[Lingtyp] "grammatically encoded"

Christian Lehmann christian.lehmann at uni-erfurt.de
Tue Mar 7 12:32:18 UTC 2023

Dear Martin and everybody,

while I am not going to doubt that the article by Boye & Harder is 
interesting, I may be allowed to draw attention to my refuting their thesis:

Lehmann, Christian 2013, [Review of: Narrog, Heiko & Heine, Bernd (eds.) 
2011, /The Oxford handbook of grammaticalization./ Oxford: Oxford 
University Press (Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics)] /Beiträge zur 
Geschichte der Deutschen Sprache und Literatur/ 135:442-456. [download 

Taken by itself, the characterization of grammatical expressions as 
"discursively secondary" is vague and not easily amenable to 
operationalization. One criterion offered by the authors themselves is 
stressability, but that does not work (s. my review).

When defining 'grammatical', we want to exclude a set of quite 
incommensurable areas:

 1. Attention is limited to the pairing of significans with
    significatum. The formation of significantia (phonology) and of
    significata (semantics) is not at stake.
 2. We exclude  what is lexical as opposed to grammatical.
 3. We want to exclude what structures the discourse and supports its
    interpretation without being regulated by the language system
    (including the whole of pragmatics).

Taking #1 for granted, conditions #2 and #3 can be met by the following 
definition: Such aspects of linguistic expressions are grammatical whose 
conformation obeys constraints of the particular linguistic system. 
Needless to say, this definition feeds directly into a definition of 

Should anybody be interested in the operationalization of this 
definition, we can go on.



Am 07.03.2023 um 11:19 schrieb Jocelyn Aznar:
> Dear all, Martin Haspelmath,
> > – secondary in discourse vs. (potentially) primary in discourse 
> (Boye & > Harder 2012)
> Thanks for sharing this reference, it is definitely very interesting. 
> I should have been more careful on my terminology.
> Best,
> Jocelyn
> Le 07/03/2023 à 10:04, Martin Haspelmath a écrit :
>> 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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Prof. em. Dr. Christian Lehmann
Rudolfstr. 4
99092 Erfurt

Tel.: 	+49/361/2113417
E-Post: 	christianw_lehmann at arcor.de
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