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Jan Rijkhoff

Flexible Word Classes: Typological studies of underspecified parts of speech

Research output: Book/anthology/dissertation/reportAnthologyResearchpeer-review

  • Jan Rijkhoff (Editor)
  • Eva van Lier, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

• First major publication on the phenomenon
• Offers cross-linguistic, descriptive, and diverse theoretical approaches
• Includes analysis of data from different language families and from lesser studied languages

This book is the first major cross-linguistic study of 'flexible words', i.e. words that cannot be classified in terms of the traditional lexical categories Verb, Noun, Adjective or Adverb. Flexible words can - without special morphosyntactic marking - serve in functions for which other languages must employ members of two or more of the four traditional, 'specialised' word classes. Thus, flexible words are underspecified for communicative functions like 'predicating' (verbal function), 'referring' (nominal function) or 'modifying' (a function typically associated with adjectives and e.g. manner adverbs).

Even though linguists have been aware of flexible world classes for more than a century, the phenomenon has not played a role in the development of linguistic typology or modern grammatical theory. The current volume aims to address this gap by offering detailed studies on flexible word classes, investigating their properties and what it means for the grammar of a language to have such a word class. It includes new cross-linguistic studies of word class systems as well as original descriptive and theoretical contributions from authors with an expert knowledge of languages that have played - or should play - a role in the debate about flexible word classes, including Kharia, Riau Indonesian, Santali, Sri Lanka Malay, Lushootseed, Gooniyandi, and Late Archaic Chinese.

Readership: Linguists and students of linguistics and cognitive sciences, anthropologists, philosophers

Original languageEnglish
Place of publicationOxford and New York
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages368
ISBN (Print)ISBN10: 0199668442, ISBN13: 9780199668441
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2013

Bibliographical note

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013.
DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199668441.001.0001

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