[Lingtyp] Affectionate or sympathy marking

Jan Rijkhoff linjr at cc.au.dk
Thu Jan 12 10:37:34 UTC 2023

Dear colleague,

This publication on 'one-trick-ponies' would probably be interesting for your purpose:

Rijkhoff, Jan. 2010. Functional categories in the noun phrase: on jacks-of-all-trades and one-trick-ponies in Danish, Dutch and German. Deutsche Sprache 38 (Heft 2/10), 97 123. (Special issue: Modifikation im Deutschen: Kontrastive Untersuchungen zur Nominalphrase). Online: http://pub.ids-mannheim.de/laufend/deusprach/ds10-2.html

>From the abstract:
This paper deals with functionally defined modifier categories of the noun phrase in some Germanic languages, in particular Danish, Dutch and German. (...) Whereas members of certain formal categories (e.g. ADNOMINAL PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE or PP) can be used in several functions (e.g. as CLASSIFYING, QUALIFYING or LOCALIZING/ANCHORING MODIFIERS of the noun), other adnominal modifiers always have the same function. The current investigation first briefly discusses an example of a jack-of-all-trades in Dutch (...), then focuses on a one-trick-pony in Danish, the adjective stakkels ‘poor’  (as in Stakkels pige! ‘Poor girl!’), and compares it with its translational counterpart in German: attitudinal arm (e.g. Der arme Junge! ‘The poor boy!’).

Best, Jan R

From: Lingtyp <lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org> on behalf of Christian Döhler <christian.doehler at posteo.de>
Sent: Thursday, January 12, 2023 11:10 AM
To: lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
Subject: [Lingtyp] Affectionate or sympathy marking

Dear colleagues,

I am looking for publications that address the difference between (1) and (2). In (2), the English adjective poor is used to signal the speaker's sympathy or affection towards the dog.

  1.  The dog is waiting for its owner.
  2.  The poor dog is waiting for its owner.

While English (and my native German) does this by extending the meaning of the adjective poor (and arm in German), other languages have special words with only that meaning. For example, Komnzo bana is a postposed adjective that only conveys sympathy.

    ni bananzo namnzr karen.
    ni           bana=nzo        na\m/nzr                       kar=en
    1NSG    SYMP=only     1PL:NPST:IPFV/stay    village=LOC
    'Only we poor guys stay behind in the village' (subtext: 'while the others are going to the celebration in the neighbouring village')
    (NSG = non-singular, SYMP = sympathy marker, NPST = nonpast)

Yet other languages seem to have special verb morphology for this. Van Tongeren describes this for Suki (her PhD grammar will probably be available later this year).

Pointers to more examples and publications of this are most welcome. I was googling this with keywords like "sympathy", "empathy", "affection", but with not much luck. So there might be a whole literature on this phenomenon under different terminology. If that's the case, then please excuse my ignorance.

Very Best,

Dr. Christian Döhler
Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft (ZAS)
Schützenstraße 18
10117 Berlin
Raum: 445
Tel.: +49 30 20192 412

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