9780199281800

Copulas Universals in the Categorization of the Lexicon

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780199281800

  • ISBN10:

    0199281807

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2005-07-07
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Summary

Copulas (in English, the verb to be) are conventionally defined functionally as a means of relating elements of clause structure, especially subject and complement, and considered to be semantically empty or meaningless.They have received relatively little attention from linguists. Dr Pustetin this extensive cross-linguistic study goes some way towards correcting this neglect. In doing so she takes issue with both accepted definition and description. She presents an analysis of grammatical descriptions of over 160 languages drawn from the language families of the world. She shows thatsome languages have a single copula, others several, and some none at all. In a series of statistical analyses she seeks to explain why by linking the distribution of copulas to variations in lexical categorization and syntactic structure. She concludes by advancing a comprehensive theory ofcopularization which she relates to language classification and to theories of language change, notably grammaticalization.

Author Biography


Regina Pustet, born in 1963, PhD in General Linguistics in 1991 (University of Cologne) is currently teaching at the University of Munich. Her previous research activities focus on various aspects of functional-typological language theory, such as case marking and lexical categorization, and also include descriptive work especially on Native American languages.

Table of Contents

Preface ix
List of Abbreviations xi
List of Figures xii
List of Tables xiii
1. Copulas in Current Research 1(26)
1.1. The copula paradox
1(4)
1.2. Definition of 'copula'
5(2)
1.3. The parts-of-speech issue
7(15)
1.3.1. Parts-of-speech class indistinctions
8(2)
1.3.2. Cluster definitions of noun, verb, and adjective
10(3)
1.3.3. The hybrid status of adjectives
13(3)
1.3.4. Towards a universal theory of lexical class formation
16(11)
1.3.4.1. Implicational hierarchies
16(1)
1.3.4.2. Markedness
17(3)
1.3.4.3. Time-stability
20(2)
1.4. A possible theoretical approach to copularization
22(5)
2. Copulas in Cross-linguistic Perspective 27(56)
2.1. Scope of the investigation
27(7)
2.1.1. Basic methodological and terminological considerations
27(2)
2.1.2. Copulas and predicate types
29(5)
2.2. Copula dropping
34(5)
2.3. The global sample
39(34)
2.3.1. Structural types of copulas
39(6)
2.3.2. Multiple copularization
45(9)
2.3.3. The genesis of copulas
54(7)
2.3.4. Distribution of copularizing vs. non-copularizing lexemes in the lexicon of individual languages
61(12)
2.3.5. Global distribution of copulas
73(1)
2.4. A universal hierarchy of copularization
73(5)
2.5. The copularization scale and contemporary research on lexical categorization
78(5)
3. Copularization and Lexical Semantics 83(70)
3.1. Copularization and time-stability: a pilot study
83(4)
3.2. Copularization and lexical semantics: method of investigation
87(8)
3.2.1. Lexical minimal pairs
90(2)
3.2.2. Semantic features and statistics
92(3)
3.3. Lexical minimal pairs and semantic features
95(39)
3.3.1. Dynamicity
95(10)
3.3.2. Transience
105(9)
3.3.3. Transitivity
114(7)
3.3.4. Dependency
121(7)
3.3.5. Generalizations
128(6)
3.4. Statistics
134(19)
3.4.1. The data
136(1)
3.4.2. Predictive power of semantic features
136(9)
3.4.3. Competing semantic models of copularization
145(8)
4. The Multi-factor Model of Copularization 153(32)
4.1. The limited predictive power of semantics
153(1)
4.2. Migration of copulas in the lexicon
154(5)
4.3. Combining the parameters
159(5)
4.4. The cognitive basis: prototypes
164(3)
4.5. A scalar model of the lexicon
167(14)
4.6. Discourse frequency
181(4)
5. Synopsis 185(11)
5.1. Copularization and markedness
186(5)
5.2. Towards a new approach to the parts-of-speech issue
191(5)
Appendix A. Genetic affiliation of the languages quoted 196(4)
Appendix B. Pilot study/semantic classification 200(4)
Appendix C. Pilot study/statistics 204(10)
Appendix D. Questionnaire 214(6)
Appendix E. The semantic structure of the lexical samples 220(20)
Appendix F. Copula use and semantic similarity space 240(8)
Further Reading 248(1)
References 249(11)
Index 260

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