“Diacronia” bibliometric database (BDD)

Regard typologique sur les grammaires de langues Polynésiennes

Publication: Revue roumaine de linguistique, LII (4), p. 449-468
Publisher:Editura Academiei
Abstract:The present article examines the structure and content of the 13 major grammars available for Polynesian languages from a typological perspective. After a brief introductory characterization of the typical properties of those languages and some general observations on the structure of the relevant grammars (order of presentation, terminology, use of glosses) as well as the requirements typically formulated by typologists for reference grammars, the discussion is centred on two remarkable properties of Polynesian languages: (i) lexical categorization (the differentiation between nouns and verbs, the identification of a special class of adjectives) and the encoding of reflexivity.
As is well-known the alleged universal distinction between nouns and verbs is difficult to draw for Polynesian languages, where the same lexemes can occur both in nominal environments (noun phrases) and in contexts clearly identifying verbs (verb phrases). The different attempts made in the grammars to deal with this problem are summarized and discussed against the background of the author's own work on this problem. Similarly difficult as a clear differentiation between the two major lexical classes of traditional grammar is the identification of a separate class of adjectives, as different from stative verbs, in Polynesian languages. Again a general overview is presented of how this problem is dealt with in the grammars under investigation.
The second major theme of the article, the encoding of reflexivity, is an especially interesting one, since it is often claimed that Polynesian languages do not have any specific reflexive markers. It is shown that this impression is created by choosing the wrong contexts, such as verbs of grooming (He washed and shaved.) and other cases of unremarkable reflexivity. As soon as typically other-directed verbs are considered (He pinched himself. Most of all he admires himself.), it emerges that intensifiers, i.e. expressions like Latin ipse, English self or German selbst are used to indicate coreference (or binding) between two pronouns with identical person and number features. It is shown that the relevant expressions, typically adverbial free forms, manifest all or at least most of the uses of intensifiers in European languages. Again it turns out that very different answers are given to the question concerning reflexive markers in Polynesian languages in the grammars analyzed.
A brief conclusion summarized the major results of this comparative study of grammar writing on Polynesian languages.
Language: French

Citations to this publication: 1

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