[Lingtyp] Lexical nominalisation of property concepts

Seino van Breugel seinobreugel at gmail.com
Sat Jun 25 11:36:07 EDT 2016


Dear David,

I don't know how many and what type of consultants you consulted about examples
that you offered of unmarked property words in argument position in
Mandarin, but I think that the fact that they consistently rejected your
examples is not a very valid argument to say that the examples were
grammatically incorrect. In my experience, it happens all the time in
fieldwork that native speakers reject example utterances during
elicitation, even though they use them all the time in real, unchecked
life; they are just not aware of it. Due to any number of reasons, when
confronted with certain utterances, they reject them. For example, speakers
may reject an utterance because it deviates from some kind of perceived
standard, and that they feel that, in order to show their knowledge of the
standard, they should reject them, especially when the person asking them
is a very learned person. The point is that, in my opinion, elicitation
alone should not be taken as the basis of a grammatical description.
Elicitation should only be used as a tool to gain some deeper insight into
the language after ample un-elicited, or spontaneous speech has been
collected and analysed.

Regards,

Seino

Dr. Seino van Breugel
https://independent.academia.edu/SeinovanBreugel
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHfiZwqyWC7HfZUAQ1RH1ew

On Sat, Jun 25, 2016 at 1:17 PM, David Gil <gil at shh.mpg.de> wrote:

> Randy,
>
> Thanks for the very nice presentation of textual examples involving the
> various combinations of *de* with the word for 'red'.  Of the examples
> that you cite, it is (2) which constitutes an apparent counterexample to my
> WALS-map classification of Mandarin as requiring a marker in order for a
> property-denoting word to occur in argument position.  Note, however, that
> in the given context, a similar construction is possible also for English:
> you could perhaps have translated (2) as 'See red before giving birth'.
> Given the existence of constructions such as the latter translation, some
> have questioned my characterization of English in the same WALS map,
> arguing that adjectives can indeed occur in unmarked form in argument
> position in English too.  This is the typologist's predicament, and why
> typologists often get as much flack as they do from language specialists.
> Sure, constructions such as these occur in English, however, they are
> significantly more constrained than in a language such as Italian, Hebrew,
> or Malay, in which they occur much more freely.  To do typology, you need
> to posit arbitrary cut-off points, and for better or worse, I chose to
> classify languages which allow unmarked adjectives to occur in limited
> contexts such as English as belonging to the same type as languages which
> do not allow them at all, rather than as belonging to the same type as
> languages that allow them freely.  In large part this was for practical
> reasons; I felt more confident in my ability to get the facts right using
> this cut-off point than the alternative one.  And indeed, your data from
> Mandarin vindicate my decision.  My Mandarin data was based on elicitation,
> and perhaps because I am not an expert in Mandarin, I did not encounter,
> and hence was not aware of, constructions such as that in (2).  Now if I
> had chosen a simple yes/no cut-off point, I would now, on the basis of your
> comments, have to amend my classification of Mandarin, and, much worse, I
> would be increasingly suspicious of my classification of many other
> languages in the sample.  However, given that my Mandarin consultants
> consistently rejected the examples that I offered them of unmarked property
> words in argument position, I remain confident that my classification of
> Mandarin in the WALS map is the correct one.
>
> Best,
>
> David
>
> On 23/06/2016 16:55, Randy John LaPolla (Prof) wrote:
>
> Hi David,
> Sorry to take so long to get back you.
>
> Yes, it is fine to "observe two entities, call them A and B, and then say
> Hey, A and B are alike *with respect to* property X”, but my argument was
> that they are not alike in terms of property X.
>
> In terms of what you said about word classes, *de* is not required in
> Mandarin for an adjective (stative verb) or any other verb to be used as a
> referential phrase; as I argued in my paper arguing for a constructionalist
> approach to Chinese,* it is simply a matter of where it appears in the
> construction. In the case of adjectives, there is a difference in the use
> or not of *de* with the adjective: without it it would probably be more
> often used to refer to the quality as an entity, but with it it would
> probably be used to refer to an object with that quality. Below are five
> natural examples are each type. In 1 we have it without *de,* used to
> refer to a type of red. In 2, also without de, it refers to a red object,
> blood. In 3 it is used with de as a headless relative clause, referring to
> the hands. In 4, with de, it refers to the quality of being red. In 5, with
> de, it refers to the red ring of skin, which might also be seen as a
> headless relative.
>
> 1 中国红到底是什么红? <http://daxianggonghui.baijia.baidu.com/article/49119>
> http://daxianggonghui.baijia.baidu.com/article/49119
> Zhongguo hong daodi shi shenme hong
> China        red   afterall cop what red
> ‘So what is China red?'
>
> 2 产前见红  <http://www.yaolan.com/zhishi/chanqianjianhong/>
> http://www.yaolan.com/zhishi/chanqianjianhong/
> chan qian jian hong
> give.birth before see red
> ‘See blood before giving birth’
>
> 3 白的雪,青的葱,红红的是她的小手 http://tiku.21cnjy.com/quest/gzN2U__QMT4O.html
>
> bai-de xue, qing-de cong, hong-hong-de shi ta-de xiaoshou
> white-de snow, green-de scallion, red-red-de cop 3sg-de small-hand
> ‘White snow, green scallions, the red one is her small hand’
>
> 4 关羽脸为什 么是红的? http://iask.sina.com.cn/b/10634327.html
> Guan Yu lian weishenme shi hong-de
> PN         face why           cop red-de
> ‘Why is Guan Yu’s face red?'
>
> 5 宝宝嘴巴周围一圈红红的是怎么回事?  <http://www.babytree.com/ask/detail/42954>
> http://www.babytree.com/ask/detail/42954
> Baobao zuiba zhouwei yi-quan hong-hong-de shi zenme hui shi?
> baby     mouth around  one-ring red-red-de     cop how    CL thing
> ‘What is the deal with the ring of redness around the baby’s mouth?’
>
> *LaPolla, Randy J. 2013. "Arguments for a construction-based approach to
> the analysis of Chinese". In *Human Language Resources and Linguistic
> Typology*, Papers from the Fourth International Conference on Sinology,
> edited by Tseng Chiu-yu, 33-57. Taiwan: Academia Sinica.
>
> http://randylapolla.net/papers/LaPolla_2013_Arguments_for_a_construction-based_approach_to_the_analysis_of_Chinese.pdf
>
> So for me there are no global word classes; we need to look at the
> propositional functions of the elements in the particular constructions in
> which they appear.
>
> All the best,
> Randy
>
>
> On 13 Jun 2016, at 6:24 pm, David Gil < <gil at shh.mpg.de>gil at shh.mpg.de>
> wrote:
>
> Randy,
>
> Thanks for your comments.  Two points:
>
> With regard to whether Mandarin *de* is a separate word or not, your
> criticism is well-taken; my only defense is that that is the way it is
> usually characterized, and that in a typological survey of this scope,
> there is no other way of doing things other than to rely on extant
> descriptions.  Except perhaps to sidestep the issue of wordhood altogether
> and simply collapse "affix" and "separate word" into a single type, which,
> I suspect, is what would do now if I were doing the chapter all over again.
>
> But I really don't see your point when you write: "I still don’t see what
> lumping together language forms that aren’t similar into categories that
> make them look similar does for us."  Surely this is the only way for
> rational inquiry into language (or any other phenomenological domain) to
> proceed.  "Similar" and "not similar" aren't binary holistic choices, they
> only have meaning in the context of particular criteria or properties.  We
> observe two entities, call them A and B, and then say Hey, A and B are
> alike *with respect to* property X.  The value of saying this depends on
> how trivial or insightful the property X turns out to be, ie. what further
> understandings X leads us towards.  But crucially, the value of X is not
> negated by pointing to properties Y, Z, W, V etc, with respect to which A
> and B differ.  The existence of such properties with respect to which A and
> B differ is totally irrelevant to the value of property X, they do not
> impinge on it in any way.
>
> You ask "what has lumping Mandarin and English together in this context
> taught us about the languages?".  Well one of the things I've always been
> interested in is cross-linguistic variation with respect to parts-of-speech
> inventories.  The present WALS map addresses the issue of whether a
> language distinguishes between adjectives and nouns.  (Note: I'm saying
> "addresses", not "answers".)  Specifically, if a language, like English or
> Mandarin, needs to add a grammatical marker to an adjective in order to
> give it the distributional properties of a noun, then this provides good
> reason to suspect that in such languages, adjectives and nouns constitute
> different word classes, defined distributionally.  Whereas if a language,
> like Italian or Hebrew, doesn't need to make use of such a marker, then
> perhaps it doesn't distinguish between adjectives and nouns (as indeed is
> suggested by the traditional term "substantives" that groups the two
> classes together), though alternatively it could be the case that the
> language in question does distinguish between adjectives and nouns using
> other criteria.
>
> So all this is relevant to English and Mandarin, regardless of the myriad
> other important differences between English *one* and Mandarin
>
> *de. *Best,
>
> David
>
>
>
> On 13/06/2016 17:44, Randy John LaPolla (Prof) wrote:
>
> Hi David,
> Thanks for your reply. The crux may be the definition of Mandarin * de*
> as a word (you don’t specify phonological word or grammatical word, but
> since you treat clitics—grammatical words that aren’t phonological
> words—differently, I am assuming you mean phonological word). It cannot
> appear on its own, and when added to another word, like *hong*, they are
> pronounced together, so it patterns like a clitic, and so is unlike English
> *one* in that way as well (people are often thrown off by the fact that
> in Chinese each character is written separately, but that doesn’t mean each
> character is a phonological word).
>
> And although I don’t want to start the whole debate we had in January
> again, I still don’t see what lumping together language forms that aren’t
> similar into categories that make them look similar does for us. Although I
> can see the practical difficulties of taking the actual facts of all the
> languages seriously, very concretely, what has lumping Mandarin and English
> together in this context taught us about the languages?
>
> Thanks very much.
>
> All the best,
> Randy
>
>
> On 12 Jun 2016, at 1:36 pm, David Gil <gil at shh.mpg.de> 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/>http://randylapolla.net/
>
>
>
> On 11 Jun 2016, at 3:33 pm, David Gil < <gil at shh.mpg.de>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
>>
>>
>> _______________________________________________
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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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>
>
> --
> PhD Program in Linguistics ('Scienze Linguistiche')
> University of Bergamo and University of Pavia - Italy
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Lingtyp mailing listLingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.orghttp://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
>
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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
>
>
>
> --
> 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
>
>
>
> --
> 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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