[Lingtyp] Cases of loss of goal markers

Randy J. LaPolla randy.lapolla at gmail.com
Sat Jan 12 04:59:15 UTC 2019

Thanks, David, that is very much the case for Sinitic varieties generally (e.g. dào (< 'arrive’) in Mandarin and yú (< ‘go’) in Classical Chinese), aside from Cantonese, which you mentioned.

Randy J. LaPolla, PhD FAHA (羅仁地)
Professor of Linguistics, with courtesy appointment in Chinese, School of Humanities 
Nanyang Technological University
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Sino-Tibetan Linguistics (2018)
https://www.routledge.com/Sino-Tibetan-Linguistics/LaPolla/p/book/9780415577397 <https://www.routledge.com/Sino-Tibetan-Linguistics/LaPolla/p/book/9780415577397>

> On 12 Jan 2019, at 11:49 AM, David Gil <gil at shh.mpg.de> wrote:
> Dear Ponrawee,
> I have been conducting, for the last several years, an experimental cross-linguistic study of zero-marking options for various thematic roles, of which goal, referred to in this query, is just one — see references below for some preliminary results.  The findings so far suggest that the zero-marking option is much more widespread cross-linguistically than is commonly acknowledged.
> I would, however, question the use of the term "loss" to describe the phenomenon of zero marking.  While this may indeed be appropriate in some cases, in most cases, zero-marking represents a default option, to which additional flagging elements may be added if and where deemed necessary.  Viewing this in terms of "loss" is Eurocentric.  
> Supporting this, in many cases, one finds a path of grammaticalization leading from a zero-marked goal construction to one in which the verb "go" becomes reanalized as an allative marker.  For example, in most varieties of Malay/Indonesian, "pergi" ('go') usually takes a zero-marked goal, as in (1); however, in some varieties, its cognate form is reanalized as an allative marker, as in (2) — its allative function being evidenced by its occurrence in constructions such as (3):
> (1) Riau Indonesian
>             Ali pergi pasar 
>             Ali go market
> (2) Sabah Malay
>             Ali pi pasar
>             Ali go/to market
> (3) Sabah Malay
>             Ali bawa durian pi pasar
>             Ali bring durian to market
> So in Malay/Indonesian, then, it is an allative marker that develops out of a prior zero-marked goal.  (I suspect you might find a similar path of grammaticalization also in Mainland Southeast Asian languages.)
> Gil, David (2008) "How Complex Are Isolating Languages?" in M. Miestamo, K. Sinnemäki and F. Karlsson, eds., Language Complexity: Typology, Contact, Change, John Benjamins, Amsterdam, 109-131.
> Gil, David (2015) "The Mekong-Mamberamo Linguistic Area", in N.J. Enfield and B. Comrie eds., Languages of Mainland Southeast Asia, The State of the Art, Pacific Linguistics, DeGruyter Mouton, Berlin, 266-355.  
> For Gil (2015) see section 2.16 on Optional Thematic-Role Flagging, where the following table is provided showing the availability of "bare oblique" constructions (including but not limited to zero-marked goals) in some languages of the Mekong-Mamberamo area:
> Language Availability of Bare Oblique Constructions:
> Cantonese 42%
> Vietnamese 67%
> Lao 54%
> Muarasiberut Mentawai 75%
> Sundanese 76%
> Jakarta Indonesian 68%
> Nage 79%
> Roon 59%
> Meyah 66%
> On 12/01/2019 03:52, Ponrawee Prasertsom wrote:
>> Dear all,
>> I am looking for languages where goal markers (case affixes, prepositions, etc. corresponding to English to) developed into zero, i.e. are lost. That is, from something like I go to school to I go school. Does anyone know of such cases?
>> Currently, I am aware of only one such case: goal preposition loss on Asia Minor Greek (Karatsareas and Georgakopoulos 2016), which reconstructs history from variation among dialects (se > se/∅ > ∅).
>> Ideally, I would like cases with attested historical data, but reconstruction or any other relevant data such as ongoing change etc. is also welcome. 
>> Reference:
>> Karatsareas, Petros and Thanasis Georgakopoulos. 2016. From syntagmatic to paradigmatic spatial zeroes: The loss of the preposition se in inner Asia Minor Greek. STUF - Language Typology and Universals, 69(2), 309-340.
>> Yours sincerely,
>> -- 
>> Ponrawee Prasertsom
>> Graduate Student
>> Department of Linguistics
>> Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University
>> Bangkok, Thailand
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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>
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