Chapter published in:Typological Hierarchies in Synchrony and Diachrony
Edited by Sonia Cristofaro and Fernando Zúñiga
[Typological Studies in Language 121] 2018
► pp. 377–402
Morphosyntactic coding of proper names and its implications for the Animacy Hierarchy
The Animacy Hierarchy (AH) is an important construct employed for the description and explanation of variation and splits in case marking and agreement in various grammatical domains. The AH is a scale that combines person, definiteness and semantic animacy and is used to state clear preferences of certain morphosyntactic coding types over others. One assumption of the AH is that proper names (PNs) occupy an intermediate place between personal pronouns and common nouns. Despite the large body of research since its first extensive formulation in Silverstein (1976), it is astonishing that there has been almost no empirical evidence published for this claim. Since the AH has been formulated mostly on the basis of case marking and agreement phenomena in languages with split ergativity or hierarchical alignment, we compiled a sample of more than 30 such languages in order to find data on the morphosyntactic coding of PNs. While there are only a very few instances that confirm the claim, there are more instances that contradict it. We concluded that PNs should be removed from the AH, since their assumed position has no predictive value for typological generalizations.
Published online: 26 July 2018
Allen, Barbara J. and Frantz, Donald G.
Breen, John. G.
Caughley, Ross Charles
Cook, Clare & Mühlbauer, Jeff
Dalrymple, Mary & Irina Nikolaeva
Frantz, Donald G.
Hale, Kenneth L.
Hercus, Luise A.
Heidenkummer, Alexandra and Helmbrecht, Johannes
Kepping, K. B.
Lyon, Don D.
2010 A Mini-Grammar of Nêhiyawêwin (Plains Cree). Ms. http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~muehlbau/files/MiniGrammar.pdf (21 June 2013).
Nedjalkov, Vladimir P.
Sharpe, Margaret C.
Smith-Stark, Thomas Cedric
1974 The plurality split. In Papers from the Tenth Regional Meeting, Chicago Linguistic Society, April 19–21 1974, Michael W. La Galy, Robert Allen Fox & Anthony Bruck (eds), 657–671. Chicago IL: Chicago Linguistic Society.
Tiffou, Etienne & Morin, Ives-Charles
1989 Mparntwe Arrernte (Aranda): Studies in the Structure Semantics of Grammar. PhD dissertation, Australian National University. http://de.scribd.com/doc/17080036/arrerntewilkins1989 (21 June 2013).
Wolfart, Hans Christoph
Wurm, Stephen Adolphe
1977 Hierarchies of person. In Papers from the Thirteenth Regional Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society, Woodford A. Beach, Samuel E. Fox & Shulamith Philosoph (eds), 712–733. Chicago IL: Chicago Linguistic Society.