Partitives A workshop at SLE 43

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Transcript Partitives A workshop at SLE 43

A workshop at SLE 43
Silvia Luraghi
University of Pavia
Tuomas Huumo
University of Tartu
What do we understand as
Partitive and pseudo partitive constructions,
as in (1) and (2), are NOT the Workshop’s
• (1a) a cup of the coffee
• (1b) a bunch of your flowers
• (2a) a cup of coffee
• (2b) a bunch of flowers
Partitives at the Workshop
(1) On vypi-l cha-ya
/ cha-yu
He drink-PST tea-Sg.Gen tea-PART
“He drank (some) tea” (Russian)
(2) Amaiak ez du goxoki-rik jan
Amaia.erg not aux candy-part eat
“Amaia has not eaten any candy” (Basque)
(3) Sono arrivati degli ospiti americani
are arrived guests American
“(Some) American guests have come” (Italian)
Frequently confused
Heine and Kuteva, World Lexicon of Grammaticalization, 2004: 32-33
(a) Gib mir ein bischen vom Kase!
give me a bit from:the cheese
Give me a bit of the cheese!’ (German)
(b) Elmeri loys- i mansiko- i- ta.
Elmer find-3sg.past strawberry-pl-partv
‘Elmer found strawberries.’ (Finnish)
The authors remark:
“Note, however, that “partitive” does not appear to be a
unified notion (Martin Haspelmath, personal communication).”
Aims of the workshop
• Bring together researchers working with
partitives in individual languages or
• Open new cross-linguistic / typological
views and research questions on
• Explicate semantic and grammatical
functions of partitives in different
Distribution and Morphological
types of partitives
• ‘Dedicated’ partitive case: Baltic Finnic,
Basque, Oceanian, Russian (to some extent)
• Cases that have some partitive-like functions:
Hungarian (ablative); most Indo-European
languages (genitive)
• Languages with partitive articles: French,
• Other types and/or other languages?
Grammatical functions of partitives
• Object-marking, subject-marking,
adverbial-marking partitives.
• Partitives are typically not exclusive
markers of any particular grammatical
function (subject, object)
• They participate in complementary
distribution with other cases marking NPs
with this function.
• Finnish, the object, the (existential)
subject, the predicate nominal and some
adverbials can all be marked with the
partitive case (as an alternative to other
cases such as the nominative and the
• In none of these functions, however, is the
partitive case the only available marker.
Thus ‘partitive’ does NOT conform to current definitions of
“marking dependent nouns for the type of
relationship they bear to their heads” (Blake2001:
(Romance partitive articles are never considered
case markers!)
Semantic correlates of partitives
• Moravcsik (1978): Typical semantic
correlates of partitives include
– Definiteness vs. indefiniteness;
– The extent to which the object is involved in
the event;
– The (in)completedness of the event;
– Affirmation vs. negation.
• A general feature of partitives thus seems
to be “indeterminacy” (in various
– indefiniteness,
– incompleteness,
– unboundedness,
– non-occurrence or non-existence (in
Research questions
• The distribution of partitives in different
syntactic positions (objects, subjects, other
rols) and across constructions;
• Partitives as determiners;
• Types of verbs with which partitive
subjects (or objects) can occur;
• The diachrony of partitives: their sources
and relations with other cases;
• Partitives as non-canonical grammatical
• Grammaticalization of partitives;
• Discourse functions of partitives;
• Partitives of aspect and quantification;
“nominal aspect”.
Presentations at the workshop
Partitives and negation, a cross-linguistic
Matti Miestamo - Helsinki Collegium for
Advanced Studies
The connection between partitive marking and
negation has been attributed to different
semantic and pragmatic factors, including aspect
and referentiality/specificity. The typological
evidence shows that aspect does not play a role,
but referentiality and specificity are important
Partitives stretching borders: How well do
Finnish and Estonian partitive subjects serve
as a criterion for the existential clause?
Tuomas Huumo and Liina Lindström - University
of Tartu
This paper discusses the Finnish and Estonian
partitive subject from a contrastive viewpoint.
The emphasis is on the distribution of the
partitive and the nominative in existential
subjects, and on problems related with the use of
the partitive as a defining criterion for the
existential sentence, in particular in negated
The Finnish Partitive revisited : a discoursecognitive approach, in comparison with
some other Finno-Ugric and Indo-European
M. M.Jocelyne Fernandez-Vest - C.N.R.S.LACITO, Universités Paris 3 & Paris 4
The paper aims at classifying crosslinguistically
the equivalents and/or the substitutes of the
Finnish partitive. This is intended as a
contribution to a typological theoretizing of
“Partitive in natural discourse”.
Partitive semantics and semantic
partitives in the Uralic languages
Anne Tamm – Università di Firenze and
Research Institute of Linguistics, Budapest
This contribution examines on
the example of Hungarian and more rare
Uralic languages what the semantic map
of the partitive meaning looks like, and
how the partitive meaning is expressed
How close are the Estonian partitive subjects to
partitive objects?
Helena Metslang (University of Tartu - Tallinn University).
This talk takes a typological approach to differential
subject and object marking in Estonian. It compares the
phenomena and rules triggering partitive subject marking
with the ones triggering partitive object marking (clause
type, verb type, meaning of the situation, semantics of the
referent of the NP, pragmatic factors) in different clause
types. The talk discusses whether the nature of Estonian
subject marking can be accounted for in terms of split-S
system and will place the Estonian data in the typological
About the history of the Basque
Borja Ariztimuño López - University of the
Basque Country (UPV/EHU)
This paper deals with the Basque partitive
(-(r)ik) from a diachronic perspective. It
focuses on the evolution of its different
uses and the relationship between this
affix and some other case-inflection and
aims to elucidate the partitive’s protoBasque source and its development.
The Basque partitive marker is interpreted
Urtzi Etxeberria, IKER/CNRS
The Basque partitive marker [-(r)ik] can only be attached to
transitive objects and to intransitive subjects (de Rijk 1972,
Ortiz de Urbina 1989) and requires licensing by some
polarity element. Its meaning denotes an unspecificied
quantity of whatever the NP denotes. When using the
partitive, the speaker doesn’t care about whether the set
denoted by the NP consists of one, five, ten, or a thousand
elements. In other words, the speaker does not have a
singularity or a plurality in mind. This, the partitive marker
can be argued to be the negative form of the existential
interpretation (in absolutive case) of the Basque definite
article (D) [-a(k)].
Russian Partitive and the Verb Aspect.
Katia Paykin (Université Lille 3).
In most cases, the Russian partitive genitive
competes with the accusative, but it can also
appear on subjects of unaccusative verbs used
in their impersonal form, thus competing with the
nominative.We argue that the opposition
between the partitive and the accusative or the
nominative does not coincide with the opposition
between definite and indefinite NPs, since the
accusative and the nominative can give rise to
both interpretations. The genitive NP
emphasises quantity, while the accusative and
the nominative NP denote a class.
Russian partitive over time: a corpus study
Michael Daniel, Nina Dobsrushina
This research will focus on residual second
genitive (partitive) and its dynamics in the
Russian texts. It is a micro-historical research
in terms of Plungian (2002) and is based on
considering second genitive distribution in the
Russian National Corpus. The study considers
the distribution of the three competing forms
(accusative / genitive / second genitive) for
various nouns and in different constructions
(direct object vs. measure constructions vs.
etc), tracing where the form is being preserved
and where it is being lost.
Partitives and diminutives in Russian
Evgenia Chernigovskaya - Moscow State University
The paper discusses differences in the use of partitive
forms of diminutives vs. other nouns, after which the
following questions will be addressed:
1) to perform a systematic check of the diminutive forms
against the general “partitive” contexts and to compare
the results and the level of acceptability by native
speakers (questionnaire).
2) To explain the fact that in case of the diminutive forms,
the preference for partitive choices is more marked.
The analysis to be proposed is based on the assumption
that both partitives and diminutives have overlapping
quantitative semantics, which is responsible for the
resulting proximity .
Partitive Subjects and Objects in IndoIranian and Greek
Eystein Dahl - University of Bergen
This paper discusses the use of the
(partitive) genitive as a subject and object
marker in Vedic, Avestan and Homeric
Greek and aims at a unified account of the
semantic and pragmatic properties of
partitive subjects and objects in IndoIranian and Greek.
The Ancient Greek partitive genitive in
typological perspective.
Conti, Luz & Luraghi Silvia
(Universidad Autonoma de Madrid - Università di Pavia).
As in other Indo-European, the genitive is used as a partitive in Ancient
Greek. Possible usages include direct object, second argument of
intransitive verbs, subject, time and space adverbial, complement of
adposition. In our paper we will adress the following issues:
• How does the Ancient Greek partitive genitive relate to the partitive
genitive in other IE languages (types of usage; degrees of
• How does it compare with partitives across languages (restrictions
on occurrence; semantic contribution);
• What reasons prevented its further extension.
The semantics of and relation between the
partitive genitive subject constructions in
ancient Indo-European languages and Baltic,
Ilja A. Seržant - University of Bergen
The partitive genitive is an inherited category in
Baltic (and Slavic) languages and it is not the
result of the language contact with Balto-Finnic
languages, as it is usually assumed. Alongside
the core partitive semantics, the partitive genitive
could be also employed as an indefiniteness
The grammaticalization of the prepositional
partitive in Romance
Béatrice Lamiroy- University of Leuven, Anne
Carlier - University of Valenciennes
The paper focuses on stages of the
grammaticalization from partitive construction to
article in the Romance languages, and
addresses the question whether the expression
of the partitive under the form of a prepositional
phrase rather than a case marker has an impact
on the degree of grammaticalization.
Double government in Polish: semantic and pragmatic motivation
for the use of genetivus partitivus
Elbieta Tabakowska, Jagiellonian University of Kraków
Polish does not use a separate case or a specialized case marking for
partitives; within the rich case system of contemporary Polish, the
“partitive meaning” is considered as an extension of the prototypical
meaning of the Genitive (reference-point constructions).
In my presentation, I will consider a particular instance of the use of
genetivus partitivus in contemporary Polish: following my earlier
research (Tabakowska 2001a, b and in print), I will focus upon what
Polish linguists call “double government”, i.e. the alteration between the
Accusative and the Genitive as the marker of direct object in
constructions with transitive verbs. A corpus-illustrated analysis will be
carried out to demonstrate that the opposition, which traditional Polish
linguistics often classifies as a case of free variation, is in fact clearly
motivated by semantic and pragmatic factors.