LINGUIST List 26.3227

Wed Jul 08 2015

Books: Das Konzept der Objektrelation und das Kontinuum ihrer Varianten: Ein muttersprachlicher Zugang: Seiler (ed.), Berthoud-Papandropoulou, Ono, Seiler

Editor for this issue: Sara Couture <>

Date: 30-Jun-2015
From: Ulrich Lueders <>
Subject: Das Konzept der Objektrelation und das Kontinuum ihrer Varianten: Ein muttersprachlicher Zugang: Seiler (ed.), Berthoud-Papandropoulou, Ono, Seiler
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Title: Das Konzept der Objektrelation und das Kontinuum ihrer Varianten:
Ein muttersprachlicher Zugang
Series Title: LINCOM Studies in Theoretical Linguistics 57
Published: 2015
Publisher: Lincom GmbH

Book URL:

Editor: Hansjakob Seiler
Author: Ioanna Berthoud-Papandropoulou
Author: Yoshiko Ono
Author: Hansjakob Seiler
Hardback: ISBN: 9783862886425 Pages: 153 Price: Europe EURO 84.80

„Object“ is captured in this work as a relation between two equipollent poles: Pole1 (verb) as an instance of influential action upon a Pole2 (noun) as an instance of „sovereignty“ and detachment from the verb’s influence. A bidirectional continuum spans between the two poles: In one direction, the influential force of the verb (Pole1) is gradually weakened as we move from Pole1 to Pole2. In the other direction, „sovereignty“ and detachment are strongest at Pole2, and are gradually weakened as we move toward Pole1.
Gradience in the two opposite directions is observable and is confirmed by the native speakers of the three languages under study, viz. Standard Modern German, Modern Greek, and Japanese.

It is reflected by morpho-syntactic and semantic facts. As a result, we found an array of positions along the continuum (called „techniques“). As an example, one particular technique may be characterized by a plus in influential power, coupled by a minus in „sovereignty“, being „more like Pole1“. A neighboring technique characterized by opposite markings may be „more like Pole2“. All positions on the continuum are considered to be contracting an object relation.

This view stands in contradistinction to current theorizing for which „Object“ is considered to be a dependent of the valency of the verb. Its definition is based on such tests as passivizing or accessibility to comparable operations. Our continuum extends beyond the reach of the traditional direct or indirect object relation. It includes such cases where valency and corresponding tests are no longer decisive, but where the regularities of the continuum still are in force.

An important insight states that morpho-syntactic markings and semantic specifications signaling a „more like Pole1“ or a „more like Pole2“ may differ from one language to another. Thus, e.g. a technique of „strong agentivity“ as coupled with „weak sovereignty“ is represented in German by a preference for a weak article plus object noun, in Modern Greek by a zero article plus object noun, and in Japanese by incorporation of the object noun.

What ultimately matters, then, is the dynamics of moving along the continuum from the „more like Pole1“ toward the „more like Pole2“ and conversely type. As a consequence of this variability in the markings we were lead to consider borderline cases between object- and non-object relations. (written in German)

Linguistic Field(s): Linguistic Theories

Subject Language(s): German (deu)
                            Greek, Modern (ell)

Written In: German (deu)

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