this new year brings you new organizers, and new talks. Here’s a list:
- February 16, 4-5pm: Allison Kirk, Correlatives in New Testament Greek. Venue: De Vrieshof 4/012
this new year brings you new organizers, and new talks. Here’s a list:
The correlative construction, characterized by a pre-posed relative clause (RC) adjoined to a matrix clause, finds itself in all branches of the oldest Indo-European languages: Hittite, Vedic Sanskrit and Latin. Correlatives remain as a relativization strategy in Modern Hindi:
(1) jo laRkii khaRii hai vo lambii hai
REL girl standing is DEM tall is
‘The girl who is standing is tall’
(lit, ‘Which girl is standing, this one is tall)
Although correlatives also have a long history in Greek, they have not received proper attention in the historical or theoretical literature. In this talk, I discuss correlatives from the (relatively late) Koiné period, using the Greek New Testament (after 45 AD) as a corpus. I will show that the structure of the RC in correlative sentences is similar to that of the NT Greek wh-question, involving an articulated Left Periphery. Evidence comes from particle and verb placement, as well as case phenomena.
A new (academic) year, new meetings! We’ve already got a lot of slots filled, but are always looking for more, so if you’d like to share your wisdom research with your colleagues, please contact one of the organizers. Remember, al meetings start at 16.15 sharp, unless otherwise noted!
Sita ter Haar will discuss her EEG experimental design and will be open for feedback. The title of her talk is: Phonological perception by human infants. An ERP experiment. The meeting will be in 308 in Lipsius at 16.15.
Mundabli is a Western Beboid language spoken in the Northwest Province of Cameroon. The genetic setup and affiliation of Western Beboid are far from clear and research on these languages is still in its initial stages.
Taking a look at possession in Mundabli, we find that there are two different constructions which both involve a possessive relation between two referents. The most common construction is the simple possessive construction in which the word order is Possessum + Possessor, as in fo ŋkɯŋ ‘my cap’ or fo ŋkʊŋ ‘the cap of the chief’, without a (segmental) associative particle intervening. The alternative construction usually has slightly different (and more restricted) semantics/pragmatics. Formally, it differs from the common possessive construction in two aspects:
(a) the precedence relationship between Possessum and Possessor is reversed, so that the Possessum usually follows the Possessor (though the hypothesis is that they are no longer part of the same phrase),
(b) the pronominal Possessor does not take the form of a possessive pronoun but that of a simple pronoun.
This can be seen in the example of external possession given below:
ʃaŋ dɯ mɯ wuŋ
sand loc.COP 1SG nose ‘There’s sand in my nose.’
(literally: ‘sand is me at/in the nose’; loc.COP=locative copula)
This construction seems to be semantically restricted to body parts and at least one kinship relation (child). This is typically the case for external possession (or possessor raising).
In external possession there is often a part-whole relationship between Possessum and Possessor involved. Semantically, “it often involves a significant change of state in the referent of the possessor” while “from a syntactic viewpoint, Possessor Raising [or external possession] creates an independent clausal argument out of a constituent of an NP”. (Comrie & Polinsky 1999). In my presentation I will present data collected during two field trips to Cameroon and discuss the status of the examples found. Are the described cases really instances of external possession?
Comrie, Bernard & Maria Polinsky (1999).‘Possessor raising in a language that does not have any’. In Doris L. Payne and Emmanuel Barshi, eds.: External Possession, 523–542. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
In many South American languages some kind of evidentiality is expressed. However, in the existing grammatical descriptions of these languages the category of evidentiality is not always adequately described or even recognized. One of the problems is that the term evidentiality is used both with a broad interpretation and with a narrow interpretation. In order to grasp the general nature of this category, it is very important to determine its constitutive parts and tease out the different semantic categories that are involved in the expression of evidentiality. The relationship between evidentiality and epistemic modality has been quite well studied, whereas the relationship between evidentiality and involvement of the speaker has hardly been studied at all. In this paper I will make a first attempt to first establish and unravel this relationship.
In this paper, I use the terms ‘evidentiality’ and ‘speaker involvement’ as follows: semantically, evidentiality is used in a narrow sense to mean the marking of the source of information. When it comes to the form of this marking, the use of the term is much more broad. That is, not just grammatical marking of the source of information is included in this study, as Aikhenvald (2003) defines the term; any type of material, such as morphology, periphrastic constructions, syntactic constructions etc. can be used in order to express the source of information. The term involvement (of the speaker) is used as a semantic category to express the physical, mental or social participation of the speaker in the event he or she is describing. This can also be expressed formally in many different ways.
A first indication of the relation evidentiality and involvement of the speaker can be found in what Aikhenvald (2004:219) calls the ‘first person’ effect. These effects consist of the reduced involvement of the speaker when a less direct evidential is used. This is illustrated by example (1) from Tucano. Because of the use of the non-visual form –asï, the speaker shows that he was not consciously involved in the breaking of the plate. When the speaker applies a visual evidential as in example (2), he or she is suddenly consciously involved in the breaking of the plate.
This lack of involvement is not only found with first person subjects. In his doctoral thesis, Michael (2008) shows how ‘information responsibility’ and ‘event responsibility’ are tied together in the Arawakan language Nanti. That is to say, in Nanti indirect evidential forms are not only used to express that the speaker does not have direct information, but also to express that the speaker has no responsibility pertaining to the event; he or she was not involved in the event.
Both the ‘first person’ effects of evidentials and the use of evidentials to express (the lack of) event responsibility indicate that there is a relation between evidentiality and the involvement of the speaker. This paper will address different phenomena that indicate this relation. Understanding the interrelatedness of the different semantic components which constitute different aspects of evidentiality will undoubtedly give us a tool by which we can more readily identify and analyze evidentiality both conceptually and formally.
(1) bapá bopê-asï. (Ramirez 1997:133)
‘I have broken a plate unintentionally.’
(2) bapá bopê-apï. (Ramirez 1997:133)
‘I have broken a plate intentionally.’
Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. (2004). Evidentiality. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Michael, L.D. (2008). Nanti evidential practice: Language, knowledge, and social action in an Amazonian society. PhD Dissertation. University of Texas, Austin.
Ramirez, Henri (1997). A fala tukano dos yepâ-masa. Tomo I: Gramática. Inspectoria Salesiana Missionária da Amazônia, CEDEM, Manaus.
Please note that this meeting will start at 15.30!
More than half a century ago, W.J.H. Caron gave his inaugural lecture in Amsterdam. He talked about the history of the vowel that is now pronounced as a schwa in Dutch. He claimed that this vowel (as in the words de and te, and in the morphemes ge- and be-) was pronounced as a more palatal sound (described as a short [e]) in the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth century. He based this theory mainly on information from contemporary grammars. In 2007 R. Gaspar claimed to have found evidence for this theory in the form of two remarkable ways of spelling which he noticed in a collection of 18th-century private letters. The first remarkable spelling is the so-called invisible spelling (eg. d where you would expect the word de), the second is the double spelling (eg. dee where you would expect de). In this talk I will put Gaspar’s hypotheses to the test, comparing his data with what we could find in a Letters-as-Loot corpus of 17th-century (private) letters. I will show that the invisible spelling should not be linked with a palatal pronunciation of the reduced vowel unconditionally. Furthermore I will critically review Gaspar’s theory on the origin and distribution of the double spelling. In this way I hope to adress the underlying problem of linking spelling to pronunciation and to shed some light on a very small, but intriguing part of the history of Dutch.
Caron, W.J.H. (1952) De reductievocaal in het verleden: een beschouwing over mededelingen van Lambert ten Kate en Petrus Montanus aangaande de uitspraak van den zwakbeklemtoonden klinker in het Nederlands. (Inaugural lecture) Groningen: Wolters.
Caron, W.J.H. (1973) “Al tee voor Willem Pée” in Album Willem Pée (de jubilaris aangeboden bij zijn zeventigste verjaardag). Tongeren: G. Michiels.
Gaspar, R.J.G.A.A. (2007) “De reductievocaal [ə]: enige opmerkelijke verschijningsvormen en realiseringen, voornamelijk in de achttiende eeuw” in Nederlandse Taalkunde 12/1, 25-49.