Language Change at the Syntax-Semantics Interface (Trends in Linguistics. Studies and Monographs [Tilsm])

This quantity makes a speciality of the interaction of syntactic and semantic elements in language swap. The contributions draw on info from a number of Indo-European languages and deal with the query of the way syntactic and semantic swap are associated and even if either are ruled through related constraints, ideas and systematic mechanisms. the quantity will attract students in old linguistics and formal theories of syntax and semantics.

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The current paper will study a different case of quantity contract on the syntax-semantic interface in the diachrony of the genetically comparable languages historical Greek and German: so-called collective nouns and their contract. 1 Such nouns are broadly attested in languages belonging to the Indo-European family members (but, after all, it isn't restricted to those languages, see e. g. , Corbett 2000: 1 In our realizing, the time period collective noun doesn't practice to Greek neuter plurals (which set off singular contract, like within the textbook instance [ta zōia]P L [trek hei]S G ‘the animals run’). those are often misleadingly often called “collectives”. no matter what their ancient history should be, they're uncomplicated plurals to neuter singulars from a synchronic perspective. 184 Magnus Breder Birkenes and Florian Sommer 190–191). “Collective nouns” (cf. Levin 2001 and Depraetere 2003) are usually defined as a category of nouns that denote plural entities yet exhibit singular morphology. The time period collective is in itself really difficult (cf. Gil 1996). Levin’s definition for the time period collective noun, which might be followed for the current goal, runs as follows: “a noun that refers to 2 or extra entities, and which within the singular can be utilized with singular and plural verbs and pronouns” (2006: 321 n. 2). 2 the adaptation inside contract is explicitly used to define “collective noun” on a language-specific foundation. yet, after all, there's extra to it than syntax. possible argue that the volatile syntactic styles symbolize the end result of semantic conflict on a conceptual point. The referents of “collective nouns” are conceptually either singular and plural; pitting syntax opposed to semantics won't do, as was once mentioned by means of Gil (1996). yet collective nouns don't symbolize one unmarried, coherent classification, that's, they “differ within the conceptual accessibility of the member point” (Joosten et al. 2007: 86, who rightly emphasize this point). An severe case with a excessive member point accessibility is the noun committee in British English. it really is moderate to invite why this habit has constructed in British English, yet is unusual in different languages (cf. den Dikken 2001: 38). Like den Dikken (2001), we're not in a position to resolution this query in any passable manner: Liedtke (1910) indicates that plural contract was once nonetheless very infrequent in previous English (similar to our findings on German that might be provided in part 2. 2) and first turned obvious in center English. so far as the codification of British English is worried, Dekeyser (1975: forty two) indicates that almost all grammarians have been by no means adversarial to plural contract the place this was once semantically justified, and concludes that “in the past due nineteenth century the sound view prevails that collectives can trend alike with singular or plural [verbs] and [pronouns] in accordance with the speaker’s or writer’s body of reference”. while the objectives of collective nouns exhibit plural contract, this can be known as semantic contract or constructio advert sensum within the literature (see e. g. , Corbett 2006: a hundred and fifty five; Kühner and Gerth 1898: 52–53).

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