Stolz, Christel & Stolz, Thomas (Ed.): From Africa via the Americas to Iceland


Stolz, Christel & Stolz, Thomas (Ed.): From Africa via the Americas to Iceland

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Contents
CHRISTEL STOLZ & THOMAS STOLZ: Preface
JULIA NINTEMANN: A comparative analysis of forms and functions of reduplication in Kenyan languages. . 1
MAJA ROBBERS: Total, partial, neither or both? A comparative study of reduplication in the languages of North and CentralAmerica. .95
JULIAN ANDREJ ROTT: Germanic Psych Processing.Evidence for the status of dative Experiencers in Icelandicand German. .215

 

This volume contains the revised versions of three linguistic MA-theses

Two of the theses tie up very closely with the research on reduplicative constructions which the members of the research group “Sprachkontaktund Sprachvergleich”/“Language contact and language comparison” of the Linguistics Department at the University of Bremen have been conducting
ever since the beginning of this millennium. In this way, the contributions by JULIA NINTEMANN and MAJA ROBBERS can be considered to continue the local tradition of cross-linguistic studies on reduplication by way of providing fresh data from languages and areas which hitherto have not received sufficient attention by students of reduplication. The results of the MA-theses are suggestive of the need of further fine-grained areal-linguistically inspired studies to check empirically whether or not extant hypotheses about the nature, typology and distribution of reduplicative constructions are water-tight.

JULIA NINTEMANN investigates the similarities and dissimilarities of reduplication in twenty genetically diverse languages of Kenya. She argues that there is a surprisingly high degree of structural and functional diversity irrespective of the age-long contact among the languages of this area. Among the insights she has gained I would like to mention the existence of languages which give evidence exclusively to partial reduplication. Thus, a commonly held belief according to which the presence of partial reduplication in a given language implies the presence of total reduplication is seriously challenged.

Similarly MAJA ROBBERS demonstrates on the basis of her much larger sample of North American and Mesoamerican Indian languages that the supposed dependence of partial reduplication on total reduplication cannot be upheld as is since many of her sample languages lack any evidence
of total reduplication whereas they attest partial reduplication. Furthermore the author proves that in several cases the classification of certain phenomena as instances of total reduplication is doubtful because we are facing disyllabic reduplication instead which yields superficially different
outputs for monosyllabic and disyllabic stems on the one hand and polysyllabicstems on the other hand. This problem is also touched upon inJULIA NINTEMANN’s thesis

The topic of JULIAN A. ROTT’s MA-thesis is completely different from that of his above fellow-students. The author addresses the issue of the psycho-linguistics of case-marking and semantic roles in modern Icelandic (as compared to German). Methodologically the research is indebted to the approach defended by ELISABETH VERHOEVEN (Humboldt-University Berlin) with whom JULIAN A. ROTT studied when she was still teaching in Bremen. Since Icelandic has been in the focus of several linguistic projects of the Bremen linguistics team, this MA-thesis falls square with the local traditions as well. The data-collection required extended fieldwork in Iceland with native speakers who participated in sophisticatedpsycho-linguistic experiments. The results of the research suggest that thesimilarities of the case-systems of the two Germanic languages notwithstanding,there is evidence of differences too in the sense that the recognition of the semantic role of certain NP-types is not the same for speakersof German and speakers of Icelandic.

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