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Re: THEORY: Incorporating Agents vs. Patients in Verbs (was: 'Yemls Grammar)

From:Patrick Littell <puchitao@...>
Date:Friday, September 30, 2005, 2:45
On 9/28/05, taliesin the storyteller <taliesin-conlang@...> wrote:

> > Well, as before, you're not going to find much prototypical noun > > incorporation in a more isolating language. You might, however, find > > noun stripping, which is a very similar process and also fairly > > common. If you can't find anything of use by googling that, email me > > and I'll see if I have any articles about it. > > Very little on "noun stripping" on da intarweb, mostly references to a > paper from 1983, "Noun Stripping and Loose Incorporation in Zuni" by K. > Miner and a paper that claims that Tongan does not use noun stripping, > inbetween the hits for 'noun "stripping" in WordNet' and some technique > in UML. I think you need to cough up your sources to the word :) > >
As far as I can tell, the term "noun stripping" was indeed coined by Miner, who's studied the phenomenon is several language families, but after twenty years of him using it it's finally catching on. For example, it's the term used for the phenomenon in Spencer's Handbook of Morphology (which, incidentally, I'd recommend as one of the best one-volume works on morphology, for our list list of books.) (Well, I think it is; I misplaced it a week or two ago.) The most common term for the phenomenon Miner calls "noun stripping" is "pseudo-incorporation", but this is a fairly ambiguous term, and not an especially descriptive one. The term "pseudo-incorporation" can equally be applied to a phenomenon like denominal verb formation in West Greenlandic, another construction similar to noun incorporation but nothing like the "pseudo-incorporation" we find in Oceanic languagues, Hindi, Persian, Turkish, etc. (Maybe even Spanish... the absense of the "a personal" occurs in conditions pretty much like that of noun stripping and incorporation in other languages.) Noun-stripping is fairly similar to "Type I" noun incorporation -- in her seminal 1984 paper on noun incorporation, Mithun suggests that it might be the diachronic precursor to ordinary Type I noun incorporation. (Mithun, incidentally, used the term "compounding by juxtaposition" for this sort of incorporation, which is also descriptive but not as "snappy".) The main difference is that in true noun incorporation, the incorporated noun and the verb form a compound word, subject to word-internal processes like stress assignment and vowel harmony, whereas in noun-stripping this does not occur. What occurs instead is that the noun loses its grammatical markers for case and definiteness (for example), and forms a strong syntactic bond with the verb that is usually not broken by clitics and modifiers such as adverbs. Subjectively, noun stripping appears to exhibit greater typological variation than Type I noun incorporation. (I know of no cross-linguistic study of the phenomenon to cite, so I'm giving my own impressions.) The roles that may be stripped are wider -- you can find stripped agents, for example -- and the operation doesn't always decrease the transitivity of the verb. Interestingly, I've seen no examples of noun-stripping with similar functions to the other types of noun incorporation. This is consistent, actually, with Mithun's suggestions that noun-stripping is a pre-Type-I phenomenon and that further types of noun-incorporation may only develop if Type I incorporation is already present. Anyway, that's noun stripping. If anyone wants further info on the typology of incorporation, I have an article or two in PDF that I could mail you. (Including Mithun 1984, which is also available from jstor -- it's in Language 60 -- if you have an account.) -- Pat


Chris Bates <chris.maths_student@...>Incorporating Agents vs. Patients in Verbs