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“Prototypical and non- prototypical expressions of transitivity in Russian” Laura A. Janda University of North Carolina

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Presentation on theme: "“Prototypical and non- prototypical expressions of transitivity in Russian” Laura A. Janda University of North Carolina"— Presentation transcript:

1 “Prototypical and non- prototypical expressions of transitivity in Russian” Laura A. Janda University of North Carolina

2 Our tasks: Motivate transitivity as an abstraction grounded in human physical experience Find the prototype and relations to the prototype Figure out what properties of the prototype are more important than others Think about what makes a construction transitive – the grammatical devices it uses or its meaning?

3 Things we won’t do: Look at ALL possible constructions (but we will look at a lot of them) Find a precise boundary between transitive and intransitive

4 Advantages to this type of analysis Gives an accurate picture of the true complexity of transitivity Focuses attention on the interaction of semantics and syntax Motivates some specific constraints on constructions Provides a hierarchy of constructions, predicting what combinations of constructions can exist in a language Provides a basis for cross-linguistic comparison

5 The structure of a construction (Croft 2001: 204)

6 Conceptual space for transitivity (Croft 2001: 147)

7 Canonical Event Model (Langacker 1991: 285)

8 A little bit about Russian… Six cases:  Nominative  Accusative  Dative  Instrumental  Genitive  Locative Relatively free word order If N is present, V agrees with it If N is absent, V has default (neuter singular) agreement

9 “Bare case” meanings for the four cases we will focus on: Accusative:  a destination Dative:  a receiver, an experiencer, a competitor Instrumental:  a means, a label Genitive:  a source, a goal, a reference, a whole

10 The prototypical transitive construction = Langacker’s canonical event N+V+A Девушка сшила юбку. [Girl-N sewed skirt-A.] ‘The girl sewed a skirt.’ Agent – Patient Prototypical transitive verbs focus energy on a patient, involve “doing something to X”

11 The prototypical intransitive construction N+V Мальчик спит. [Boy-N sleeps.] ‘The boy is sleeping.’ Agent Prototypical intransitive verbs describe states, emotions, or are reflexive

12 Three Strategies 1: Add 1: Add items to the N+V+A construction 2: Change 2: Change A and N to other cases 3: Remove 3: Remove items from the N+V+A construction (and its enlargements)

13 Strategy 1: Adding Strategy 1: Adding items to the N+V+A construction We can add:  a preposition: N+V+P+A  a prepositional phrase: N+V+A+P+L/G/A…  a Dative participant: N+V+A+D  an Instrumental participant: N+V+A+I Generally this strategy does not do much harm to transitivity

14 Some N+V+A constructions require a preposition N+V+P+A Любой спортсмен надеется на победу. [Every athlete-N hopes for victory-A.] ‘Every athlete hopes for victory.’ Compare N+V+A: Каждый клуб хочет победу. [Every club-N wants victory-A.] ‘Every club wants victory.’

15 Adding a prepositional phrase is no problem: N+V+A+P+G Девушка сшила юбку из старого пальто. [Girl-N sewed skirt-A from old coat-G.] ‘The girl sewed a skirt from an old coat.’ N+V+A+P+L Девушка сшила юбку на машинке. [Girl-N sewed skirt-A on machine-L.] ‘The girl sewed a skirt on a machine.’ N+V+A+P+A Девушка принесла юбку в школу. [Girl-N brought skirt-A to school-A.] ‘The girl brought a skirt to school.’

16 Adding a Dative participant is ok: N+V+A+D Людмила Путина сшила мужу костюм. [Ludmila Putin-N sewed husband-D suit-A.] ‘Ludmila Putin sewed her husband a suit.’

17 Adding an instrumental participant is also ok: N+V+A+I Девушка резала рыбу ножом. [Girl-N cut fish-A knife-I.] ‘The girl cut the fish with a knife.’

18 Strategy 2: Changing Strategy 2: Changing A and N to other participants Here are the options for changing A: N+V+P+L N+V+G N+V+D N+V+I N+V+N Here is the option for changing N: D+V+A

19 Changing A to a prepositional phrase N+V+P+L Лукашенко признался в убийстве. [Lukashenko-N confessed in murder-L.] ‘Lukashenko confessed to murder.’ Compare N+V+A: Лукашенко признал свою вину. [Lukashenko-N admitted own guilt-A.] ‘Lukashenko admitted his guilt.’

20 However, MOST N+V+P+L is unambiguously intransitive N+V+P+L Мама работает в кабинете. [Mother-N works in office-L.] ‘Mother is working in her office.’

21 What if we change Accusative to Genitive? N+V+G Рахманинов избегал всяких интервью. [Rakhmaninov-N avoided all interviews-G.] ‘Rakhmaninov avoided all interviews.’ N+V+G involves: verbs expressing avoidance (fear, aversion = G a source), or approach (attaining, needing, expecting = G a goal), or quantification (=G a whole)

22 Where do we draw the line between N+V+A and N+V+G? Both constructions show an interaction between N+V and an object. N+V+G de-emphasizes the effect of N+V on the object, which is merely a reference point for the situation. Nearly all verbs associated with N+V+G can also be constructed as N+V+A. Sometimes there is a meaning difference, and sometimes there isn’t.

23 Compare N+V+G to N+V+A Игорь ищет жены. ‘Igor is looking for a wife.’ Игорь выпил чаю. ‘Igor drank (some) tea.’ Игорь боится жены. ‘Igor is afraid of his wife.’ Игорь ищет жену. ‘Igor is looking for his wife.’ Игорь выпил чай. ‘Igor drank (all the) tea.’ Игорь боится жену. ‘Igor is afraid of his wife.’

24 What if we change Accusative to Dative? N+V+D Мальчик ей улыбнулся. [Boy-N her-D smiled.] ‘The boy smiled at her.’ N+V+D involves many verbs where the object is a receiver, experiencer, or competitor/submitter

25 The continuum from ditransitive to N+V+D Людмила сказала ему свое имя. [Ludmila-N said him-D her name-A.] ‘Ludmila told him her name.’ Людмила сказала ему «вы». [Ludmila-N said him-D “vy”.] ‘Ludmila said “vy” to him.’ Людмила ему выкала. [Ludmila-N him-D vy-said.] ‘Ludmila addressed him formally.’

26 N+V+D constructions related to “giving”: позвонить ‘ring’ + communication verbs заплатить ‘pay’ + gift/money verbs помогать ‘help’ + “benefit” verbs наскучить ‘bore’ + “harm” verbs These constructions are motivated as versions of N+V+A+D in which A is implicit in the verb.

27 N+V+D constructions related to “competition”: сопутствовать ‘accompany’ + “equality” verbs подчиниться ‘submit to’+ “submission” verbs These verbs are motivated by the comparison of the actual subjecthood of N with the potential subjecthood of D.

28 But where do we draw the line between N+V+A and N+V+D? In both constructions N has impact on D. They differ in that D places greater emphasis on the ability of the object to react to N+V. However, it is very easy to find N+V+D clauses that are nearly synonymous with N+V+A, and this is true of both types of constructions (motivated by “giving” and by “competition”).

29 Compare N+V+D to N+V+A Я заплатила адвокату. ‘I paid a lawyer.’ Я помогaла ему. ‘I helped him.’ Он наскучил жене. ‘He bored his wife.’ Он сопутствовал eй. ‘He accompanied her.’ Он подчинился жене. ‘He submitted to his wife.’ Я наняла адвокатa. ‘I hired a lawyer.’ Я защищала его. ‘I protected him.’ Он раздражал жену. ‘He irritated his wife.’ Он всретил ee. ‘He met her.’ Он избаловал жену. ‘He spoiled his wife.’

30 What if we change Accusative to Instrumental? N+V+I Он улетит следующим рейсом. [He-N fliesaway next flight-I.] ‘He leaves on the next flight.’ This seems hopelessly intransitive.

31 Types of verbs associated with Instrumental: a means махать ‘wave’ + movement verbs комадовать ‘command’+ leadership verbs владеть ‘possess’ + possession verbs снабдить ‘supply’ + manipulation verbs заниматься ‘occupy’ + filling verbs наслаждаться ‘enjoy’ + enjoy/abhor verbs These verbs are motivated as requiring some object through which they are channeled.

32 But where do we draw the line between N+V+A and N+V+I? In both constructions N’s energy affects an object. N+V+I de-emphasizes the impact of N+V on the object, which serves merely as a conduit for the action. For the movement verbs sometimes the same verb can be constructed as both N+V+A and N+V+I (with some meaning differences), other types of I verbs may have close synonyms with N+V+A.

33 Compare N+V+I with N+V+A Я бросал(ся) камнями. ‘I threw stones.’ Я хлопнул дверью. ‘I slammed the door.’ Он командовал солдатами. ‘He commanded the soldiers.’ Я бросал камни. ‘I threw stones.’ Я закрыл дверь. ‘I shut the door.’ Он вел солдат. ‘He led the soldiers.’

34 Types of verbs associated with Instrumental: a label: N+V+I Почему я не родилась мужчиной? [Why I-N not born man-I?] ‘Why wasn’t I born a man?’ The group of verbs that expresses being, seeming, and becoming is motivated as expressing a category label that mediates the expression of an entity. These show no overlap with transitivity.

35 N+V+N is quite hopeless N+V+N Отец был человек глубоко верующий. [Father-N was person-N deeply religious-N.] ‘Father was a deeply religious person.’ Copular BE is the only V acceptable, and there is no transitivity here.

36 Let’s change N to D D+V+A Что нам делать? [What-A us-D do?] ‘What are we to do?’ Here the Dative, as a potential subject, has an experience of the situation, rather than being an agent.

37 Strategy 3: Removing Strategy 3: Removing items from the transitive construction Most constructions so far have N (and personal V agreement). It is possible to remove N from all of these constructions, in which case we have impersonal, default agreement for V (neuter sg) It is sometimes possible to remove V, but an implicit verb remains.

38 What do we get when we remove items from transitive constructions? From N+V+A:  V+A  N+A  A From N+V+A+I:  V+A+I From N+V+A+D:  A+D (Bold-faced constructions are robustly productive; others are restricted and have implicit V)

39 Let’s remove N from N+V+A V+A Меня тошнит. [Me-A be-sick.] ‘I feel sick’ (Very productive! See examples on handout)

40 Other removals from N+V+A N+A Кто кого? [Who-N who-A?] ‘Who will get whom?’ A (Я сказал:) "Деньги!"; (Игорь сказал:) "На руку!" [Money-A!; Here hand-A!] (I said:) “Money!”; (Igor said:) “Here, take my hand!”

41 Let’s remove N from N+V+A+I V+A+I Москвича убило сосулькой. [Muscovite-A killed icicle-I.] ‘A Muscovite was killed by an icicle.’ See further examples on handout. Note close connection to V+A.

42 A benefit of looking at a semantic map of constructions The relationship between N+V+A+I and V+A+I explains why you cannot have a sentence like: *Москвича убило солдатом. [Muscovite-A killed soldier-I.] ‘A Muscovite was killed by a soldier.’

43 Let’s remove items from N+V+A+D A+D Кому что? [Who-D what-A?] ‘Who gets what/What is for whom?’

44 Adding, Changing, and Removing These three parameters suggest a semantic map for relationships among constructions By exploring these relationships we have explored the structure of transitivity in Russian

45 N+V+A+P+… N+V+P+A N+V+A N+V+A+D N+V+A+I N+V+P+L N+V+G N+V+D N+V+I D+V+A V+A (N+A) (A)(A) V+A+I (A+D) N+V+I (intrans) N+V+P+L (intrans)

46 Note features of the radial category: Shows the structuring of relationships between constructions Motivates relationships even among constructions that share no participants (e.g., N+V+G and V+A+I) Presents a correlation between prototypicality and order of appearance of constructions

47 What does cognitive linguistics give us? Structure of relationships among constructions Sense of which types are prototypical which aren’t, and which must exist before others exist Basis for cross-linguistic comparison – semantic map of transitivity

48 Bibliography Croft, William Radical Construction Grammar. Oxford: Oxford U Press. Janda, Laura A. and Steven J. Clancy The Case Book for Russian. Columbus, Ohio: Slavica. Langacker, Ronald W Foundations of Cognitive Grammar, v. II. Stanford: Stanford U Press. Smith, Michael B “Agreement and iconicity in Russian Impersonal Constructions”. Cognitive Linguistics 5, 5-56.


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