamins.
Luraghi, Silvia 2009. The internal structure of
adpositional phrases. In J. Helmbrecht
Y. Nishina, Y.M. Shin, S. Skopeteas, E.
Verhoeven, eds., Form and Function in Language
Research: Papers in honour of Christian Lehmann.
Berlin/ New York, Mouton de Gruyter, 231-254.
Moravcsik, Edith 1978. On the case marking of
objects. In Joseph Greenberg et al. (eds.)
Universals of Human Language, vol IV. Syntax.
Stanford University Press, 249-290.
Sands, Kristina and Lyle Campbell 2001.
Non-canonical subjects and objects in Finnish. In
A. Aikenvald, R. M. W. Dixon, and M. Onishi
(eds.) Non-canonical Marking of Subjects and
Objects. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 251-305.
Dipartimento di Linguistica Teorica e Applicata
Università di Pavia
Strada Nuova 65
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the Lingtyp