[Lingtyp] Lexical nominalisation of property concepts

David Gil gil at shh.mpg.de
Sat Jun 11 03:33:31 EDT 2016


Luigi,

Unlike many of my typologist colleagues who seek refuge from the muddy 
waters of formal criteria in the supposed clarity of semantics, I find 
semantic criteria to often be just as problematical, if not more so, 
than their formal counterparts.

For the purposes of my WALS map, I did not use headedness as a defining 
criteria, and I would not wish to take a stand on the headedness in the 
examples that you discuss.  By "adjective" I meant property-denoting 
word one of whose typical functions is as an attribute of a noun, and by 
"noun" I meant thing-denoting word.  The map shows the morphosyntactic 
strategies that a language uses to allow an adjective to occur in a noun 
slot — typically, but not criterially, heading a phrase that occurs in 
an argument position. This definition is met, among others, by the /one/ 
in English /beautiful one/, the /de/ in Mandarin /hong de/, and also by 
the lack of (dedicated adjective-to-noun conversion) marking in the 
Italian /il bello/.

Best,

David

On 10/06/2016 23:01, Luigi Talamo wrote:
> Dear all,
> thanks a lot for your all answers, I really appreciate that.
> I have found your data very interesting, many comments will follow :-)
> I begin below with David's answer.
>
>
>     One of the two kinds of nominalization mentioned in the query
>     ('beautiful' > 'beautiful one') is the subject of my WALS map #61
>     "Adjectives without Nouns".
>
>     David
>
>
>
> Thanks David, I have read your WALS map at the beginning of my work; 
> maybe you remember that we have exchanged a couple of e-mails some 
> time ago. As you mention in the WALS article, the most important issue 
> here is whether adjectives are syntactic heads in constructions such 
> as 'the white one', which translates in Italian as 'quello bianco'. As 
> you probably noticed, I did not consider these constructions in my 
> study, as they appear to me to be more 'predicative' than 
> 'referential', at least in Italian; moreover, the syntactic head of 
> the Italian construction is most likely the deictic quello 'this'. But 
> what about the Mandarin example that is reported in your map, Wǒ yào 
> hóng de. ? Is hóng a property concept with referential function ?
>
> Thanks
>
> Luigi
>
>
>
>
>
>
>     On 09/06/2016 21:14, Luigi Talamo wrote:
>>     Dear all,
>>     I am conducting a research on the lexical nominalisation of
>>     property concepts in contemporary Italian. My study involves two
>>     types of nominalisation strategy, affixation such as bello
>>     `beautiful' -> bell-ezza `beauty (abstract concept)' and
>>     zero-marking ('conversion'), such as bello (adj) -> `(il) bello'
>>     -> `the beautiful person', `beauty (abstract concept)' and `what
>>     is beautiful about something'.
>>     Drawing mostly from 'Leipzig Questionnaire On Nominalisation and
>>     mixed Categories' (Malchukov et alii (2008)) and studies on
>>     adjectival and mixed categories, I have elaborated a series of
>>     morpho-syntactic and semantic parameters, which I have employed
>>     to study de-adjectival nominalizations in actual, corpus-based
>>     contexts.
>>     I would like to insert in my study some cross-linguistic notes on
>>     the phenomenon, which I hope to further study from a typological
>>     perspective. I will be glad if you can provide me some examples
>>     from your languages of expertise. I have found some examples of
>>     de-adjectival nominalizations here and there in grammars, but I
>>     was not able to exactly figure out which are the parameters
>>     involved; moreover, some recent works (among others, Roy (2010),
>>     Alexiadou et alii (2010), Alexiadou & Iordachioaia (2014)) give
>>     interesting insights on de-adjectival nominalization, but
>>     examples are limited to European languages.
>>
>>     I am particularly interested in non-European languages showing a
>>     distinct class of adjectives; morpho-syntatic parameters include
>>     case, number, gender, definiteness and specificity, degree,
>>     external argument structure and, possibly, verbal parameters,
>>     which are however not very significant for Italian de-adjectival
>>     nominalisation; semantic parameters include referent animacy, the
>>     distinction between the nominalisation of the adjectival
>>     'argument' vs. the nominalisation of the adjective itself e.g.,
>>     softie `a thing which is soft' vs. softness and the semantic type
>>     of property concepts e.g., PHYSICAL PROPERTY or HUMAN PROPENSITY.
>>
>>     So, possible questions are as following:
>>     1. Can property concepts be turned into nouns?
>>     2. Which strategies are employed for this purpose?
>>     3. Which parameters do de-adjectival nouns display?
>>     4. Are there any missing values for a given parameter? For
>>     instance, de-adjectival nouns can be only singular or definite or
>>     restricted to the subject position.
>>     5. Are de-adjectival nouns found in both semantic types of
>>     nominalization? For instance, I have observed that European
>>     languages focus on the nominalisation of the adjective itself,
>>     while argument nominalizations are scarcely attested, limited to
>>     certain language varieties and not stable in the lexicon.
>>
>>     (needless to say, questions 2 to 4 can have multiple answers,
>>     helping to describe different patterns of property nominalisation)
>>
>>     Thanks in advance for your help, all the best.
>>
>>     Luigi
>>
>>
>>     -- 
>>     PhD Program in Linguistics ('Scienze Linguistiche')
>>     University of Bergamo and University of Pavia - Italy
>>
>>
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>
>     -- 
>     David Gil
>
>     Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution
>     Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History
>     Kahlaische Strasse 10, 07745 Jena, Germany
>
>     Email:gil at shh.mpg.de <mailto:gil at shh.mpg.de>
>     Office Phone (Germany):+49-3641686834 <tel:%2B49-3641686834>
>     Mobile Phone (Indonesia):+62-82238009215 <tel:%2B62-82238009215>
>
>
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>
>
>
> -- 
> PhD Program in Linguistics ('Scienze Linguistiche')
> University of Bergamo and University of Pavia - Italy
>
>
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-- 
David Gil

Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution
Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History
Kahlaische Strasse 10, 07745 Jena, Germany

Email: gil at shh.mpg.de
Office Phone (Germany): +49-3641686834
Mobile Phone (Indonesia): +62-82238009215

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