LINGUIST List 14.2726

Fri Oct 10 2003

Qs: Incorporated/Free Nouns; Sensory Adjectives

Editor for this issue: Naomi Fox <>

We'd like to remind readers that the responses to queries are usually best posted to the individual asking the question. That individual is then strongly encouraged to post a summary to the list. This policy was instituted to help control the huge volume of mail on LINGUIST; so we would appreciate your cooperating with it whenever it seems appropriate. In addition to posting a summary, we'd like to remind people that it is usually a good idea to personally thank those individuals who have taken the trouble to respond to the query. To post to LINGUIST, use our convenient web form at


  1. Florian Zellmayer, Coordination of incorporated and free nouns
  2. Mark Seidenberg, adjective markeness

Message 1: Coordination of incorporated and free nouns

Date: Wed, 08 Oct 2003 13:42:43 +0000
From: Florian Zellmayer <>
Subject: Coordination of incorporated and free nouns

Dear everyone,

does anyone of you know of language which allows incorporated nouns to
be coordinated with morphologically free nouns? To put it differently:
Does anyone know a language that has coordinate noun structures where
one of the two nouns incorporated into the verb, whereas the other
remains morphologically independent. An example could look like the

/he-water-brought and bread/
''He brought water and bread.''

/I-ear-hurt my-nose/
''My ear and my nose hurt.''

/door it-window-broke/
''Both the door and the window broke.''

This is a question that has, to my knowledge, never been researched in
any language with noun incorporation. Structures of this kind are
problematic for many theories of incorporation proposed to date:

(1) It cannot be accounted for by head movement, since movement out of
coordinate structures is excluded.

* Who did you meet [t and Bill]?

(2) It als cannot be accounted for by lexical compounding. In valency
reducing patient incorporation, for instance, the resulting NV complex
verb is monovalent and should not allow a free object. In classifying
incorporation, the classifier incorporate is semantically compatible
with only one part of the conjunct:

/I-them-water-brought 'pro' and bread/

Here incorporate /water/ classifies pro but is incompatible with /bread/.

(3) An ellipsis analysis is unlikely, because the two conjuncts would
be structurally inequal under any analysis.

/[I-water-bought] and [(I-it-bought) bread]/

(4) Pragmatic approaches also fail: If two nouns form a conjunct, they
can be expected to have equal information structural status. And if
incorporation relates to pragmatics, incorporated and free nouns
should have different information status. A contradiction results.

Thanks in advance for your help. 
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 2: adjective markeness

Date: Thu, 09 Oct 2003 10:44:38 +0000
From: Mark Seidenberg <>
Subject: adjective markeness

Can anyone provide examples of (or point me to sources for)
cross-linguistic data concerning the markedness of adjectives
describing sensory dimensions such as sound (loudness), weight
(heaviness), and so on? Are there cases in which the unmarked term is
the opposite of what it is in English. e.g., a language in which
softness is the unmarked case and loudness is marked. I gather that
there are strong tendencies for one term to be the marked one across
languages but I am unclear how universal these are. Thanks. Summary of
responses to be posted.
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue