[Lingtyp] Glossed corpora of languages w/o grammaticalized definiteness marking

David Gil gil at shh.mpg.de
Fri Jun 7 01:32:00 EDT 2019

Dear Juergen,

Ian Joo mentioned our Indonesian corpus; a better way of accessing a 
more complete version is described at 

However, I am puzzled by your criteria, specifically by the notion of 
"grammaticalized definiteness (marking)", and a bit surprised nobody so 
far in this thread has picked up on it.

Both terms are problematic, as can be exemplified via Indonesian.  
"Definiteness": well, Indonesian has a couple of nominal markers, /=nya 
and //itu/, that are sometimes described as marking definiteness, though 
I believe that they are more appropriately analyzed otherwise, namely as 
marking possession/association and deixis respectively.  So does 
Indonesian fail to meet criterion 1, or does it in fact offer a nice 
example of "alternative strategies" for marking definiteness?  Depends 
on your analysis.

Then there's the notion of "grammaticalized":  what does it mean to say 
that /=nya and //itu /are grammaticalized? The former marker, /=nya, 
/exhibits some properties that suggest that it might be a clitic, but 
otherwise, these markers would seem to exhibit grammatical behaviour 
similar to most other content words in the language.  So are they 
"grammaticalized"? Well it depends on what you mean by "grammaticalized".

I use Indonesian here merely as an illustration; similar issues arise in 
very many other languages.



On 06/06/2019 22:02, Bohnemeyer, Juergen wrote:
> Dear colleagues — An advisee of mine is looking for glossed texts to investigate the use of strategies alternative to grammaticalized definiteness marking. Basically, she’s trying to identify about half a dozen genealogically and areally unrelated languages each of which meets all of the following criteria:
> 1. The language lacks grammaticalized definiteness marking.
> 2. A text or corpus of texts is available for the language that has Leipzig-standard interlinear glosses and translations in English or Spanish.
> 3. The text (corpus) comprises at least about 1000 clauses, but ideally twice that or more.
> 4. The individual texts should be long-ish and their referring expressions shouldn’t be predominately proper names.
> If you’re aware of a language so resourced, please let me know!
> Many thanks! — Juergen
> Juergen Bohnemeyer, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies
> Department of Linguistics and Center for Cognitive Science
> University at Buffalo
> Office: 642 Baldy Hall, UB North Campus * Mailing address: 609 Baldy Hall, Buffalo, NY 14260
> Phone: (716) 645 0127
> Fax: (716) 645 3825 * Email: jb77 at buffalo.edu * Web: http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~jb77/
> Office hours M 12:30 – 1:30pm / W 1:00 – 1:50 / F 12:30 – 1:50pm
> There’s A Crack In Everything - That’s How The Light Gets In (Leonard Cohen)
> _______________________________________________
> 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): +62-81281162816

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/lingtyp/attachments/20190607/d8acfa93/attachment.html>

More information about the Lingtyp mailing list