Verb classifiers in East Asia
Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62) › 21_Publication in refereed journal › peer-review
Related Research Unit(s)
|Journal / Publication||Functions of Language|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2014|
|Link to Scopus||https://www.scopus.com/record/display.uri?eid=2-s2.0-84912044511&origin=recordpage|
Many linguists define classification systems in terms of semantic profiling. The classifier profiles a semantic trait common to all the classified items. This paper rejects semantic profiling in favor of a combinatorial definition of classification and evaluates verb classification in five languages of the Sinitic, Tai-Kadai, Miao-Yao and Tibeto-Burman families. Only sortal verb classifiers in Sinitic, Tai-Kadai, Miao-Yao (not Tibeto-Burman) are classificatory in the combinatorial sense. Sortal verb classifiers stand for a lexical classification technique in which the classifiers are derived from adjunct noun phrases. Cross-linguistically, the technique contrasts with other techniques such as the classification of verbs by incorporated core arguments found in Native American languages. This paper also evaluates mensural verb classifiers and auto-classifiers which are generally not classificatory in the combinatorial sense.