query re dyad constructions

Paolo Ramat paoram at UNIPV.IT
Sun May 23 09:14:03 UTC 2004

query re dyad constructionsDear Nick, 
enclosed you may find the text of your article with a suggestion I have added to it.

Best wishes,
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Nick Evans 
  Sent: Sunday, May 23, 2004 4:56 AM
  Subject: query re dyad constructions

  Dear Colleagues, I am currently preparing an article on 'Dyad constructions' for the Encyclopaedia of Language and Linguistics. I enclose pdf and Word versions of the draft of this article, as well as a pdf file listing the languages known to me so far in which Dyad constructions are attested. The paragraph pasted in below summarizes what dyad constructions are.

  So far I have the impression that the worldwide distribution of dyad constructions is heavily skewed, with a strong concentration in the Western Pacific (especially Australia, Austronesian, Papuan) with sporadic attestation in western north America, the Amazon, the Caucasus, Siberia and Khoisan. However, this may be an artefact of my own areas of knowledge, of the book holdings in our library here, or of particular descriptive traditions. I would therefore be very grateful if any subscribers to this list were able to extend the list of languages (and of course further data on construction types etc.) beyond what I have included in these files.

  Yours gratefully, Nick Evans

  Dyad constructions denote relationally-linked groups of the type 'pair/group of brothers' or 'mother and child(ren)'. They may be formed by morphological derivation, as with Kayardild (Australian) ngamathu-ngarrb 'mother and child' < ngamathu 'mother', or they may be unanalyseable lexical roots , such as Mianmin (Papuan) lum  'father and child'. Though they most commonly refer to pairs, as in the above examples, they may also refer to larger groups, e.g. Mianmin lum-wal  'father and children'. Where a dual-plural contrast exists, the dual dyad is usually formally unmarked (§3). Though the above languages have dedicated dyad forms, it is more common for dyadic constructions to overlap formally with other categories, most commonly reciprocals, proprietive or possessive constructions, or pair markers (§4). Dyad constructions display a notably skewed geographical distribution, being concentrated in the language families of the Western Pacific, with only scattered occurrences elsewhere (§5).
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