[Lingtyp] Coexpression of source and agent

David Gil gil at shh.mpg.de
Sat Jul 21 17:08:23 EDT 2018


Tom,

You ask "What happened to 'polyfunctional?'  Well the problem with 
"polyfunctional" is that it presupposes that the form in question has 
multiple distinct functions, as opposed to, say, a single broad function 
that encompasses several distinct more specific functions expressed by 
distinct forms in some other (usually the linguist's own) language.  For 
the latter case I have proposed the term "macrofunctional".

The rationale behind the term "coexpression" is that it is neutral 
between the distinction between macrofunctionality, polyfunctionality, 
and for that matter also homonymy.  This is precisely the point made in 
an earlier posting in this thread by Juergen Bohnemeyer (though he uses 
the terms "underspecification" and "polysemy" instead of 
"macrofunctionality" and "polyfunctionality".

We need the cover term "coexpression" in order to be able to ask 
questions such as whether a given instance of coexpression is a case of 
macrofunctionalty/underspecification, polyfunctionality/polysemy or 
homonymy.  And in order to refer to the phenomena described in large 
databases such as Johann-Mattis List's CLLD, where, because of their 
broad coverage, it is impossible and arguably undesirable to adjudicate, 
for each and every case, whether it is an instance of 
macrofunctionalty/underspecification, polyfunctionality/polysemy or 
homonymy.  (Johann-Mattis actually uses the term "colexification", but 
following Martin Haspelmath's earlier comment, I take colexification to 
be a particular case of coexpression also encompassing 
macrofunctionalty/underspecification, polyfunctionality/polysemy and 
homonymy.)

David


On 21/07/2018 20:33, Tom Payne wrote:
>
> While I share Martin’s objection to the use of “syncretism”, I also 
> think “co-expression” is problematic. Words like “co-author” or 
> “co-operate” imply two actors working together to accomplish one task, 
> e.g., “I co-authored an article with Taeho Jang,” “We co-parent our 
> children”, “They co-wrote a linguistics textbook,” etc. If “co-author” 
> meant what Martin and Juergen suggest “co-expression” could mean, that 
> would be like one person writing two articles – “I co-authored an 
> article on tense, and one on aspect” (meaning I was the only author of 
> those two articles).
>
> I think “co-expression” normally refers to situations where more than 
> one form together (“co-operatively”) express one category, like one 
> might say “/ne/ and /pas/ co-express negation in French.”
>
> What happened to “poly-functional”?
>
> Tom
>
> *From:*Lingtyp <lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org> *On Behalf 
> Of *Martin Haspelmath
> *Sent:* Saturday, July 21, 2018 03:20
> *To:* lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
> *Subject:* Re: [Lingtyp] Coexpression of source and agent
>
> Dear all,
>
> A side comment on terminology: The term "syncretism" is not only 
> opaque, ugly and ambiguous (it originally referred to merging of case 
> distinctions in Indo-European, which was likened to religious 
> syncretism, in a strange metaphor; it can still have this purely 
> diachronic meaning referring to Indo-European cases) – it is also 
> impractical because it does not have a good corresponding verb (cf. 
> ??"Malay /dari/ syncretizes source and agent").
>
> Moreover, it is typically associated with inflection (cf. the Surrey 
> definition: " The term 'syncretism' refers to the phenomenon whereby a 
> single form fulfils two or more different functions within the 
> inflectional morphology of a language": 
> http://www.smg.surrey.ac.uk/syncretism/).
>
> (And syncretism seems to have been construed as a relation between 
> forms: cf. the original title of this thread "syncretism between forms 
> encoding source and agent" – a very cumbersome formulation.)
>
> I would like to propose replacing the term "syncretism" by 
> "coexpression" when it is not used in a context of inflectional 
> morphology (and maybe also in that context). The term "coexpression" 
> is transparent and clear – and it can be used for all kinds of 
> situations where one form corresponds to two meanings or functions.
>
> It has the transparent corresponding verb "coexpress": "Malay /dari/ 
> coexpresses source and agent".
>
> This term was first used in our 2014 paper on semantic role 
> coexpression patterns (Hartmann et al. 2014), and was taken up in 
> David Gil's recent paper on DO/GIVE coexpression. It was inspired by 
> Alex François's (2008) term "colexification" (also used in 
> Johann-Mattis List's new CLLD database on colexifications: 
> http://clics.clld.org/).
>
> A colexification pattern is just a special kind of coexpression 
> pattern – and one might also want to coin the term "coexponence" for 
> inflectional morphology, for a situation where a single vocabulary 
> item coexpones two feature values; i.e. for what has been known as 
> "inflectional syncretism".
>
> Finally, a semantic map could be called a "coexpression map", allowing 
> us to be neutral between different interpretations (cf. different 
> terms such as "conceptual map", "cognitive map", "implicational map", 
> which will confuse many students).
>
> Best,
> Martin
>
> ***************************
>
> References
>
> François, Alexandre. 2008. Semantic maps and the typology of 
> colexification: Intertwining polysemous networks across languages. In 
> Martine Vanhove (ed.), /From polysemy to semantic change: Towards a 
> typology of lexical semantic associations/ (Studies in Language 
> Companion Series 106), 163–216. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
>
> Hartmann, Iren, Martin Haspelmath & Michael Cysouw. 2014. Identifying 
> semantic role clusters and alignment types via microrole coexpression 
> tendencies. /Studies in Language/ 38(3). 463–484.
>
>
>
> On 21.07.18 11:47, David Gil wrote:
>
>     In Malay/Indonesian, the ablative "from" is expressed with
>     /dari/.  And in some but not all varieties of Malay/Indonesian,
>     /dari/ is also used to mark agents, typically, though not
>     exclusively, in "passive" or "passive-like" constructions.
>
>     More specifically, the use of /dari/ to mark agents is
>     characteristic of Eastern contact varieties of Malay; I have heard
>     it in, among other places, Papua, Halmahera, Ambon, Maluku
>     Tenggara and Timor.  And it is also attested in the Kirinda
>     subdialect of Sri Lankan Malay.
>
>     (It should be noted that in many such cases, /dari/ is but one of
>     two or more alternative strategies for flagging agent phrases.)
>
>     David
>
>     On 21/07/2018 01:06, Ponrawee Prasertsom wrote:
>
>         Dear all,
>
>         I am exploring research possibilities on the language of
>         motion events.
>
>         Does anyone know of a language that employs the same form (in
>         any strategy--case, preposition, syntactic roles etc.) that
>         for coding source (the starting point in a motion event, as
>         in: I walked *from* my house to school) and agent?
>
>         Related references would also be highly appreciated.
>
>         Sincerely,
>
>         Ponrawee Prasertsom
>
>         Graduate Student
>
>         Department of Linguistics
>
>         Chulalongkorn University
>
>         Bangkok, Thailand
>
>
>
>
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>
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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
>
>     Mobile Phone (Indonesia): +62-81281162816
>
>
>
>
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>
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>
>
> -- 
> Martin Haspelmath (haspelmath at shh.mpg.de <mailto: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
>
>
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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): +62-81281162816

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