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CONLANG  November 2018, Week 5

CONLANG November 2018, Week 5

Subject:

Re: Conlinguistic discovery of the day

From:

Alex Fink <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Constructed Languages List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 30 Nov 2018 00:21:02 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (39 lines)

On Mon, 19 Nov 2018 02:46:42 +0800, Stewart Fraser <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>I found this on the web …
>
>https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01574254/document <https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01574254/document>
>
>Paul's conclusion is …
>
>“ … adjectives have to be postulated as a separate part of speech in Chinese, distinct from (intransitive) stative verbs."

I forgot, I had a question about the Chinese facts here as well.

To summarise, Paul makes a case for recognising adjectives in
Mandarin, with two syntactic positions in which they can modify the
noun: preceding it directly, or with an intervening _de_.  Direct
modification (_dà gǒu_ "big dog") names new kinds, and is the
construction that other analyses have seen as compounding.
Modification with _de_ (_dà de gǒu_ "big DE dog") simply describes
without any implication that a natural kind is being identified, and
is the construction that other analyses have seen as relative clauses.

Now, I had thought that examples like the following were not uncommon
in Mandarin: 'rabbit' is _tùzi_, with an empty nominaliser suffix
_-zi_, and not synchronically _tù_ by itself; but then there are...
compounds? NPs with an adjective? like _xiǎo( )tù_ 'little rabbit' and
_bái( )tù_ 'white rabbit' which don't demand the suffix.  It seems
weird to me to call them NPs with an adjective, 'cause that means that
each bisyllabic noun of this species has a small, lexical set of
adjectives after which it can drop one of its syllables.  So
compounds?  Paul has a test for compoundhood vs. adjectival
modification, namely whether following headless NPs are licenced
taking their reference from the head of the compound.  I can contrast
_hȯng huā_ 'red flowers' with _huáng de_ 'yellow ones' later in the
utterance, but with a compound, *_hónghuā [...] huáng de_ 'safflowers
[...] yellow ones (i.e. flowers)' is no good.  Can I say _bái tù [...]
huáng de_ 'white rabbits [...] yellow ones'?

Alex

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