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The Even Yearbook 5 (2002)

ELTE SEAS Working Papers in Linguistics

Balogné Bérces, Benczes, Eitler, Górász, Kiss, Marosán, Newson, Starcevic, Szigetvári

cover illustration Front and back cover, front material (pp. i--viii, 150--154): ps / pdf


Katalin Balogné Bérces
The beginning of the word revisited
pp. 1--16
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The paper aims to revise and re-evaluate some of the advantages gained from two suggestions made by Jean Lowenstamm. The first one (Lowenstamm 1996) introduced a new type of phonological skeletal structure, in which syllabic constituency and timing are merged into a tier composed of strictly alternating CV units, and parametric variation in syllable structure is expressed with reference to the licensing of empty positions rather than branching. (The popularity of this suggestion amongst the practitioners of Government Phonology (henceforth GP) soon led to the birth of a radical offspring christened (Strict) CV Phonology.) The second one (Lowenstamm 1999) armed this bare skeleton with an empty CV unit attached to the left edge of every word of a major category. The urge to license the empty vocalic position of this boundary marker is then the source of various phenomena, dynamic (e.g. alternations in cliticisation (Lowenstamm 1999), and the lack of lenition in certain phonological environments (e.g. Ségéral and Scheer 1999, Szigetvári 1999)) as well as static (e.g. the (absence of) phonotactic restrictions on word-initial consonant clusters in different languages (Lowenstamm 1999, Szigetvári 1999)).

The paper is structured as follows. Section 2 relates the story of the development Strict CV Phonology has undergone since Lowenstamm came up with the idea of the empty boundary marker. This includes a redefinition of the notions ``government' and ``licensing'', and also a repartitioning of the CV skeleton into VC units. At the end, the issue of the source of the boundary marker is addressed, which leads us to go back in time in Section 3 and investigate another line along which Chomsky and Halle’s (1968) theory of syntax-phonology mapping in terms of boundary symbols developed into the framework of Prosodic Phonology, the theory of the domains of phonological rules. (See e.g., Nespor and Vogel 1986). It is in Section 4 that the two narratives meet; the inadequacy of both is pointed out and an attempt is made at reaching a compromise. Finally, this section concludes the discussion and highlights a set of data which undermines most previous analyses of, and sheds new light on, the data used.

Throughout the paper, one process attested in several dialects of English, e.g., in Standard American English pronunciation (General American, is focussed on, namely the allophony resulting from t/d-flapping and the aspiration of voiceless plosives. GA stop allophones provide a case in point since their distribution is governed by the principles under investigation (prosodic constituency, morphosyntactic properties).

Réka Benczes
The semantics of idioms: a cognitive linguistic approach
pp. 17--30
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Right until the late seventies the main trend in idiom analysis was to view these expressions as non-compositional items, whose meaning is arbitrary and does not have anything to do with the meaning of the constituents. However, research in the past twenty years has shown that a large group of idioms does seem to be partially compositional in nature, that is the meaning of the constituents is connected to the overall meaning of the expression. This view has been adopted by cognitive linguistics as well, which maintains that the ``connection'' between the constituents’ literal meaning and the overall figurative meaning arises from ``motivation'' stemming from the unconscious conceptual structures in the language user’s head.

The first part of the paper discusses theoretical issues: after outlining the main tenets of the traditional approach it examines the basis for the conceptual view of idioms. Following in the footsteps of cognitive linguistic theory, the second part of the paper analyses a special set of English idioms, namely those which have the body part head within them. The aim is to investigate what conceptual metaphors or metonymies underlie these idioms and what these conceptual vehicles might say about our everyday conceptualisations of the head.

Tamás Eitler
An Old Norse--Old English contact phenomenon: the retention of the dative plural inflection -um in the Northumbrian dialect of Old English
pp. 31--48
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The elements of the oppositions stasis and change, retention and loss, insularity and openness, close-knit community and loose-knit community all seem to represent the two poles conservativeness and innovativeness, respectively. It will be shown that when a linguistic system is given an external stimulus via language contact, the conservative and innovative elements of the oppositions can mix, resulting in seemingly conservative elements pairing up with innovative ones. Under these circumstances retention can no longer be regarded a necessarily conservative feature and change can appear to take the shape of stasis.

Judit Górász
Objects and adverbials and the loss of OV order in English
pp. 49--56
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One of the most interesting phenomena in the documented history of the English language is the systematic change that transformed it from an inflecting V2 language with OV as its basic word order into the strictly SVO, isolating language of the present. The relevant syntactic and morphological changes (i.e., the changes in word order and the weakening of the inflection system) are clearly not independent of each other, though the problem of their exact relationship raises numerous questions. The focus of the present paper is the change from OV to VO order, which took place simultaneously -- to some extent -- with the transition from the Old English to the Middle English period. Still, it did not happen overnight, in fact, it seems to have been a gradual change that took several hundred years before it was completed. This means that for quite a long period, a significant number of OV and VO sentences occurred simultaneously, until at some point in the Middle English period, OV became restricted to a few, narrowly defined linguistic contexts.

Zoltán Kiss
Complexity effects in nasal--continuant clusters
pp. 57--76
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It is a phonological commonplace that nasal--stop clusters prefer to be homorganic. Indeed, this configuration seems to be rather unmarked, especially when compared to nasal--non-stop clusters. Generally viewed, the combination of a nasal and a continuant segment usually establishes a very unstable relation which often results in various ``repair'' strategies. It is conspicuous that -- unlike in the case of nasal--stop clusters -- in nasal--continuant clusters place assimilation is frequently avoided. The purpose of this paper is to investigate these strategies through syncronic and diacronic processes in various languages. An attempt is made to explain the reason for the instability and its resolution, making use of the notion of segmental complexity within a recent offspring of Government Phonology, the strict CV model.

Lajos Marosán
Conversion or alternate class membership? Comments on Brøndal's theory of proper noun
pp. 77--94
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In the following pages I will be reviewing Brøndal's (1948) theory of the proper noun, more specifically, I will discuss some problems concerning what is usually treated in traditional grammars under the heading ``reclassification of proper nouns (PN) as common nouns (CN).'' Brøndal's views on word classes, in general, are very intriguing and also extremely thought provoking as well as fairly idiosyncratic and obscure in some respect; at first sight, however, some of his views seem counterintuitive or simply absurd. I will also examine Curme's (1935), John Stuart Mill's (1949), Jespersen's (1924/1992) and Langacker's (1991) view on the proper noun, concentrating on how they analyse and comment on cases which are usually treated as PN -> CN conversions. In various grammars there is a section which is devoted to the analysis of structures in which the name of a well-known person is not used to refer to the person himself but denotes some quality or characteristic associated with that person. Such occurrences of the proper name are analysed in these grammars as reclassification, or use, of the proper noun as common noun.

In the following sections I wish to examine and comment on this claim suggesting that the traditional subcategorisation of the noun class into proper nouns and common nouns is untenable since the semantic properties of nouns do not parallel their syntactic and/or morphological characteristics, and grammar can only manipulate syntactic information.

Mark Newson
The coordination particle
pp. 95--116
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This paper continues previous work by Newson & Gáspár (2001a, 2001b, 2002), which deals with ellipsis in coordinate expressions. The focus of the present paper is not however on ellipsis, but on questions concerning the form of coordination, elided or not, with particular emphasis on the distribution of the coordination particle (and, or, but etc.) across languages.

In section 2 I will briefly introduce the framework I will adopt (essentially that of Newson & Gáspár). I will then proceed to the analysis. The section on the analysis is divided into four subsections which concern my claims about the nature of the coordination particle, a review of the linguistic variation concerning this element, the actual analysis in terms of alignment constraints and finally a brief look at languages which do not always represent the coordination particle overtly.

Attila Starcevic
Yod dropping in English and Croatian: some consonantal problems
pp. 117--137
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This article investigates some aspects of Croatian and English yod dropping vis-à-vis problematic consonantal representations. The analysis is couched in the framework of Government Phonology (GP) (Kaye et al. 1990) and its conception of melodic complexity (Harris 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1997, Harris & Lindsey 1995). However, not only GP but also the apparatus of CV (Lowenstamm 1996, Scheer 1998a, 1998b, Ségéral & Scheer 1999) and VC (Dienes & Szigetvári 1999, Szigetvári 1999) phonology is tackled in connection with ``branching'' onsets. The underlying assumptions on melodic elements are not discussed (cf. Starcevic 2001a, 2001b) for an analysis on the inerpretation of melodic primes). The separation of the melodic (qualitative) and the timing (quantitative) tiers is also taken for granted (cf. Goldsmith 1976, 1990, among many others). This paper is mainly concerned with problematic aspects of consonantal relations and will not so much offer a solution than add its bit to the corpus of unresolved issues.

Péter Szigetvári
Syncope in English
pp. 139--149
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English abounds in lexical consonant clusters; their nature and constraints on their occurrence are treated extensively in the phonological literature. There is, however, also a possibility for creating morpheme-internal consonant clusters postlexically, by syncope (also referred to as schwa-deletion, sonorant desyllabification or compression). In English, synchronic/dynamic syncope is always preceded\dash historically/derivationally\dash by SCF, for any C1@C2 ~ C1C2 alternation there exists an intermediate stage where C2 is syllabic; the reverse does not hold. This fact points to a strong connection between SCF and syncope. High vowel gliding is also mentioned, since it seems to be a special case of syncope. The paper looks at data presented in the LPD (Wells 1990). The aim is not to provide a theory to account for the data, rather to systematize the data to a certain extent in order to ease the task of further researchers.

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edited by <peter.szigetvari@elte.hu>
contents last touched Sun Dec 10 10:16:20 CET 2006