Chapter published in:Questioning Theoretical Primitives in Linguistic Inquiry: Papers in honor of Ricardo Otheguy
Edited by Naomi Shin and Daniel Erker
[Studies in Functional and Structural Linguistics 76] 2018
► pp. 91–132
The justification of grammatical categories
What is the theoretical justification for positing such constructs as conjugation classes, declension classes, parts of speech, grammatical gender, and agreement rules? This paper argues that no grammatical category or construct should be taken as an a priori given; each must be justified by the demonstration that it solves a distributional problem. This is the core analytical principle upon which Columbia School linguistics rests, and it is responsible for much that is innovative in Ricardo Otheguy’s grammatical and sociolinguistic research. The novel analytical consequences of this principle will be illustrated by applying it to the distributional problem of the different co-occurrence patterning of such apparent synonyms as blanca and blanco in Spanish.
Keywords: Columbia School linguistics, grammatical categories, parts of speech, gender classes, Spanish gender, agreement rules, variation
- Part I
- Rethinking the foundations of linguistics
- The theory of the sentence
- The pre-theoretical problem: The acoustic asymmetry of vocal sound
- The theory-defined problem: The distribution of signals
- Description and explanation in linguistic analysis
- Part II
- First example: Conjugation classes in Spanish
- Second example: Declension classes in Latin
- Third example: Nouns and verbs
- Nouns and verbs as semantic categories
- Fourth example: gender classes
- The analysis of Otheguy and Stern (2000)
- Gender classes in Spanish
- The need to posit a communicative strategy
- Strategy or rule?
- The need to posit a second communicative strategy
- Hypotheses about mental grammar
- Analytical indeterminacy
- The puzzle of grammatical gender for a functionalist
- The unification of otheguy’s two strands of research
Published online: 06 December 2018
Diver, W., & Davis, J.
Diver, W., Davis, J., & Reid, W.
García, E., & Otheguy, R.
Goldberg, B. S.
Otheguy, R., & Lapidus, N.
(2005) Matización de la teoría de la simplificación en las lenguas en contacto: El concepto de la adaptación en el español de Nueva York. In L. López & M. Lacorte (Eds.), Contactos y contextos lingüísticos: El español en Estados Unidos y en contacto con otras lenguas (pp. 143–160). Madrid & Frankfurt: Editorial Iberoamericana/Vervuert Verlag.
Otheguy, R., & Stern, N.
Otheguy, R., & Zentella, A. C.
Cited by 2 other publications
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 01 april 2022. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.