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Bare predication Bert Le Bruyn BKL Taaldag. Topic I am linguist.a.

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Presentation on theme: "Bare predication Bert Le Bruyn BKL Taaldag. Topic I am linguist.a."— Presentation transcript:

1 Bare predication Bert Le Bruyn BKL Taaldag

2 Topic I am linguist.a

3 Facts Marie is een meisje. Marie est une fille. Mary is a girl Marie is meisje. Marie est fille. Mary is a girl Most nouns seem to require the indefinite article in predicate position. ???

4 Facts Sil is beenhouwer. Sil est boucher. Sil is butcher There is a class of nouns that, on their unmarked use, do not take the indefinite article in predicate position.

5 Research questions Why do most nouns need the indefinite article ? What is so special about nouns like ‘butcher’? Silent hope: The answer to the second question might lead to an answer to the first question.

6 Facts ‘Butcher’ nouns typically include professions, ‘religion names’ and nationalities: Jan is moslim. Jean est musulman. John is muslim Marie is Belg. Marie est Belge. Mary is Belgian

7 Cross-linguistic validity (SWZ 2007) SPANISH Es negrero. is trader_in_black_slaves PORTUGUESE João é médico. John is doctor

8 Cross-linguistic validity (SWZ 2007) ITALIAN Gianni è dottore. John is doctor DANISH Olivier var skuespiller. Oliver was actor

9 Cross-linguistic validity (SWZ 2007) SWEDISH Herr Weber är katolik. Mr Weber is catholic NORWEGIAN Han er lærer. he is teacher

10 Claims ‘bare predication nouns’ cannot be distinguished from ‘non-bare predication nouns’ by temporal means the distinction between ‘bare predication nouns’ and ‘non-bare predication nouns’ is not lexical the distinction between bare predication and non-bare predication is one between ‘accidental’ and ‘inherent’ predication.

11 Claims ‘bare predication nouns’ cannot be distinguished from ‘non-bare predication nouns’ by temporal means the distinction between ‘bare predication nouns’ and ‘non-bare predication nouns’ is not lexical the distinction between bare predication and non-bare predication is one between ‘accidental’ and ‘inherent’ predication.

12 Bare predication and time Two proposals: Bare predication is transient whereas non- bare predication is permanent. Bare predication is linked to ‘splittable’ events whereas non-bare predication is linked to ‘non-splittable’ events (Roy 2006)

13 Bare predication and time Two proposals: Bare predication is transient whereas non-bare predication is permanent. Bare predication is linked to ‘splittable’ events whereas non-bare predication is linked to ‘non-splittable’ events. (Roy 2006)

14 Transient vs. permanent (a) Paul was dokter. Paul était médecin. Paul was doctor (b) Paul was een dokter. Paul était un médecin. Paul was a doctor (c) Marie is een kind. Marie est un enfant. Mary is a child The transient vs. permanent distinction is not correct. (Roy 2006, SWZ 2007)

15 Bare predication and time Two proposals: Bare predication is transient whereas non- bare predication is permanent. Bare predication is linked to ‘splittable’ events whereas non-bare predication is linked to ‘non-splittable’ events. (Roy 2006)

16 Roy (2006) No difference between nouns, everything is in the syntax.

17 | | | | All nouns come with an event argument that has to be bound - by Tense - by Indefinite article Signals that the predication is linked to the reference time (in the broad sense) Signals that the predication is linked to the reference time (in the broad sense) and that the reference time cannot be split up into smaller intervals. Roy (2006)

18 Jean est professeur le jour, danseur la nuit. John is teacher by day, dancer at night *Jean est un professeur le jour, un danseur la nuit. John is a teacher by day, a dancer at night Paul est devenu chanteur. Paul has become singer *Paul est devenu un chanteur. Paul is become singer day | night | day | night |… not singer | singer Roy (2006)

19 Marie is meisje. Marie est fille. Mary is a girl These sentences are strange because the property of being a girl is not likely to change within the time of reference. Semantics + world knowledge

20 Predication with the indefinite article can never appear in by day / by night and become sentences… … and pragmatic plausibility does not play a role. event-non-splittability ~ indefinite article Prediction Falsification La chenille est devenue un papillon. The caterpillar has become a butterfly In Lady Hawke is Rutger Hauer ‘s nachts een wolf en overdag een mens. In Lady Hawke is Rutger Hauer by night a wolf and by day a man SEMANTICS IS NOT ON THE RIGHT TRACK Roy (2006)

21 Claims ‘bare predication nouns’ cannot be distinguished from ‘non-bare predication nouns’ by temporal means the distinction between ‘bare predication nouns’ and ‘non-bare predication nouns’ is not lexical the distinction between bare predication and non-bare predication is one between ‘accidental’ and ‘inherent’ predication.

22 Claims ‘bare predication nouns’ cannot be distinguished from ‘non-bare predication nouns’ by temporal means the distinction between ‘bare predication nouns’ and ‘non-bare predication nouns’ is not lexical the distinction between bare predication and non-bare predication is one between ‘accidental’ and ‘inherent’ predication.

23 Bare predication and the lexicon (i) All nouns can appear in non-bare predication. (ii) All nouns can appear in bare predication. Even though this does not exclude a lexical approach it makes it less appealing.

24 Bare predication and the lexicon Sil is beenhouwer. Sil est boucher. Sil is butcher Sly is een beenhouwer. Sly est un boucher Sly is a butcher (SWZ 2007) ‘bare predication nominals’

25 Bare predication and the lexicon ‘non-bare predication nominals’ Only +human nouns are allowed to occur in bare predication. ‘Kind nouns’ can never occur in bare predication. (Matushansky & Spector 2005, SWZ 2007) (Kupferman 1991, Roy 2006) wolf ex. White Fang is een wolf. Croc-Blanc est un loup. WF is a wolf ex. Ik ben wolf. Je suis loup. I am wolf “I play the part of wolve”“WF belongs to the kind wolf”

26 Bare predication and the lexicon ‘They usually [...] denote specific roles in society: professions, religions or nationalities. Other nominals (non-human or human) that are not related to such roles generally resist taking up a bare nominal position.’ (SWZ 2007) → World knowledge seems to be a better candidate than the lexicon.

27 Claims ‘bare predication nouns’ cannot be distinguished from ‘non-bare predication nouns’ by temporal means the distinction between ‘bare predication nouns’ and ‘non-bare predication nouns’ is not lexical the distinction between bare predication and non-bare predication is one between ‘accidental’ and ‘inherent’ predication.

28 Claims ‘bare predication nouns’ cannot be distinguished from ‘non-bare predication nouns’ by temporal means the distinction between ‘bare predication nouns’ and ‘non-bare predication nouns’ is not lexical the distinction between bare predication and non-bare predication is one between ‘accidental’ and ‘inherent’ predication.

29 The proposal General idea: the indefinite article is a marker of kind-membership predication -Background on kinds -Background on articles -Why kind-membership predication has to go with the indefinite article -Kind-membership and bare predication ex. White Fang is een wolf. Croc-Blanc est un loup. WF is a wolf “WF belongs to the kind wolf”

30 Background on kinds giraffes the giraffes that come and eat here every day If at least two individuals show the same non-accidental behaviour they qualify as a kind in a given world. Non-accidental behaviour At least two Dodos are extinct. Intuitive but not unproblematic. → can be avoided if we take into account possible worlds

31 Background on articles Marking uniqueness In languages that distinguish between a definite and an indefinite article the definite article (in the singular) is marked for uniqueness whereas the indefinite article is unmarked. I saw the teacher. I saw a teacher. Absence of articles Only possible in predicate position. Absence of articles: unmarked for uniqueness

32 Background on articles both constructions are unmarked for uniqueness both pragmatically imply non-uniqueness wherever both (i.e. in predicate position) are possible the construction with the indefinite article marks non-uniqueness (marked form linked to marked meaning) Bare vs. article

33 Why kind-membership has to go with the indefinite article Kinds are sets of at least two elements. Bare predication is unmarked for uniqueness / non-uniqueness. Kind-membership predication is sensitive to the uniqueness / non-uniqueness contrast. bare predication indefinite article

34 Kind-membership and bare predication -teacher -plumber -jew -catholic wolf -dog -sock -building indefinite article- indefinite article Non-accidentalAccidental Constraint on kinds!

35 Further research Mijn vader is diabeticus. My father is diabetic noun Google: 56 bare vs. 7 non-bare Mijn vader is alcoholieker. My father is alcoholic Google: 43 bare vs. 8 non-bare Mijn vader is drugsverslaafde. My father is drug addict Google: 171 bare vs. 172 non-bare Mijn vader is drinker. My father is drinker Google: 6 bare vs. 364 non-bare

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