We investigate the linguistic phenomenon of transcategorization, that is, the categorial shift of a lexical item with no superficial marking, resulting from its employment in a new (morpho)syntactic environment. Our overall aim is to contribute to the description of transcategorization processes from a typological perspective and to highlight their synchronic consequences on the structure of the lexicon. We analyse paradigmatic instances of transcategorization from typologically different languages and discuss the notion of transcategorization with reference to related notions such as conversion, precategoriality, flexibility and polifunctionality. We argue that transcategorization, understood as a diachronic shift from a source to a target category, is more characteristic of languages with clear-cut parts-of-speech distinctions, such as fusional languages. By contrast, isolating languages, where lexical categories are not clearly marked formally, are better characterized as languages with precategorial lexemes. Our main goal is to stress the role that transcategorization plays in shaping the parts-of-speech systems of languages and to highlight its relevance in parts-of-speech theories and models.

On Parts-of-speech Transcategorizations

JEZEK, ELISABETTA;Ramat, Paolo
2009

Abstract

We investigate the linguistic phenomenon of transcategorization, that is, the categorial shift of a lexical item with no superficial marking, resulting from its employment in a new (morpho)syntactic environment. Our overall aim is to contribute to the description of transcategorization processes from a typological perspective and to highlight their synchronic consequences on the structure of the lexicon. We analyse paradigmatic instances of transcategorization from typologically different languages and discuss the notion of transcategorization with reference to related notions such as conversion, precategoriality, flexibility and polifunctionality. We argue that transcategorization, understood as a diachronic shift from a source to a target category, is more characteristic of languages with clear-cut parts-of-speech distinctions, such as fusional languages. By contrast, isolating languages, where lexical categories are not clearly marked formally, are better characterized as languages with precategorial lexemes. Our main goal is to stress the role that transcategorization plays in shaping the parts-of-speech systems of languages and to highlight its relevance in parts-of-speech theories and models.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11571/109633
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