LINGUIST List 13.934

Fri Apr 5 2002

Qs: "Oblique" Noun Stems/Hungarian, Verb Semantics

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Directory

  1. Christina Villafana, Hungarian Stem Alternations - 'oblique' noun stems
  2. Andrew McIntyre, verb semantics

Message 1: Hungarian Stem Alternations - 'oblique' noun stems

Date: Thu, 4 Apr 2002 12:04:35 -0500
From: Christina Villafana <cvillafanamindspring.com>
Subject: Hungarian Stem Alternations - 'oblique' noun stems



I am trying to gather information on inflectional paradigms for
Hungarian nouns and am particularly interested in the so-called
oblique stems which are derived from nominative forms as an
intermediate process in case and number marking. As far as I can
tell, some nouns undergo the following changes:

(1) addition of word final -a
(2) deletion of /o/ in the final syllable
(3) both of these

The altered noun stems are then inflected following more
or less regular patterns, with the altered, or oblique, form
never actually surfacing.

My interests are primarily along the lines of acquisition
problems arising from the difficultly in identifying noun
stems or in identifying inflectional classes, and I would
like to find information on the following:

1) is there a large number of nouns that have oblique
stem forms?

2) is there any evidence that such nouns fall into particular
phonological, etymological, or semantic categories?

Any general information on the subject would also be of
help. I will post a summary of the replies.

Thanks so much,
Christina Villafana
cmv2georgetown.edu
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Message 2: verb semantics

Date: Thu, 04 Apr 2002 22:57:07 +0200
From: Andrew McIntyre <mcintyrerz.uni-leipzig.de>
Subject: verb semantics

Verb semantics
Dear linguists,
Is there is a crosslinguistic tendency towards the use of an expression
which otherwise mainly expresses speaker-directed deixis (something like
the verb 'come' as opposed to 'go') in expressing any of the following
concepts (which, at first sight, do not strike one as inherently
speaker-directed):

A. Inchoative copula: are there languages which say something like SHE
CAME (TO) COLD for 'she became/got cold'. (If the language also says
something glossing literally as PEOPLE GO (TO) MAD, do the GO and COME
structures have any discernible (e.g. aspectual) differences?

B. Ability, managing, possibility, or any type of modal meaning. E.g.
are there expressions of the following types
(a) IT CAME TO DO THAT translating 'it became possible to do that'
(b) I WILL COME TO HEAVEN = 'I will manage to get to Heaven'
(c) SHE COMES TO DO THAT = 'she gets to do that'

C. Expressions meaning 'happen' (things like 'come about', 'come to
pass', 'how come?') Do such expressions refer to the onset of an event,
rather than looking at the course of the event, as in 'the shouting is
still GOing on'. Or are there constructions where COME means 'begin'
(something like SHE CAME-WORK for 'she started to work').

D. Possession: Is something like COME TO X a crosslinguistically common
way of saying 'receive, get, come by x', even when spatial motion, if
any, does not proceed toward the deictic centre?
If the reverse conceptualisation of possession is chosen where the
possessed object is a prepositional complement, is GO preferred (cf.
'the money went to me')?

I am also interested in cases where a verb basically meaning 'come'
shows anything akin to 'raising' phenomena like those found with 'seem'.
Are there languages where we get semantically near-minimal pairs of the
following type where both variants are more normal than in English:
(d) SHE CAME TO BE RICH/IT CAME THAT SHE WAS RICH
(e) SHE CAME TO/AT MONEY/IT CAME THAT SHE WAS WITH/AT MONEY (='she got
money')
(f) SHE CAME TO DO THAT/IT CAME THAT SHE DID THAT

Some data in German (and, vestigially, in English) suggested some of the
constructions asked about above, while others are hypotheses about what
might exist in other languages.
Here is where I'm coming from: My speculation is that punctual
transitions (often formalised using the BECOME operator) are
conceptualised as the coming of a situation into the realm occupied by
existing things, also occupied by the speaker, hence a deictic centre. I
also suspect that all of the above constructions involve an embedding of
something under BECOME. Where 'come' is used as the verb stem, it is
really spelling out BECOME, which, semantically, takes no entity
argument and might be treated syntactically as a raising predicate if
you believe in syntactic lexical decomposition. (Apologies if this is
complete guff. There may be a simpler explanation I have overlooked,
something which e.g. deixis specialists might alert me to.)
I would be grateful for hints on relevant literature and for any
relevant examples from other languages. If I get enough answers, I will
summarise them.
Kind regards,
Andrew
***********************
Dr. Andrew McIntyre
Universitaet Leipzig
www.uni-leipzig.de/~angling/olsen/mcintyre
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