[Lingtyp] ***UNCHECKED*** Re: NP + PP construction

Martin Haspelmath haspelmath at shh.mpg.de
Mon Sep 28 09:00:00 UTC 2020

It appears that the specific imperative-hortative meaning of the absence 
of the copula in a predlocative construction is a peculiarity of English 
(and maybe a few other European languages).

If we ask a question about "any language", we must use comparative 
concepts, and clearly, Oceanic languages like Mwotlap and Teanu also 
instantiate the type "NP + PP" (as pointed out by Alex François). There 
don't seem to be any clear generalizations about this type, though.

But what is the definition of "NP" (as a comparative concept)? That may 
also be problematic, as pointed out by Siva Kalyan, because some people 
use "DP" as a general term for nominal expressions. Since we cannot say 
"*Your hands in the air", one may want to say that the English 
construction is "N + PP", but what the exact boundaries of this English 
construction are would have to be determined (can personal pronouns be 
used? "you-all to the rescue!"?). Eventually, we might want to ask 
whether there are other languages with a predlocative construction whose 
subject cannot be modified and which lacks a copula.

So this simple case again illustrates that we need to be very clear 
about our comparative concepts.


Am 26.09.20 um 02:41 schrieb Siva Kalyan:
> In English, it would be more natural to say "Legs off the table!". 
> Likewise "(*Your) hands in the air!". I.e., it is probably useful to 
> distinguish N + PP from NP + PP (or rather, NP + PP from DP + PP, 
> depending on your framework).
> Siva
>> On 21 Sep 2020, at 1:51 pm, JOO, Ian [Student] 
>> <ian.joo at connect.polyu.hk <mailto:ian.joo at connect.polyu.hk>> wrote:
>> Dear all,
>> I wonder if there has been any literature on the construction where 
>> there is no verb, but only an NP and a PP, such as:
>> (1) Superman to the rescue!
>> (2) Your legs off the table!
>> Of course, not only in English, but in any language. I would 
>> appreciate your help.
>> From Hong Kong,
>> Ian
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Martin Haspelmath (haspelmath at shh.mpg.de)
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Deutscher Platz 6
D-04103 Leipzig
Leipzig University
Institut fuer Anglistik
IPF 141199
D-04081 Leipzig

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