"simple juxtaposition"

claude-hagege claude-hagege at WANADOO.FR
Tue Nov 25 16:10:55 UTC 2008

Dear Hartmut, Östen and Martin,

In my opinion, Hartmut is quite right. Prosody can easily be compared across 
languages, provided we resort to precise measures, in Hz and seconds, of 
intensity variations, melodic curves and time-sharing.

    Such measures are available in any good phonetics lab. Any linguist who 
wishes to make sure that prosodic arguments he uses are solid should not 
hesitate to work in this way (if I may refer to a work of mine in passing, I 
did so in "On categories, rules and interfaces in linguistics, The 
Linguistic Review 21, 2004, 257-276).

    Let us at last stop ostracizing prosody when it appears that it plays an 
important role as a function-marker.


Claude Hagège

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Martin Haspelmath" <haspelmath at EVA.MPG.DE>
Sent: Monday, November 24, 2008 3:03 PM
Subject: Re: "simple juxtaposition"

> No, Hartmut, don't worry. What I mean is that prosody cannot be easily 
> compared across languages.
> It's fairly easy to compare segmental overt marking (genitive, person 
> affixes), especially with the absence of segmental marking 
> (juxtaposition).
> In practical terms, Andrew and Irina will have to ignore prosody in their 
> definition of juxtaposition at this point, so for them Västerbotten 
> Swedish will count as juxtaposition.
> Martin
> Hartmut Haberland wrote:
>> Really Martin, do you /mean/ that intonation (prosody) is no overt 
>> marking? Has the "written language bias in linguistics" taken over for 
>> good? Even Bloomfield knew that /'black 'bird/ vs. '/blackbird/ contrast 
>> not just in meaning but also in form - and /not/ because of the 
>> difference in spelling.
>> Hartmut
>> Martin Haspelmath wrote:
>>> I disagree with David and Östen:
>>> David Gil wrote:
>>>> Re the Västerbotten dialect: I would tend to agree with Östen Dahl 
>>>> that, as compounds, they don't really belong in the same boat as true 
>>>> syntactic juxtapositions.
>>> Östen Dahl wrote:
>>>> I also think that "simple juxtaposition" is not a wholly adequate label 
>>>> for these constructions, which are rather to be seen as a kind of 
>>>> incorporation involving among other things "compound" prosody.
>>> Whether "simple juxtaposition" is an appropriate label for Västerbotten 
>>> (Swedish) Pelle-äpple 'Pelle's apple' or not depends on the definition 
>>> of "simple juxtaposition" as a comparative concept. Typologists are free 
>>> to define their comparative concepts in whatever way they want, and they 
>>> cannot assume that "juxtaposition" exists as a pre-established category 
>>> (innate or otherwise given in advance, independently of the linguist).
>>> Recall that this is how Andrew Spencer and Irina Nikolaeva define the 
>>> concept "simple/pure juxtaposition":
>>> "by means of pure juxtaposition, without any other morphosyntactic 
>>> marking (agreement, adpositions, case marking etc.)"
>>> This is not a very precise definition (it is unclear what exactly is 
>>> meant by "morphosyntactic marking", and especially by "etc."). However, 
>>> the interpretation that many readers would think of first is in terms of 
>>> "overt marking" (usually by segmental marking, but possibly by stem 
>>> change, as in the Welsh example). But there is no overt marking in 
>>> Swedish, so this does fit Andrew's and Irina's definition. Östen points 
>>> to "compound prosody", implying that "simple juxtaposition" should not 
>>> have "compound prosody". But such a move does not work in typology, 
>>> because "compound prosody" is not a universally applicable notion. 
>>> Comparative concepts need to be defined in terms of universally 
>>> applicable concepts.
>>> Östen also suggests the label "incorporation", but how this is different 
>>> from juxtaposition is unclear. Often it is thought of in terms of 
>>> non-referentiality of the incorporee, but in Västerbotten the incorporee 
>>> can evidently be referentil (Pelle-äpple).
>>> Martin
>>> P.S. I think the term "simple (or pure) juxtaposition" is somewhat 
>>> confusing, because it suggests that "complex juxtaposition" also exists. 
>>> In fact, however, juxtaposition is universally understood in the Spencer 
>>> & Nikolaeva sense: as expression of a relationship between A and B by 
>>> putting A next to B without any overt coding. Juxtaposition is thus 
>>> "simple"/"pure" by definition.
> -- 
> Martin Haspelmath (haspelmath at eva.mpg.de)
> Max-Planck-Institut fuer evolutionaere Anthropologie, Deutscher Platz 6 
> D-04103 Leipzig      Tel. (MPI) +49-341-3550 307, (priv.) +49-341-980 1616
> Glottopedia - the free encyclopedia of linguistics
> (http://www.glottopedia.org)

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