Konzeptuelle Struktur und materielle Manifestation : Nominale Part-Whole-Konstruktionen aus einer typologischen Perspektive

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)

Abstract

The aim of this thesis is to investigate the relation between intrasubjective mental representations – ‘conceptual structures’ – and their intersubjectively available material manifestation, in particular morphosyntactic representations. Such an investigation presupposes the analysis of not only extralinguistically established modules but also of structural levels that are inherent components of the language system. The complexity of the relationship between conceptual structures and linguistic form is apparent in the nominal domain of ‘Part-Whole constructions’. This empirical phenomenon is defined primarily on the basis of conceptual features and is investigated in a number of different languages with respect to the alternatives of mapping relations between the conceptually relevant distinctions and formal representations.

Four different approaches to linguistic structure in general and ‘Part-Whole constructions’ in particular are discussed: (i) theoretically less well-founded proposals of traditional grammar, (ii) syntactic analyses within the standard framework of generative theory, (iii) ‘two level models’ of linguistic meaning and (iv) models with only one level of meaning.

On the basis of the results of the critical discussion it is argued that, regarding the overall organization of language, modules of ‘content’ (here ‘conceptual structures’) and structures of morphosyntactic nature form independent levels of representation with formation rules of their own. However, these modules interact in a systematic fashion. Unlike conceptual structures on the one hand and ‘physical material without content’ on the other, the interface connecting these two domains is an inherently linguistic, partly language-specific component of the language system. In this interface certain conceptual features, such as [±b(oundedness)], [±i(nternal structure)], quantification and type of referentiality, are assumed to correlate universally with morphosyntactic features in certain hierarchical layers of the noun phrase, such as the lexical NP domain ([±b, ±i]), the functional QP ([±b] and quantification), and the DP, where referentiality is instantiated.

As for the ‘Part-Whole constructions’, typological patterns suggest that this phenomenon is to be divided – not only from a morphosyntactic point of view but also with regard to its conceptual structure – into several subphenomena. One of the most important tasks is to distinguish between the ‘real’ partitive (‘a bottle of the water’) and the so called ‘pseudopartitive construction’ (‘a bottle of water’). Although both constructions contain a quantifying unit (‘a bottle’), they diverge conceptually as to the interpretation of this unit by taking this unit either as a full-fledged noun in partitives or as a pure quantifier in pseudopartitives. There are differences in the conceptual features of the second constituent, too (i.e. ‘the water’ or ‘water’ respectively): while in ‘real’ partitives the ‘substance’ – here ‘the water’ – is in most cases ‘bounded’ and necessarily refers to an ‘individual’, in pseudopartitives the quantified substance is prototypically ‘nonbounded’ ([-b]) and can only refer to a ‘type’.

The main conclusion is that a number of constructions must be distinguished within the part-whole domain motivated by different conceptual features. As the analysis of the formal representations shows, there are obviously relevant typological patterns in the mapping of these conceptual features onto linguistic form.

Details

Authors
  • Daniel Ormelius
Organisations
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Languages and Literature

Keywords

  • typological patterns, spatial representations, conceptual structures, morphosyntactic structures, ‘part-whole’ constructions, boundedness, internal structure, quantification, referentiality, quantifier phrase, noun phrase, determiner phrase, German language and literatur, Tyska (språk och litteratur)
Original languageGerman
QualificationDoctor
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
Award date2003 Nov 8
Publisher
  • Almqvist & Wiksell International
Print ISBNs91-22-02042-X
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2003-11-08 Time: 10:15 Place: Room 339B, The German Department External reviewer(s) Name: Koch, Wolfgang Title: Prof. Affiliation: Handelshøjskolen i Århus ---