Farrell Ackerman (University of California, San Diego): Construction theoretic approaches to grammar: Lessons for Syntax from Wordbased Morphology

2007. június 4-8.

MTA Nyelvtudományi Intézet


Az MTA Nyelvtudományi Intézet ebben a tanévben is folytatja szuperkurzus-sorozatát felsőéves egyetemi hallgatók, doktoranduszok, valamint érdeklődő nyelvész kollégák számára.

A következő kurzus előadója Farrell Ackerman, a University of California, San Diego, nyelvészprofesszora, aki főleg a szintaxis és a morfológia területén kutat (többek között az uráli nyelveket is, beleértve az általa jól beszélt magyart), egyhetes szuperkurzust tart, napi 3 órás
időtartamban 5 napon át a június 4-8 között.

A kurzus
időpontja: 10.00 - 13.00
helyszíne: MTA Nyelvtudományi Intézet (Budapest VI., Benczúr u. 33.), földszinti előadóterem

A szuperkurzushoz a kinyomtatandó, és a kurzus során feldolgozásra szánt anyag itt olvasható, ill. innen .pdf formátumban letölthető.

A kurzushoz a mellékelt tájékoztatókat érdemes elolvasni, és érdemes megnézni Ackerman prof. honlapját (http://ling.ucsd.edu/~ackerman/). Az absztrakt végén megadott irodalom tájékoztató jellegű, a kurzushoz tartozó ajánlott irodalom innen tölthető le.

A kurzus kreditért lesz felvehető nyelvészet szakosoknak és PhD-diákoknak a rövidesen megnevezendő egyetemeken, a 2007. őszi félévben (azaz utólagosan).

Jelentkezés a Nyelvtudományi Intézet titkárságán Rebrus Péternél, az alábbi címen: 


Over the past few years there has been increasing evidence for the status of constructions in grammar as emergent phenomena requiring analysis as holistic entities on their own: as participants in networks (= morphological paradigms and inventories of phrasal types) of similar whole entities, rather than as epiphenomena resulting from the simple combination of constitutive parts. Both words and clausal constructions can be viewed from this perspective as recombinant gestalts.

As the empirical evidence for constructions expands in different research domains (linguistics, psycholinguistics, language acquisition) there has been an accompanying increase in proposals concerning what counts as construction-theoretic proposals of grammar, i.e., adapting the notions of Ackerman & Webelhuth 1998 and Culicover & Jackendoff 2005 what the appropriate ``toolkit'' for construction-theoretic approaches should consist of. Consider the following illustrative data from German:

1a.. Active resulative predicate:

Sie hat die Schuhe krumm gelaufen
she has the shoes crooked walked
`She has walked the shoes crooked.'

1b. Passive resulative predicate:

Die Schuhe sind von ihr krumm gelaufen worden
the shoes are by her crooked walked become
`The shoes were walked crooked by her.'

1c. Adjectival derivate:

Die krumm} gelaufenen Schuhe zieht sie nicht mehr an
the crooked walked shoes wears she not more part
`She doesn't wear the shoes any more that she walked crooked.'

As argued in Ackerman and Webelhuth 1998, given certain standard lexicalist assumptions, the complex predicate krumm laufen `to walk flat' is best interpreted as a lexical construction, with a periphrastic surface exponence consisting of two independent words. We argued, following such construction-theoretic morphological proposals as Bochner 1993, that morphology is basically pattern-based, that words are realizations of content rather than incremental compositions of morphemes, and that it is an unwarranted stipulation (adopted in both lexicalist and non-lexicalist theories) to restrict the domain of the morphological/lexical component to only synthetic (== single) wordforms. Indeed, morphological approaches based on languages like English that insist on all words being synthetic do not scale up to phenomena in a host of other languages where morphological paradigms contain both synthetic and periphrastic forms e.g., the papers in Ackerman et. al. 2007.

Simplifying somewhat, we hypothesized certain criteria for determining the lexicality of an entity. In particular, if e.g., meaning changes and valence changes are solely lexical and cannot be effectuated by syntactic context, then the fact that krumm laufen is transitive while laufen is not argues straightfowardly for its lexical nature. What we referred to as a lexical combinatorial item, accordingly, may receive multiword surface expression in syntactic constructions: since it is lexical it can serve as the source for passivization, in (1b), or as the base for category-changing derivational morphology, in (1c). This entails the identification of a lexical component and a phrasal component, as well as the articulation of principles responsible explaining their interaction. As recognized in that theory, there are lexical constructions and there ar phrasal constructions: both are necessary, they interact, and together they partition the grammar.

In this course we will explore what it means to be a lexical and (morphological) versus a phrasal construction. What are the similarities and what are the differences between these distinct, but interacting domains? The guiding assumption will be that aspects of the traditional (pre-structuralist and pre-generative) Word and Paradigm model of inflectional and derivational morphology (see Matthews 1972, Aronoff 1994, Anderson 1994, Stump 2001, Booij 2005) provide crucial insights into the necessary toolkits for grammatical theory. In line with this we will exam various contributions to a resurgent word-based perspective on morphological theory. This, of course, will entail detailed examination of morphological systems in various languages. Complementing this focus on morphology, we will examine a particular syntactic phenomenon, specifically, a prenominal relative clause construction which presents a challenge to all syntactic theories: while all present theories can describe the properties of this type of relative (with more or less stipulation to their basic assumptions), none either predict it nor explain it. Following the analysis and arguments in Ackerman, Nikolaeva (and Malouf) we will explore the hypothesis only a construction-theoretic approach with access constructions within networks of multiple inheritance hierarchies provides hope for a descriptively and explanatorily adequate analysis of this type of relative clause. Throughout we will keep in mind issues of how construction-theoretic approaches fit within the context of current research in cognitive- neuroscience.

Ackerman, F., I. Nikolaeva (& R. Malouf). Descriptive Typology and Grammatical Theory: A Construction Theoretic Study in Morphosyntax CSLI Publication/University of Chicago Press. To appear in 2007.

Ackerman, F., James P. Blevins, & G. P. Stump, editors. Paradigms and Periphrasis. CSLI Publications/University of Chicago Press. To appear in 2007

Ackerman, F. and G. Webelhuth. 1998. A Theory of Predicates. CSLI Publications.

Anderson, S.R. 1992. A-morphous Morphology. Cambridge University Press.

Aronoff, M. 1994. Morphology by itself. MIT Press.

Bochner, H. 1993. Simplicity in Generative Grammar. Mouton de Gruyter.

Booij, G. 2005. The Grammar of Words: An introduction to linguistic morphology. Oxford University Press.

Culicover, P. and R. Jackendoff. 2005. Simpler Syntax. Oxford University Press.

Matthews, P. H. 1972. Inflectional Morphology. Cambridge University Press.

Stump, G. 2001. Inflectional Morphology. Cambridge University Press.