Verb classifiers in East Asia
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.
Published online: 14 November 2014
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Cited by 2 other publications
Dickey, Stephen M. & Laura A. Janda
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