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Pluralia tantum nouns in the Slavonic languages

Corbett, Greville G. (2018) Pluralia tantum nouns in the Slavonic languages In: XVI International Congress of Slavists, 20-27 Aug 2018, Belgrade, Serbia.

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Abstract

Imenice pluralia tantum su fascinantna pojava, za koju se slavisti interesuju još od Braunove teze (1930), pa i ranije. Za to postoji nekoliko razloga. Prvo, mnoge od ovih imenica su defektne jer, iako su brojive, nemaju jedninu. Drugo, dok defektne imenice obično uključuju sporadične praznine u promeni (kao što je to, po jezičkom osećanju mnogih govornika, slučaj sa genitivom množine ruske imenice *mečt), klase imenica pluralia tantum često su – bar delimično – semantički predvidljive (tj. ove imenice su podložne „uopštavanjima srednje veličine”, Koenig 1999). Međutim, ova predvidljivost je ograničena: up. u ruskom imenicu binokl ‘dvogled’, koja ima standardnu promenu, sa imenicom sani ‘sanke’, koja je imenica plurale tantum. Treće, da bi se mogle upotrebiti kao brojive, imenice pluralia tantum često zahtevaju neko dodatno sredstvo, npr. zbirne brojeve. I u opštoj lingvistici postoji stalno interesovanje za ove imenice (npr. Visnievski 2009). Zato je glavni cilj ovog referata da pokaže poseban značaj podataka iz slovenskih jezika za opštelingvističko ispitivanje imenica pluralia tantum. Taj značaj je dvostruk. Prvo, kod nekih klasa ovih imenica se uočavaju zanimljive razlike u različitim slovenskim jezicima. I drugo, treba preispitati tvrdnju da je, iz semantičkih razloga, prirodno da se predmeti koji se javljaju u paru označavaju imenicama pluralia tantum, s obzirom da se ovakvi predmeti označavaju imenicama pluralia tantum i u jezicima koji imaju dual (kao u slovenačkom i gornjem i donjem lužičkom). Uz to, u ovim jezicima se imenice pluralia tantum mogu koristiti za jedan, dva ili više od dva referenta (kao u donjem lužičkom, Janaš 1976/1984). Dakle, ove imenice zaslužuju našu stalnu pažnju bilo da je reč o razumevanju broja u slovenskim jezicima ili o opštelingvističkim aspektima imenica pluralia tantum.

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Pluralia tantum nouns are indeed fascinating, and Slavists’ interest in them goes back to Braun’s thesis (1930) and earlier. There are several reasons for this. First, many of these nouns are defective, since they are countable yet they lack a singular. Second, while defectives typically involve sporadic gaps (as with Russian genitive plural *mečt for many speakers), sets of pluralia tantum nouns are often semantically predictable, at least in part (they are subject to ‘middle-size generalizations’, Koenig 1999). This predictability is limited, however: compare Russian binokl ‘binoculars’ (which is a normal noun) with sani ‘sleigh’ a plurale tantum noun. Third they often require some sort of repair (such as the use of collective numerals) so that they can be treated as count nouns. Pluralia tantum nouns are of continued interest in the general linguistic literature (see, for instance, Wisniewski 2009), hence it is timely to consider the particular interest and contribution of the Slavonic data, the focus of this paper. Two aspects stand out. First the Slavonic languages provide semantic classes of these nouns, which vary across the family in interesting ways. And second, the claim for the semantic naturalness of paired objects being pluralia tantum needs reassessing, given that these nouns are pluralia tantum even when the dual is available (as in Slovene and Upper and Lower Sorbian. Moreover, in these languages pluralia tantum nouns can be used for one, two, or more than two referents (as in Lower Sorbian, Janaš 1976/1984). Thus these nouns deserve our continued attention, both for Slavonic internal and for general linguistic reasons.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Conference Paper)
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of English and Languages
Authors :
NameEmailORCID
Corbett, Greville G.G.Corbett@surrey.ac.uk
Date : 20 August 2018
Funders : Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
DOI : 10.15126/00848705
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2018 The author
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 13 Jul 2018 11:14
Last Modified : 11 Dec 2018 11:24
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/848705

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