Impersonal Constructions

A cross-linguistic perspective

Andrej L. Malchukov | Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Institute for Linguistic Studies, St. Petersburg & Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz
Anna Siewierska | University of Lancaster
ISBN 9789027205919 | EUR 105.00 | USD 158.00
ISBN 9789027287168 | EUR 105.00 | USD 158.00
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This volume offers a much needed typological perspective on impersonal constructions, which are here viewed broadly as constructions lacking a referential subject. The contributions to this volume deal with all types of impersonality, namely constructions featuring nonagentive subjects, including those with experiential predicates (A-impersonals), presentational constructions with a notional subject deficient in topicality (T-impersonals), and constructions with a notional subject lacking in referential properties (R-impersonals), i.e. both meteo-constructions and man-constructions. The typological discussion benefits from a good coverage of impersonality in European languages, but also includes considerations of several African, American, South-East Asian, Australian, and Oceanic languages. The variation in the cross-linguistic realization of impersonality and the diachronic pathways leading to and from impersonality documented in this volume point to a novel perspective on impersonals as transitional structures or an intermediate stage of a more basic diachronic change be it from transitive to intransitive, or from active to passive, or participant-to event-centered construction.
[Studies in Language Companion Series, 124] 2011.  ix, 641 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
“The book is undoubtedly a welcome and useful contribution to language typology. Impersonal constructions have not been subject to a detailed and comprehensive cross-linguistic analysis before, and this volume successfully fills this gap. The editors can be praised for having been able to establish a good balance between descriptive and theoretical studies, as well as between synchronic and diachronic perspectives. The cross-linguistic coverage of the volume is almost comprehensive, with a slight bias towards Africa and Eurasia and a regrettable lack of Papuan and South and Meso American languages. Inclusion of several papers dealing with whole language families or areas instead of individual languages, thus addressing issues of intra-genetic and areal typology, is also an example to be followed.”
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Main BIC Subject

CFK: Grammar, syntax

Main BISAC Subject

LAN009000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
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U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2011000415 | Marc record