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Historical Generative Syntax: What diachronic cycles tell us Elly van Gelderen Tempe, AZ, 9 November 2013 Western Conference on Linguistics/Arizona Linguistics Symposium
Outline A. What is generative historical linguistics? B. The Minimalist Program and how it is conducive to looking at gradual, unidirectional change. C. Examples of Grammaticalization and Linguistic Cycles D. Explanations and some challenges.
Model of language acquisition/change (based on Andersen 1973) Generation n UG + experience = I-language n E-language n + innovations Generation n+1 UG + experience n = I-language n+1 E-language n+1
Reanalysis is crucial (1) Paul said, "Starting would be a good thing to do. How would you like to begin? “ (COCA 2010 Fiction) (cartoon is on Handout)
Change was seen as “catastrophic” Lightfoot (1979), for instance, argues that the category change of modals is an abrupt one from V to AUX, as is the change from impersonal to personal verbs (the verb lician changing in meaning from `please’ to `like’). Newmeyer (1998: 237); Roberts & Roussou (2003: 2) and others argue that “grammaticalization is a regular case of parameter change … [and] epiphenomenal”, i. e. all components also occur independently. That means it can change in either direction.
Principles and Parameters of the 1980 s/1990 s Headedness parameter OV to VO Inventory of Functional Categories C-oriented (V 2) to T-oriented Verb-movement Pro-drop
Current Minimalism: compatible with unidirectional change The role of UG is minimized: third factor, economy, or prelinguistic. Economy predicts one direction! The role of features: The emphasis on features is favorable to gradual change!
Minimalism of the 1990 s-2013 Parameters now consist of choices of feature specifications as the child acquires a lexicon (Chomsky 2007). Baker, while disagreeing with this view of parameters, calls this the Borer-Chomsky. Conjecture (2008: 156): "All parameters of variation are attributable to differences in the features of particular items (e. g. , the functional heads) in the lexicon. "
Shift in Generative Hist Ling as well With the shift to parametric parameters, it becomes possible to think of gradual change through reanalysis as well (e. g. Roberts 2009 and van Gelderen 2008, 2009, 2010). Word order change in terms if features e. g. Breitbarth 2012, Biberauer & Roberts (2008).
Three factors, e. g. Chomsky 2007 (1) genetic endowment, which sets limits on the attainable languages, thereby making language acquisition possible; (2) external data, converted to the experience that selects one or another language within a narrow range; (3) principles not specific to the Faculty of Language. Some of the third factor principles have the flavor of the constraints that enter into all facets of growth and evolution, [. . . ] Among these are principles of efficient computation"
Economy Locality = Minimize computational burden (Ross 1967; Chomsky 1973) Use a head = Minimize Structure (Head Preference Principle, van Gelderen 2004) Late Merge = Minimize computational burden (van Gelderen 2004, and others) The latter two can be seen in terms of Feature Economy
Types of minimalist features The semantic features of lexical items (which have to be cognitively based) The interpretable ones relevant at the Conceptual-Intentional interface. Uninterpretable features act as `glue’ so to speak to help out merge. For instance, person and number features (=phifeatures) are interpretable on nouns but not on verbs.
Formal features are interpretable and uninterpretable (Chomsky 1995: 277): airplane Interpr. [nominal] [3 person] [non-human] Uninterpr [Case] build [verbal] [assign accusative] [phi]
Merge and AGREE (1) TP T’ T [u-phi] [i-pr] DP VP many buffaloes V [i-3] [i-P] live V’ PP in this room
Semantic and formal overlap: Chomsky (1995: 230; 381) suggests: "formal features have semantic correlates and reflect semantic properties (accusative Case and transitivity, for example). " I interpret this: If a language has nouns with semantic phi-features, the learner will be able to hypothesize uninterpretable features on another F (and will be able to bundle them there). Radford (2000): in acquisition from + > “[S]emantic features. . . , are presumably drawn from a universal ‘alphabet’” (Chomsky 1965: 142), “little is known about this today”.
If semantic features are innate, we need: Feature Economy (a) Utilize semantic features: use them as for functional categories, i. e. as formal features (van Gelderen 2008; 2011). (b) If a specific feature appears more than once, one of these is interpretable and the others are uninterpretable (Muysken 2008).
Grammaticalization is a unidirectional change from semantic to formal (=grammatical) features. For instance, a verb with semantic features, such as Old English will with [volition, expectation, future], can be reanalyzed as having only the grammatical feature [future]. And a pronoun can be reanalyzed as agreement on the verb.
Grammaticalization tells us which features matter Subject and Object Agreement (Givón) demonstrative > third ps pronoun > agreement > zero noun > first and second person > agreement > zero noun > noun marker > agreement > zero Copula (Katz) demonstrative > copula > zero third person > copula > zero verb > aspect > copula Noun (Greenberg) demonstrative > definite article > ‘Case’ > zero noun > number/gender > zero
And about processing/economy Negative (Gardiner/Jespersen see van der Auwera) a negative argument > negative adverb > negative particle > zero b verb > aspect > negative > C (negative polarity cycle: Willis) CP Adjunct AP/PP >. . . > C Future and Aspect Auxiliary A/P > M > T (> C) V > ASP
Cycle is an old idea: Bopp (1816) and von der Gabelentz (1901) The history of language moves in the diagonal of two forces: the impulse toward comfort, which leads to the wearing down of sounds, and that toward clarity, which disallows this erosion and the destruction of the language. The affixes grind themselves down, disappear without a trace; their functions or similar ones, however, require new expression. They acquire this expression, by the method of isolating languages, through word order or clarifying words.
The latter, in the course of time, undergo agglutination, erosion, and in the mean time renewal is prepared: periphrastic expressions are preferred. . . always the same: the development curves back towards isolation, not in the old way, but in a parallel fashion. That's why I compare them to spirals.
Comfort + Clarity = Grammaticalization + Renewal Von der Gabelentz’ examples of comfort: the unclear pronunciation of everyday expressions, the use of a few words instead of a full sentence, i. e. ellipsis (p. 182 -184), “syntaktische Nachlässigkeiten aller Art” (`syntactic carelessness of all kinds’, p. 184), and loss of gender.
Von der G’s examples of clarity special exertion of the speech organs (p. 183), “Wiederholung” (`repetition’, p. 239), periphrastic expressions (p. 239), replacing words like sehr `very’ by more powerful and specific words such as riesig `gigantic’ and schrecklich `frightful’ (243), using a rhetorical question instead of a regular proposition, and replacing case with prepositions (p. 183).
Grammaticalization = one step Hopper & Traugott 2003: content item > grammatical word > clitic > inflectional affix. The loss in phonological content is not a necessary consequence of the loss of semantic content (see Kiparsky 2011; Kiparsky & Condoravdi 2006; Hoeksema 2009). Kiparsky (2011: 19): “in the development of case, bleaching is not necessarily tied to morphological downgrading from postposition to clitic to sufﬁx. ” Instead, unidirectionality is the defining property of grammaticalization and any exceptions to the unidirectionality (e. g. the Spanish inflectional morpheme –nos changing to a pronoun) are instances of analogical changes.
Renewal (of the lost features) is the other step In acknowledging weakening of pronunciation (“un affaiblissement de la pronunciation”), Meillet (1912: 139) writes that what provokes the start of the (negative) cycle is the need to speak forcefully (“le besoin de parler avec force”). Kiparsky & Condoravdi (2006) similarly suggest pragmatic and semantic reasons. A simple negative cannot be emphatic; in order for a negative to be emphatic, it needs to be reinforced, e. g. by a minimizer.
Three (four) cycles I will look at (mention) Negative Cycles negative argument > negative adverb > negative particle > zero negative verb > auxiliary > negative > zero Subject Agreement Cycle demonstrative/emphatic > pronoun > agreement > zero Copula Cycles demonstrative/verb/adposition > copula > zero CP Cycles Argument/Adverb WH > Yes/No and Conj PP/Relative > Conjunction
Two kinds of Negative Cycles Indefinite phrase > negative = Jespersen’s Cycle. See EyÞórrson (2002) about ON ne; Bondi Johannessen (2000) and Sollid (2002) about modern stages. (1) er hjör né rýðr Old Norse that sword not redden `that do not redden a sword. ' (Fáfnismál 24) (2) Þat mæli ek eigi that say-1 S I not `I am not saying that. ’ (Njalssaga, 219, Faarlund 2004: 225) (3) Trøtt. . . jeg? Ha'kke tid Norwegian tired. . . me? have-not time `Me, tired? I don't have the time. ’ (google) (4) USA bør ikke ALDRIG være et forbilde. . . ’The US should not never be an example. . . ’ (google)
A second cycle involves a verb (1) (2) (3) 'ele' k'e-s-t'aaz-e Ahtna NEG it-NEG-cut-NEG `He isn't cutting it' (Kari 1992: 123) nεzú-hílε Chipewyan be. good-not `It is not good' (Li 1967: 420) bebí nedá yíle Bearlake baby 3. heavy NEG `The baby is light' (Rice 1989: 1101)
Verb > negative Rice (1989: 1108, n. 1) suggests that the negative yíle in Slave (48), i. e. Hare, Slavey, and Bearlake, "may historically be an auxiliary verb in the perfective aspect“. Kari (1990) suggests that 'ele' in Ahtna is related to the verb lae `to be'. but also Chinese mei < `not exist’. . . and S Min (Yang 2009)
Navajo and Apache (1) (2) (3) doo (bił) hózhǫ/ǫ da NEG 3 S-with happy NEG `He isn’t happy'. T'ah doo kwii nisháah da ńt'éé' Yet NEG here I-went NEG PST `I had never before been here‘. (doo) nchad da NEG 2 S-cry NEG `Don't you cry' (Bray 1998: 109)
Negative Cycle in English a. no/ne early Old English b. ne c. (ne) not d. not (na wiht/not) > after 900, esp S after 1350 -not/-n’t after 1400 How renewed at the moment?
Fail to. . . (in COHA)
Register shows possible causes
Neg Cycle in terms of structure Neg. P Neg’ Neg ne VP V DP/AP no thing Please see (2) on Handout and then (1) for more detail.
and in terms of features DP in the VP > semantic > > Head Neg > [u-neg] Specifier of Neg. P [i-neg] > negative affix and then renewal is needed from another lexical element
The Subject Cycle A. demonstrative > third person pronoun > clitic > agreement B. noun/oblique pronoun > first/second pron > clitic > agreement "agreement and pronominalization. . . Are fundamentally one and the same phenomenon“ (Givón 1978: 151).
Just a few examples The Basque verbal prefixes n-, g-, z- are identical to the pronouns ni ‘I’, gu ‘we’, and zu ‘you. ’ (Gavel & Henri. Lacombe 1929 -37), As early as the 19 th century, Proto Indo-European verbal endings -mi, si, -ti are considered to arise from pronouns (e. g. Bopp 1816). Hale (1973: 340): in Pama-Nyungan inflectional markers are derived from independent pronouns: “the source of pronominal clitics in Walbiri is in fact independent pronouns”. Mithun (1991): Iroquoian agreement markers derive from Proto-Iroquoian pronouns Haugen (2004: 319): Nahuatl agreement markers derive from pronouns.
Tunica prefixes: Ɂi- [1 S], Ɂu- [3 SM], pronouns: Ɂima, Ɂu'wi, wi-[2 SM], hi-/ he-[2 SF], ti- [3 SF] ma', hɛ'ma, ti'hči (Haas 1946: 346 -7) Donohue (2005): Palu’e, a Malayo-Polynesian language of Indonesia: no agreement but the first person aku can be cliticized. (1) ‘úwa > -‘ú Ute demonstrative pronoun article/agreement invis-animate (Givón 2011) (2) Shi diné bizaad yíní-sh-ta' Navajo I Navajo language 3 -1 -study ‘As for me, I am studying Navajo. ’
Because of the cycle: pronominal stages Japanese, Mauwake, Urdu/Hindi: full pronoun (1) watashi-wa kuruma-o unten-suru kara. I-TOP car-ACC drive-NONPST PRT ‘I will drive the car'. (Yoko Matsuzaki p. c. ) (2) Ni fain=ke ekap-eka! 2 P this-CFoc come-IMP. 2 P `You here, come!’ (Berghäll 2010: 81) (3) ham log `we people‘ (4) mẽy or merii behn doonõ dilii mẽy rehtee hẽ I and my sister both Delhi in living are
French: Lambrecht 1981; Schwegler 1990; Fuß 2005 (1) Se je meïsme ne li di Old French If I myself not him tell `If I don’t tell him myself. ’ (Franzén 1939: 20, Cligès 993) (2) Renars respond: “Jou, je n’irai” ‘R answers “Me, I won’t go”. ’ (Coronnement Renart, A. Foulet (ed. ) 1929: 598, from Roberts 1993: 112)
Foulet (1961: 330): all personal pronouns can be separated from the verb in Old French. Compare Modern French: (3)a. *Je heureusement ai vu ça I probably have seen that `I’ve probably seen that. ’ b. Kurt, heureusement, a fait beaucoup d'autres choses. Kurt fortunately has done many other things `Fortunately, Kurt did many other things’ (google search of French websites) (4) Où vas-tu Standard French where go-2 S (5) tu vas où Colloquial French 2 S go where ‘Where are you going? '
Loss of pre-verbal objects and ne (6) j'ai pas encore démontré ça I-have NEGyet proven that ‘I haven't yet proven that. ’ Code-switching: (7) nta tu vas travailler Arabic-French you go work ‘You go to work. ’ (from Bentahila and Davies 1983: 313)
Subject Cycle Full phrase move to Spec TP > Head moves to T Reanalysis as to what the head is: pronoun or agreement. Once the pronoun is agreement, a new pro/nonominal is needed.
As tree TP T’ T VP DP D a b V’ V DP
with features Adjunct/Argument > emphatic/noun [semantic] > > Specifier > full pronoun [i-phi] Head weak/clitic [u-1/2] [i-3] affix agreement [u-phi] [u-#] See (3) and (4) on handout for more detail.
English: start? ? (a) Modification, (b) coordination, (c) position, (d) doubling, (e) loss of V-movement, (f) Code switching Coordination (and Case) (1) Me and Kitty were to spend the day. (2) %while he and she went across the hall. Position (3) She’s very good, though I perhaps I shouldn’t say so. (4) You maybe you've done it but have forgotten.
Doubling and cliticization (1) (2) (3) (4) Me, I've tucking had it with the small place. (BNC H 0 M 1608) Me, I think I'd like a change. (COHA 2001. fiction) %Him/Her, s/he shouldn’t do that (not attested in COCA or BNC; once in COHA) What I'm gonna do? `What am I going to do' CSE-FAC: uncliticized I 2037 you 1176 he 128 cliticized 685 (=25%) 162 (=12. 1%) 19 (=12. 9%) total 2722 1338 147
Problem in English: why so slow!
Copula cycle, sources Verbs Demonstratives = Reanalysis of Prepositions/adverbs location, identity, and aspect features English flavors: be, become, go, fall, turn, seem, appear, stay, and remain. semantic features be remain, stay seem, appear [location] [duration] [visible] [equal]
Indo-European > English No difference in NP, PP predicate (or but inside the paradigm: *es (< Dem) *bheu `grow’ > Latin fui > Old English `be, become’ *wes `remain, dwell’ *sta > estar (Spanish), tha (Hindi), tá (Irish) *wert ‘turn’ > vartate (Sanskrit), wairþan (Gothic), and weorðan (OE)
Old Egyptian (1) > Middle (2) (1) (2) (3) a. rmt p-n man MS-PROX `this man. ’ b. ntr-w jp-w god-P MP-DIST `those gods. ’ tmj-t pw jmn-t city-F be west-F `The West is a city. ’ (Loprieno 1995; 2001) p -w > pw [i-3 MS] [distal] [loc] [u-phi]
Demonstrative and adverbial source of copulas (1) a. Mi da i tatá Saramaccan I am your father ‘I am your father. ’ (Mc. Whorter 1997: 87) b. Hεn dà dí Gaamá he is the chief ‘He's the chief. ’ (Mc. Whorter 1997: 98) (2) Dí wómi dε a wósu the woman is at house `The woman is at home. ’ (Mc. Whorter 1997: 88)
Identification/classification vs location Saramaccan equative – identificational da class membership da/dɛ locative dɛ (Mc. Whorter 2005: 117 -8; 171) Nigerian. Pidgin be/na (Mazzoli 2013: 91) - de
Structurally (see (6) on HO) TP. T’ T VP DP D that V V’ DP
CP Cycle Skipped in the interest of time but see: http: //www. public. asu. edu/~gelderen/Oslo-CP. ppt and Handout
The various cycles in terms of features The cycle of agreement noun > emphatic > pronoun > agreement > [sem] [i-phi]/[u-phi] 0 The cycles of negation Adjunct/Argument Specifier Head (of Neg. P) affix semantic > [i-NEG]> [u-NEG] > -Modal Cycle Verb > [volition, expectation, future] AUX [future]
Greenberg’s Demonstrative Cycle and additions Demonstrative [i-phi]/ [loc] article [u-phi] Dem C copula [i-phi] [u/i-T] [u-phi] [loc] Also: degree adverb and tense marker (Tibeto. Burman) and noun class marker.
Where do features come from? Chomsky (1965: 142): “semantic features. . . too, are presumably drawn from a universal ‘alphabet’ but little is known about this today and nothing has been said about it here. ” Ev. G: If a language has nouns with semantic phi-features, the learner will be able to hypothesize uninterpretable features on another F (and will be able to bundle them there).
How many? Cinque and Rizzi (2008): the number of functional categories is 32 in Cinque (1999: 130) and around 40 in Kayne (2005). Cinque and Rizzi, using Heine & Kuteva’s 2002 work, come up with 400. Benincà & Munaro (2010: 6 -7) note that syntax has reached the detail of phonological features. Pinker (1989/2013: 244 -5) has 30 for verb semantics.
Innate semantic shapes negatives real-unreal +/-individuated duration vs acquired interpretable grammatical number negation `if’ irrealis mass-count progressive
Explanations of the Cycle Recent shift towards third factors and parametric features: Minimize structure and movement. This can be seen in terms of Feature Economy: All change is in the lexicon: sem>i-F>u-F Why? – Maximize syntax? – Keep merge going? – Lighter?
Acquisition, Sign Language, . . . Unidirectional change in sign language e. g. Aronoff et al; Fisher & Gough; Pfau & Steinbach: V>ASP, N > AGR, and L 1 Acquisition e. g. Brown (1973); Josefsson & Håkansson (2000) Interlanguage: debate as to features Lardiere (2007), Hawkins (2005), Tsimpli et al (2004) Pre-human features: place, duration, negation. . .
Conclusions Generative/Formal Linguistics and Historical Linguistics provide insights to each other Unidirectional change provides a window on the language faculty We looked at four cycles: relevant to features and economy Role of UG determines what changes: PS rules > parameters > features More work: features!
New directions with cycles 25 -26 April 2014 Linguistic Cycle Workshop II at ASU Thank you!