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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



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Academic Paper


Title: A multi-dimensional approach to the category ‘verb’ in Cantonese
Author: Elaine J. Francis
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~ejfranci/ejfrancis.htm
Institution: Purdue University
Author: Stephen Matthews
Homepage: http://www.hku.hk/linguist/staff/sjm.htm
Institution: University of Hong Kong
Linguistic Field: Syntax
Subject Language: Chinese, Yue
Abstract: Cantonese exhibits a pattern of variation among verbs that has often been interpreted as distinguishing a category of adjectives or a subcategory of adjectival verbs. However, neither of these approaches takes into account the complex patterns of overlap among the purported categories or subcategories. To account for these patterns, we propose a multi-dimensional, feature-based analysis, whereby morphological, phonological, syntactic, and semantic features interact to determine the distribution of each verb. While all verbs bear the same syntactic category feature, there are other features that affect the distribution of verbs independently of syntactic category. For example, constructions that resemble adjectival constructions in other languages license the semantic classes of verbs that are permanent, gradable, and/or non-dynamic, while constructions that resemble verbal constructions in other languages license the semantic classes of verbs that are dynamic, non-gradable, and/or non-permanent. Typological implications of this analysis are also considered.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Journal of Linguistics Vol. 41, Issue 2, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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