SKY Journal of Linguistics, vol. 16:2003
Abstracts SKY:n sivuille

Agurtzane Elordui:
Variation in the Grammar of Endangered Languages: The Case of Two Basque Dialects

Researches addressing variation in language loss suggest that the factors underlining variation in endangered languages differ from the factors that account for variation in healthy languages. The results of this study focused on the patterns of variation across the language use of different speakers of two dying dialects of Basque, also show that differences related with the social status of the speakers do not explain the morpho-syntactic variation found in these dialects. The data indicate that the patterns of variation found in these terminal communities can be better accounted for in terms of differentiation in the degree of language use frequency of the speakers and in the diversity of their acquisitional backgrounds. These results come to confirm King's proposal according to which variation arises in dying languages as a result of a language death process whereby simplified variants gradually replace more complex variants, especially in the speech of semi-speakers (King 1989: 139). Likewise, the analysis of the overgeneralized or new variants used particularly by semi-speakers reveals that linguistic considerations such as scale of morphological complexity of the variant, markedness and semantic and morphological transparency have a relevant importance in order to explain the linguistic nature of this variation.

Remus Gergel:
Modal Syntax: Detecting its Parameters with VP-Ellipsis

Recent syntactic approaches unconventionally transfer semantic modal distinctions to syntactic structure or syntax-relevant observations with the evidence usually concentrating on scope (relative to negation, quantifiers, etc). This paper discusses why such interesting preliminary indications are less than fully satisfactory. Moreover, it argues for at least a local co-encoding of modal parameters in English syntax with corroborating support based on licensing of VP-ellipsis. Evidence is presented in which dichotomies between (i) differently grammaticalized modals, (ii) epistemic/deontic modals, and (iii) universal/existential modal force, respectively, interfere with ellipsis in diagnostically telling ways.

Tapio Hokkanen:
Interruption and Timing in Self initiated Repairs

Despite certain limitations in observational approaches, self-initiated repairs following naturally occurring slips of the tongue are believed to reveal representations and processes related to speech monitoring. In the present study, self-repairs are analyzed from two points of view: from the placement of interruption and continuation points on the one hand, and from the timing of repairs on the other. It appears, firstly, that speakers tend to complete the troublesome words before interrupting their speech flow and, secondly, that also the continuations predominantly respect lexical integrity. Both findings presumably contribute to the listener's chance to reconstruct the interrupted message. As regards to the timing factors, most cut-offs are placed either within the troublesome word or after the first word boundary after it. The role of repairs on the fly is also discussed. Finally, it is concluded that the speaker has the final choice of either repairing the error or ignoring it as well as of making the repair well-formed or not.

Richard Ingham:
The Changing Status of Middle English OV Order: Evidence from Two Genres

Various accounts of OV order in Middle English have been proposed, in particular the approach of Kroch & Taylor (2000) in which quantified (including negated) and ordinary objects receive different analyses, on the assumption of a constant rate of leftward scrambling of quantified objects. The present study revisits Middle English OV, eliminating heavy NPs which may bias outcomes towards VO. 13th century and 15th century prose and verse data are analysed for OV or VO order. It is shown that on this basis the frequency of OV with all types of object (negated, other quantified, and ordinary) is almost identical in EME. However, negated objects dissociate markedly from other types in later Middle English. It is proposed that the assumption of a constant rate of leftward scrambling of negated objects in Middle English be abandoned in favour of the NegP reanalysis approach in van der Wurff (1999) and Ingham (2000, 2003), which in turn may require a revision of the Kroch & Taylor model.

Leonid Kulikov:
The Labile Syntactic Type in a Diachronic Perspective: The Case of Vedic
(unfortunately the fonts of the examples cannot be displayed right in the following abstract)

Ancient Indo-European verbal syntax, as attested in early Vedic Sanskrit, exhibits numerous examples of the labile syntactic pattern: several verbal forms can show valence alternation with no formal change in the verb; cf. pres. svádate 'he makes sweet' / 'he is sweet'; perf. vavrdhuh 'they have grown' (intr.) / 'they have increased' (tr.).
I will argue that the labile patterning of the Vedic verb, however common it may appear, is mostly of a secondary character. There are a limited number of reasons which give rise to labile syntax: (i) the polyfunctionality of the middle inflection (which can be used to mark the anticausative, passive and reflexive functions, on the one hand, and the self-beneficent meaning of the transitive forms, on the other); (ii) the homonymy of some middle participles 'shared' by passive (medio-passive aorist, stative) and non-passive formations; (iii) the syntactic reanalysis of intransitive constructions with the accusative of parameter/scope (content accusative) as transitive-causative. As to the perfect, it could probably be employed both intransitively and transitively already in Proto-Indo-European, although the intransitive usages were prevalent. In the historical period the newly-built perfect middle forms have largely taken over the intransitive function, but active perfects are still quite common in the (more archaic) intransitive usages in early Vedic.
The analysis of the development of lability in Vedic uncovers general mechanisms of the rise and decay of the labile syntactic type and thus furnish important evidence for its typological study.

Pirita Pyykkönen, Jussi Niemi & Juhani Järvikivi
Sentence Structure, Temporal Order and Linearity: Slow Emergence of Adult-like Syntactic Performance in Finnish

The present study investigated the comprehension of Finnish temporal structures by eight, ten, and twelve-year-old native Finnish school children. More precisely, a written questionnaire off-line experiment investigated the comprehension of subordinating clause structures with conjunctions ennen kuin 'before' and sen jälkeen kun 'after' as well as the comprehension of sentences with both referative and temporal converb constructions. The experiment showed that the performance of the eight-year-old group was significantly more error prone than the performance of the two older age groups in all structures investigated. They also showed a slow emergence of adult-like performance by the age of twelve in all sentences. Moreover, the results indicated that the youngest group relied on linearity significantly more than the other two groups in their interpretation of the experimental sentences. For the other two groups, the results showed that they relied significantly more on the grammatical interpretation of the sentences.

Key words: temporal order, linearity, converb structures, temporal conjuncts, Finnish

Jae Jung Song:
Resumptive Genitive Pronouns in Korean Relative Clauses:Distribution and Explanation

This paper provides an explanatory account of the distribution of resumptive genitive pronouns in Korean relative clauses. The use of resumptive genitive pronouns depends crucially on the bondedness of the NOM-marked NP and the predicate inside the relative clause. When these two expressions exhibit syntactic and semantic bondedness, the use of resumptive genitive pronouns is prohibited. If they are neither syntactically nor semantically bonded to each other, a resumptive genitive pronoun must be utilized. If they are syntactically, not semantically, bonded to each other, there is a choice between the use and non-use of resumptive genitive pronouns. Moreover, the notion of syntactic and semantic bondedness is compared with Kumashiro's (2000) notion of partially or highly autonomous layered interrelation with the conclusion that the latter must be redefined or reconceptualized in terms of the two different kinds of bondedness, syntactic and semantic. The paper closes with a brief discussion of general implications of these findings.

Søren Wichmann:
The Grammaticalization and Reanalysis of a Paradigm of Auxiliaries in Texistepec Popoluca: A Case Study in Diachronic Adaptation

A series of morphosyntactic changes relating to aspect-mode auxiliaries in the Texistepec Popoluca language will be analyzed under the hypothesis that the changes in question are motivated by three factors: phonological changes triggering new paradigmatic arrangements, areal convergence, and the tendency for creating structures that are in conformity with a certain over-all language type. As part of the overall diachronic account it is explained how a segment k came to form part of the paradigm of person markers even though this segment originally belonged to a preverbal adverbial particle and had nothing to do with person marking. The diachronic data bring support to the theoretical notion of 'diachronic adaptation' proposed by Haspelmath (1999).

Jussi Ylikoski:
Defining Non-finites: Action Nominals, Converbs and Infinitives

In the recent typological literature on non-finite verb forms-converbs, infinitives, action nominals and participles-these forms have been defined both in terms of (i) their word-classes and (ii) their syntactic functions, often without differentiating between the two points of view. On the basis of data from Uralic and Indo-European languages of Europe, this paper is intended to clarify and refine the definitions of action nominals, converbs and infinitives. It appears that action nominals can be defined quite simply as verbal nouns (and participles as verbal adjectives), whereas infinitives and converbs are better defined with reference to their complementary functions, the difference between the two categories lying in their relative obligatoriness vs. optionality in a sentence. Furthermore, it is argued that the mutual relations of various non-finites are best understood by examining them from both synchronic and diachronic perspectives simultaneously, as converbs and infinitives often have their origins in case-marked action nominals.

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