[Lingtyp] "grammatically encoded"

David Gil gil at shh.mpg.de
Tue Mar 7 09:35:10 UTC 2023

Dear all,

I agree with Martin that Boye and Harder's criterion offers perhaps the 
best way to understand the notion of "grammatical".

With that in mind, I am a little surprised that the well-known class of 
sentence-terminal (usually -final) "discourse particles" so common in 
many mainland and insular Southeast Asian languages has not figured more 
prominently in this discussion.

Such particles satisfy Martin's second and third criteria for being 
"grammatical", and to a lesser extent also the first.

And while they are associated with a variety of functions ranging from 
"logical" to "discourse", some of them also do appear to express 
emotions.  For example, in Papuan Malay, /(m)ba/ seems to express 
irritation, while /ji/[low tone] expresses disgust.


On 07/03/2023 16:04, Martin Haspelmath wrote:
> Dear all,
> Linguists tend to be particularly interested in "grammatically 
> encoded" meanings, and they give special names such as "timitive" only 
> to grammatical elements, not to ordinary words like 'fear'.
> Are interjections "grammatical"? Jocelyn Aznar said yes:
>> I would say interjections are mostly used for this usage of 
>> expressing emotions toward a situation. I'm not sure though that 
>> interjections fit your definition of "grammatically encoded", in 
>> particular the bit "not easily admit new items", but it would fit 
>> mine :)
>> Best regards, Jocelyn
> It seems to me that we have at least three different criteria that 
> give different results:
> – bound vs. free (= not occurring in isolation vs. occurring in 
> isolation; Bloomfield 1933)
> – secondary in discourse vs. (potentially) primary in discourse (Boye 
> & Harder 2012)
> – closed class vs. open class
> The "closed-class" criterion is often mentioned, but languages have 
> many free forms that can be the main point of an utterance and that do 
> not (evidently) belong to open classes. For example, English "afraid" 
> belongs to a smallish class of predicative-only "adjectives". And 
> "bound" is not the same as "grammatical" either because many languages 
> have bound roots.
> So I think that Boye & Harder's criterion of being "conventionally 
> secondary in discourse" corresponds best to the way "grammatically 
> encoded" is generally understood. By this criterion, interjections (or 
> words like "afraid") are not grammatical elements.
> Best,
> Martin
>> Le 06/03/2023 à 09:29, Ponrawee Prasertsom a écrit :
>>> Dear typologists,
>>> There has been claims in the literature (Cinque, 2013) that (at 
>>> least some) speakers' emotional states toward a situation such as 
>>> "fear" and "worry" are not grammatically encoded in any language, 
>>> where "grammatically encoded" means not encoded by closed-class 
>>> items ("closed-class" in a morphosyntactic sense: a group of 
>>> morphemes that occur in the same slot that do not easily admit new 
>>> items and/or have few members).
>>> I am interested in examples of any grammaticalized marker for any 
>>> emotional states (not necessarily "fear" and "worry"). I am 
>>> interested in both markers of 1) the /speaker/'s emotional states 
>>> toward the situation being expressed as well as 2) of the 
>>> /subject/'s emotional states toward the situation. The class of the 
>>> item could be bound (clitics, affixes) or free (particles, auxiliary 
>>> verbs) as long as it could be shown to be (somewhat) closed. I am 
>>> only interested in markers specialised for specific emotions, and 
>>> not, e.g., impoliteness markers that could be used when the speaker 
>>> is angry.
>>> The "(un)happy about the verb" infixes /-ei/- and -/äng-/ from the 
>>> constructed language Na'vi would be the paradigm example of what I 
>>> am looking for if they actually existed in a natural language.
>>> A potential example is Japanese /-yagatte, /which some have told me 
>>> have grammaticalised into an affix encoding anger about the action. 
>>> I'm also looking into whether there is evidence that this is 
>>> actually part of a closed-class and would appreciate any 
>>> pointers/more information.
>>> Thank you very much in advance.
>>> Best regards,
>>> Ponrawee Prasertsom
>>> PhD student
>>> Centre for Language Evolution
>>> University of Edinburgh
>>> *References:*
>>> Cinque, G. (2013). Cognition, universal grammar, and typological 
>>> generalizations. Lingua, 130, 50–65. 
>>> https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lingua.2012.10.007 
>>> <https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lingua.2012.10.007>
>>> _______________________________________________
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David Gil

Senior Scientist (Associate)
Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Deutscher Platz 6, Leipzig, 04103, Germany

Email:gil at shh.mpg.de
Mobile Phone (Israel): +972-526117713
Mobile Phone (Indonesia): +62-082113720302
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