Zero Copula for Predicate Nominals

by Leon Stassen http://wals.info/feature/120

4 Responses to “Zero Copula for Predicate Nominals”

  1. Adamou Says:

    I have studied a South Slavic dialect spoken in the area of Thessaloniki in Greece which presents the possibility for a zero copula for present (copula ‘be’ is required for TMA markers) unlike the other South Slavic languages and similarly to the other Slavic languages (such as Russian). I hope that this information will interest you.
    Adamou E. 2006. Le Nashta. Description d’un parler slave de Grèce en voie de disparition. München: Lincom Europa (Languages of the World/Materials 456)
    Nashta (Slavic, Adamou 2006: 65)
    (1a)taif’a gulj’ama
    family big
    ‘The family is big.’
    (1b)gulj’ama taif’a
    big family
    ‘big family…’

  2. Henry Davis Says:

    Unfortunately, the entire Pacific NW section of this map is completely wrong. Wakashan and Salish languages, in particular, are *famous* for lacking predicative copulas (that is one of the bases of Swadesh’s notorious claim that they lack lexical category distinctions altogether). No Salish or Wakashan language has a copula in nominal predicae constructions: this includes Lilooet, Squamish and Kalispel (Salish) and Heiltsuk, Kwak’wala, and Nuuchahnulth (Wakashan). This is a pretty egregious error and should be fixed as soon as possible.

    Henry Davis

  3. Matthew Dryer Says:

    The problem raised by Henry Davis is actually more general than the Pacific Northwest. In his book Intransitive Predication, Stassen has a more fine-grained typology in which languages in the Pacific Northwest are coded as languages in which predicate nominals have verbal encoding, taking affixes that also occur on predicate verbs. His typology also distinguishes languages which do not employ copulas but where predicate nominals do not take verbal encoding, which he classifies as nominal encoding. When his more fine-grained typology was collapsed into two types for WALS, those with verbal encoding were, for complex historical reasons, classified with languages where a zero copula is impossible. This applies to all languages with verbal encoding, not just those in the Pacific Northwest. Stassen now agrees that this is very misleading and is planning on producing a version of this map in a future online WALS that employs a more fine-grained typology, in which these languages with verbal encoding will be treated as a separate type.

  4. Tabea Reiner Says:

    Just spotted a mistake: example (6) unnaehee hungak presidde kene-k is not from p. 145 in Gair 1970 but from p. 45.

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