Auteur : Martin Haspelmath

Are verbal person markers primarily shaped by cyclic grammaticalization? Recent work by Seržant gives a new answer

Almost as well-known as Jespersen’s Cycle is “Givón’s Cycle”, the change from independent personal pronoun to grammatical person marker (= person index) to zero, with subsequent renewal: Givon’s Cycle (so dubbed by Seržant 2021): independent personal pronoun > subject index … Continue reading

Sustainable dictionaries of low-resource languages: The “Dictionaria” series and its user-friendliness

Documentary and descriptive linguists often produce dictionaries of understudied languages, and speakers of these languages often show great interest in these dictionaries – typically a lot more interest than in grammatical analyses, which are much less accessible to untrained users. … Continue reading

What kinds of “null argument” or “argument ellipsis” phenomena are there? Argument omission as a central question of valency research

There are several different situations where an argument that might be expected to be present is not present. They have been given a wide variety of terms: “null arguments”, “omission”, “ellipsis”, “deletion”, “implicit arguments”, and so on. The question is … Continue reading

Austronesian languages prefer agent-first orders: Some notes on Riesberg et al. (2019)

In their 2019 paper “How universal is agent-first?”, Sonja Riesberg, Kurt Malcher and Nikolaus Himmelmann argue that western Austronesian languages provide evidence for a general “agent-first” preference, although they often have a neutral order in which the patient (or another … Continue reading

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