Jens Hopperdietzel at LEL Seminar

Posted on March 7, 2022 by

This week’s LEL seminar will feature our very own Jens Hopperdietzel, who will present on “Manner/result polysemy in Daakaka” (see below for an abstract). The talk will take place on Tuesday 8th March at 4pm in Samuel Alexander. There is also an option of following it remotely via zoom

Manner/result polysemy in Daakaka:  

Complex verbal paradigms and the distribution of root meaning 

Jens Hopperdietzel (University of Manchester)

In the endangered language Daakaka (Oceanic, Austronesian), a group of transitive verbs like tiwye is polysemous in lexicalizing either a manner or a result meaning component: In its manner variant, the verb denotes the manner of action without entailing any result state (~prototypical ‘breaking’ action), whereas in its result variant, the verb denotes the result state of an underspecified action (~break; cf. Levin & Rappaport Hovav 2013 on English cut). In this talk, I demonstrate that the respective interpretation as either manner or result verbs is determined by the morphosyntactic context in which the root appears. Adopting a configurational approach, I propose that such meaning is determined by the relative position of a-categorial roots in the context of an eventive verbalizer v (via contextual allosemy; cf. Harley 2014, Levinson 2010): If roots merge as event modifiers, they get a manner interpretation; if they merge as event arguments (i.e. complements), they get a result interpretation (cf. Folli & Harley 2020, Alexiadou et al. 2015, Mateu & Acedo-Matellan 2012). Independent support for this analysis comes from (suppletive) forms in the paradigm of polysemous verbs in Daakaka, which align with the respective semantic interpretation. 

Featured photo is from Jens’s fieldwork

Posted in: LEL events, semantics