Indefinite Pronouns

Paperback | December 1, 2000

byMartin Haspelmath

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Most of the world's languages have indefinite pronouns, that is, expressions such as 'someone', 'anything', and 'nowhere'. Martin Haspelmath presents the first comprehensive and encyclopaedic investigation of indefinite pronouns in the languages of the world, mapping out the range of variationin their functional and formal properties. He shows that cross-linguistic diversity is severely constrained by a set of implicational universals and by a number of unrestricted universals.The author treats his subject matter broadly within the Humboldt-Greenberg tradition of language typology, but also considers the contribution of other theoretical approaches to an understanding of the functional and formal properties of indefinite pronouns. The book is organized into fourlogically ordered steps: selection of a part of grammar-indefinite pronouns-that can be identified across languages by formal and functional criteria; investigation of the properties of indefinite pronouns in a world-wide sample of forty languages; formulation of generalizations that emerge from thedata, summarized in the form of an implicational map; and theoretically-informed explanations of the generalizations, which go beyond system-internal statements, appealing to cognitive semantics, functional pressures, and universals of language change (especially grammaticalization).

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Most of the world's languages have indefinite pronouns, that is, expressions such as 'someone', 'anything', and 'nowhere'. Martin Haspelmath presents the first comprehensive and encyclopaedic investigation of indefinite pronouns in the languages of the world, mapping out the range of variationin their functional and formal properties. ...

Martin Haspelmath is a member of the scientific staff at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Liepzig. Previous positions have included Wissenschaftlicher Assistent in the Department of English at the Free University of Berlin, and Programme Assistant to the ESF-sponsored Programme in Language Typology (EUROTYP). ...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:380 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.79 inPublished:December 1, 2000Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019829963X

ISBN - 13:9780198299639

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Table of Contents

1. Overview2. A Typological Perspective on Indefinite Pronouns3. Formal and Functional Types of Indefinite Pronoun4. An Implicational Map for Indefinite Pronoun Functions5. Theoretical Approaches to the Functions of Indefinite Pronouns6. The Grammaticalization of Indefinite Pronouns7. Further Sources of Indefinite Pronouns8. Negative Indefinite Pronouns9. ConclusionsAppendix A. The Data of the 40-Language SampleAppendix B. The Data of the 100-Language Sample

Editorial Reviews

`The first book in a new series which aims to provide a functional-typological perspective to linguistic problems that are of both typological and formal importance. One couldn't wish for a better first book to inaugurate the series... highly recommended, not only to field workers... but alsoto any linguist who wants to see a textbook example of a linguistic analysis... adds significantly to our understanding of negative indefinites. Anyone working on two or more closely related languages should be required to read this book.'Ferdinand de Haan, Notes on Linguistics 2.2