[Lingtyp] Lexical nominalisation of property concepts

David Gil gil at shh.mpg.de
Thu Jun 9 14:07:54 UTC 2016

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".


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 
> 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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