[Lingtyp] Lexical nominalization of property concepts

Martin Haspelmath haspelmath at shh.mpg.de
Sun Jun 12 09:51:21 EDT 2016


Yes, David is exactly right.

It is rue that many people would say that English "one" is a 
substantivizer (allowing attributive modifiers to occur without an overt 
noun), while Mandarin "de" is an attributivizer (allowing nominals and 
clauses as well as many adjectives to occur as modifiers).

But English "one" is not obligatory on all nominal modifiers that occur 
without a noun (e.g. one can say "I like Lee's paper better than Kim's 
Ø", or "She bought five apples and I bought three Ø"), and Mandarin "de" 
is not obligatory on all attributive nominal modifiers (one can say 
"hóng huā" for 'red flower'). So the language-particular facts are more 
complex and not reducible to the "substantivizer" (or pro-form) / 
"attributivizer" (or relativizer) contrast.

What's crucial for David's map is that the attributivizer is obligatory 
in a pro-form context ('the red one' must be "hóng de", and cannot be 
"hóng"), thus being a sort of pro-form itself, at least in this context.

I think it would be perfectly reasonable to ask whether languages have a 
dedicated substantivizer in nounless adjectival constructions, i.e. a 
form that never occurs in attributive constructions, like English "one", 
or Lezgian "-di". This would be a different question, a bit more 
difficult to answer (because it requires negative information), but 
every bit as interesting as David's question.

This discussion nicely illustrates the fact that typologists can come up 
with diverse comparative concepts, none of which need to match a 
descriptive category closely, and all of which are meaningful and 
potentially interesting.

Best,
Martin

On 12.06.16 07:36, David Gil wrote:
> Randy,
>
> Yes, my chapter in WALS characterizes the English and Mandarin 
> constructions as "of the same type structurally", and yes, the two 
> constructions are different from each other in precisely the ways that 
> you describe!
>
> That's what typology does: dividing things into classes according to 
> one set of criteria, thereby putting in to the same class things that 
> are very different according to other sets of criteria.  And that's 
> precisely what has happened here.  My WALS chapter asks whether an 
> adjective can occur on its own as a noun, without any further 
> morphosyntactic marking and the answer for both English and Mandarin 
> is the same: no.  It then further asks, for languages that require 
> such morphosyntactic marking, what the formal properties of the 
> marking is, distinguishing between affixes and separate words, and 
> between forms that occur before and after their host adjective.  And 
> once again, Mandarin and English come out the same, with a separate 
> word that occurs after its host adjective.  That's all the WALS 
> chapter purports to say.
>
> Now clearly many constructions in different languages with the same 
> WALS feature values will differ from each other in myriad other ways, 
> as is the case for English and Mandarin here.  You may feel that the 
> typology proposed in the "Adjectives without Nouns" WALS map overlooks 
> what's "most important" about the constructions in question, and you 
> could indeed be right about that.  I suspect, however, that an 
> alternative "Adjective without Nouns" map distinguishing between 
> "English and Mandarin types" on the basis of headedness would have 
> been impractical to produce, since it is too theory dependent, and 
> hence it would not have been possible to glean the necessary 
> information from available grammatical descriptions of a sufficiently 
> large sample of languages.  (In fact, while I agree entirely with your 
> description of the difference between English and Mandarin, I bet that 
> there are even grammatical descriptions of English and Mandarin out 
> there that would see things differently.)
>
> I hope this clarifies matters ...
>
> David
>
>
> On 12/06/2016 08:20, Randy John LaPolla (Prof) wrote:
>> Hi David,
>> It seems from your message here and from your chapter in WALS that 
>> the English construction with /one/ and the Chinese construction with 
>> /de /are of the same type structurally. I don’t know if I have read 
>> you right, but although they are made up of the word representing a 
>> property concept followed by another word, the two constructions are 
>> quite different (and the natures of all of the words involved are 
>> different as well). In the relevant use of English /one/, it is a 
>> pro-form (see Goldberg, Adele E. & Laura A. Michaelis. 2016. One 
>> among many: anaphoric /one/ and its relationship to numeral /one/. 
>> /Cognitive Science/ 40.4:1–26. DOI: 10.1111/cogs.12339  for 
>> interesting discussion) and clearly the head of the phrase, but in 
>> the Chinese example /de/ is only a nominalizer and clearly not the 
>> head of the phrase, either in terms of structural behaviour (e.g. in 
>> English /one/ patterns like other heads, e.g. we can say “this one”, 
>> but this is not the case with Chinese /de/) or in terms of speakers’ 
>> “feel” for what is the core element of the phrase.
>>
>> This sort of goes back to the discussion on categorization we had 
>> back in January.
>>
>> All the best,
>> Randy
>> -----
>> *Prof. Randy J. LaPolla, PhD FAHA* (羅仁地)| Division of 
>> Linguistics and Multilingual Studies | Nanyang Technological University
>> HSS-03-45, 14 Nanyang Drive, Singapore 637332 | Tel: (65) 6592-1825 
>> GMT+8h | Fax: (65) 6795-6525 | http://randylapolla.net/ 
>> <http://randylapolla.net/>
>>
>>
>>
>>> On 11 Jun 2016, at 3:33 pm, David Gil <gil at shh.mpg.de> wrote:
>>>
>>> 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
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>     _______________________________________________
>>>>>     Lingtyp mailing list
>>>>>     Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org  <mailto:Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org>
>>>>>     http://listserv.linguistlist.org/mailman/listinfo/lingtyp
>>>>
>>>>     -- 
>>>>     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>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>     _______________________________________________
>>>>     Lingtyp mailing list
>>>>     Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
>>>>     <mailto:Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org>
>>>>     http://listserv.linguistlist.org/mailman/listinfo/lingtyp
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> -- 
>>>> PhD Program in Linguistics ('Scienze Linguistiche')
>>>> University of Bergamo and University of Pavia - Italy
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> Lingtyp mailing list
>>>> Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
>>>> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/mailman/listinfo/lingtyp
>>>
>>> -- 
>>> 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
>>>
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Lingtyp mailing list
>>> Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org 
>>> <mailto:Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org>
>>> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/mailman/listinfo/lingtyp
>>
>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> CONFIDENTIALITY: This email is intended solely for the person(s) 
>> named and may be confidential and/or privileged. If you are not the 
>> intended recipient, please delete it, notify us and do not copy, use, 
>> or disclose its contents.
>> Towards a sustainable earth: Print only when necessary. Thank you. 
>
> -- 
> 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
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Lingtyp mailing list
> Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/mailman/listinfo/lingtyp

-- 
Martin Haspelmath (haspelmath at shh.mpg.de)
Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History
Kahlaische Strasse 10	
D-07745 Jena
&
Leipzig University
IPF 141199
Nikolaistrasse 6-10
D-04109 Leipzig





-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/lingtyp/attachments/20160612/c9670593/attachment-0001.html>


More information about the Lingtyp mailing list