2015 – Nr. 2
CRISTINA BĂLAN, Adaptation Patterns of Western Loanwords in Japanese: Situational and
Representational Factors .........................................................................................
COSTIN-VALENTIN OANCEA, Coolness vs Geekiness: Phonological Variation in the
Speech of Romanian Adolescents ...........................................................................
FLAVIA FLOREA, L’ellipse chez quelques grammairiens de l’Antiquité .........................
SABINA POPÂRLAN, The Ergative Construction in Hindi. Relational Visualization
and Analysis ............................................................................................................
IRINA STOICA, The Imperfective Aspect in English and Romanian ................................
VLAD CUCU-OANCEA, Einige Bemerkungen zu den durch Fragmentierung entstandenen
etymologischen Dubletten .......................................................................................
MARCIN KUDŁA, On Spics, Ivans and Crappos: The Role of Language in Ethnic Otherness ...
MARCIN R. ODELSKI, Coron Gwlad Ei Mamiaith – Everyday Welsh Words and
Phrases as Ethno-Linguistic Exponents of Attachment to the Welsh Language .....
JING DENG, A Socio-Psychological Analysis of Language Memes in Chinese Blessing
Texted Messages .....................................................................................................
ANDRADA PĂRCHIŞANU, Sprachwandel im heutigen Deutsch. Kiezdeutsch als Fallstudie ....
Recenzii • Comptes rendus • Reviews ..................................................................................
Contributors ........................................................................................................................
The purpose of this paper is to explore the situational and representational factors that
contributed to the formation of adaptation patterns of Western loanwords in Japanese. In a
bilingual environment, the source of the adaptation patterns is the phonological approximation – a
mental process consisting in accurate identification of source language phoneme categories
(LaCharité and Paradis 2005, Dohlus 2005). However, bilingualism is not a wide competence in
Japanese society, which is notoriously monolingual with only modest performances in foreign
language education. The adaptation patterns are, in fact, prescribed adaptation strategies,
formulated during the last decades of 19th century and transmitted via education, textbooks and
mass-media (Irwin 2011).
Keywords: distant language contact, lexical borrowings, phonological approximation,
phonetic approximation, dictionary tradition.
1. Introduction
Western language contact in Japan exists since mid-16th century. The
most important contact languages are Portuguese and Spanish (c.1540-1636),
Dutch (1609-c.1870) and English (1853-present); other relatively minor contact
situation were those with French (c.1804-1867), German (c.1850-c.1900), and
Russian. The outcome of language contacts in Japan consists mostly in lexical
borrowings. In contemporary Japanese, borrowings continue to flow mainly
from (American) English. Despite the fact that Japanese people is
overwhelmingly monolingual and that education of English language (and other
languages too) in Japan has only modest achievements, there are strong
evidence supporting the claim that loanword adaptation in Japanese is the result
of phonological approximation (LaCharité and Paradis 2005, Dohlus 2005).
University of Bucharest, [email protected] This work was cofinanced from the
European Social Fund through Sectoral Operational Programm Human Resources
Development 2007-2013, project number POSDRU/159/1.5/S/140863, “Competitive
Researchers in Europe in the Field of Humanities and Socio-Economic Sciences. A Multiregional Research Network”.
Phonological approximation is a process carried out at the level of mental
representations and means that „the adaptation is based on identification of
phoneme categories of the source language” (Dohlus 2005:188). Apparently, we
face a paradox, since the distant language contact with English (see section 3.1)
couldn’t nurture the kind of adaptation patterns that are at work in modelling the
current phonological shape of loanwords. In this paper, I will have a look at the
adaptation patterns of Japanese loanwords and argue that they are the result of
phonological approximation (as opposed to phonetic approximation). The paper
will continue with the exploration of the sociolinguistic factors (both situational
and representational) that shaped the modern patterns of adaptation.
2. Loanword adaptation patterns are the result
of phonological approximation
Defined as the mental process by which the phoneme categories of the
source language are identified, phonological approximation in lexical borrowing
is opposed to phonetic approximation, which is driven by auditory perception.
Through phonetic approximation, an auditory sound string is mapped by the
borrowers into the sound matrix of their native language, by choosing “the
closest available phonetic category” (Peperkamp and Dupoux 2003:368, see
also Boersma and Hamann 2009, Vendelin and Pepercamp 2004). Typically,
phonological features of the source sounds are unknown to the borrower and the
result of adaptation can be very unfaithful to its input.
The foreign (Western) lexicon of Japanese is represented by both
phonological and phonetic approximation borrowings, but only the first type is
currently productive in loanword adaptation. Borrowings resulted from phonetic
approximation are scarce and often have phonological doublets. I examine the
adaptation patterns resulted from phonological and phonetic approximation at
the level of syllable structure, phonotactic constraints and segmental adaptation.
In dealing with illicit consonants clusters and codas, phonological
approximation retains all input segments and uses vowel epenthesis as syllable
repair strategy, whereas phonetic approximation prefers the deletion of
consonants that do not match the syllable matrix (see examples in (1)). Many
CV sequences banned in Japanese native lexicon are allowed to surface in
loanwords (and thus are phonemicised) as a result of phonological
approximation; on the other hand, phonetic approximation forces this kind of
input to meet the phonotactics of native phonology (see examples in (2)). At the
level of segmental adaptation, phonological approximation exhibits the
influence of donor words spelling, as in retaining some consonants that are not
justifiable phonetically or in adapting some vowels based on their spelling in
source words; the outcomes of phonetic approximation, on the other hand, does
not rely on cues other than auditory ones in mapping the input into a segmental
category available in speakers inventory (see examples in (3)).
Japanese syllable structure is severely constrained: syllables bigger than
(C)VV or (C)VC1 are not allowed, and possible codas are limited to the moraic
nasal /ɴ/ (e.g. [kaNtaN] ‘simple’) or the first half of a geminate consonant (e.g. [kip.pɯ]
‘ticket’). Japanese loan phonology resulted from phonological approximation
accommodates the illicit consonant clusters and codas, abundantly represented
in all donor languages, by using vowel epenthesis (1a-d, the adaptation variants
from the right). In contrast, phonetic approximation patterns are represented by
the deletion of the consonant that fall outside the syllable matrix (1a-d, the
adaptation variants from the left). The fact that epenthesis loans in (1a) preserve
all input consonants appearing in clusters or as syllable codas proves that the
source phonemic categories were identified by the borrower at the mental level
with little auditory input. In contemporary Japanese, the loans such as those in
(1a) are currently in use, whereas those in (1b) are obsolete:
(1) Vowel epenthesis and consonant deletion as syllable repair strategies
a. Eng. glycerine [glɪsəri:n]
b. Eng. jitterbug [dʒɪtəb q]
c. Eng. lemonade [leməneɪd] >
d. Eng. Hepburn [hepbərn]
The consonants [ʧ, ʤ, ʃ, ts, ɸ] are allophones in Japanese. Nevertheless,
in loanwords they surface in contexts that are banned by native phonology. The
input CV sequences given in (2) are accompanied by two adaptation variants: the
first one meets the phonotactic requirements of the Japanese native phonology
and is unfaithful to its input; the second, faithful adaptation variant is only found in
loanwords and represents, as claimed, an outcome of phonological approximation.
(2) Phonemicisation of consonant allophones
a. */dʒe/ > [ze]
[zentoɾɯmaN] < Eng. gentleman
[ʤesɯʧa:] < Eng. gesture
b. */ʃe/
> [se]
[seri:] < Eng. Sherry
[boɾɯʃеbiki] < Ru. bolševiki ‘Bolsheviks’
c. */ʧe/ > [se]
[seɾo] < Eng. / It. cello
[ʧesɯ] < Eng. chess
d. */tsa/ > [tsa]
[tzaitogaisɯto] < Ger. Zeitgeist ‘spirit of the time’
e. */tse/ > [ʧe]
[ʧeʧe] < Eng. tsetse
[kontseɾɯɴ] < Ger. Konzern ‘group of companies’
f. */tsi/ > [ʧi]
[ɰakɯʧiN] < Ger. Vakzin ‘vaccine’
(C)VV and (C)VC are bimoraic syllables and represent the maximum syllable weight
allowed in native Japanese. Loanword phonology complies largely with this constraint,
with few exceptions embodying a trimoraic syllable, as Eng. turn > [ta:ɴ].
g. */tso/
h. */fa/
k. */fi/
l. */fe/
m. */fo/
[tsikɯɾɯsɯ] < Ger. Zyklus ‘cycle (in music)’
[sɯkeɾɯtso] < It. scherzo
[seɾohaN] < Eng. cellophane
[emɸaʃisɯ] < Eng. emphasis
[ko:çi:] < Du. koffie ‘coffie’
[moɾɯɸiN] < Eng. morphine
[inheɾɯno] < Por. inferno ‘hell’
[kaɸeiN] < Ger. Kaffein ‘caffeine’
[ho:kɯ] < Eng. fork
[ɸoagɯɾa] < Fr. foie gras
Instances that prove influence of donor orthography on loanword
adaptation include the adaptation of words with final -ing from English.
Although the final English [ŋ] is phonetically closer to the moraic [N] in
Japanese (as in the auditory variant in (3a) at the right), these words are adapted
by retaining all orthographically available consonants:
(3) Orthography influenced consonant adaptation
a. Eng. pudding [pʊdɪŋ]
> [pɯddiŋgɯ]
b. Eng. smoking [sməʊkɪŋ]
> [sɯmokkiŋgɯ]
c. Eng. apartheid [əˈpɑ:tɑɪt] > [apaɾɯtoheido]
The patterns of vowel adaptation are constrained by a comparatively
limited vowel inventory of Japanese, which contains only five vowels – /a i ɯ e
o/. The richer vowel inventories of donor languages must be mapped, therefore,
into the available vowels of Japanese. Mostly, they are mapped along the
distinctive features [±high, ±back, ±round], but there are some vowels whose
adaptation is not that straightforward. A case at hand is that of the reduced
vowels from English. In examples from (4a), the reduced vowels are adapted, as
a result of phonetic approximation, as the high back unrounded vowel [ɯ],
which phonetically is closer its input correspondent (it is more central than the
cardinal vowel [u], has a shorter duration and is most prone to devoicing
(Kubozono 2001)). In (4b), the Japanese correspondents to English reduced
vowels represent copies of source vowel spelling: for bilingual borrowers that
make use of phonological approximation, the donor words spelling offers cues
that play a major role in identifying the source phoneme categories.
(4) Adaptation of English reduced vowels: phonetic approximation vs. influence of
donor word spelling
a. Eng. token [təʊkən] > [to:kɯN]
Eng. lesson [lesn̩]
> [ressɯN]
b. Eng. bacon [beɪkən] > [be:koN]
Eng. ticket [tɪkɪt]
> [ʧiketto]
3. The phonological adaptation of loanwords:
a sociolinguistic view
The examples from the previous section show that, in every major
linguistic domain, the adaptation takes place through phonological approximation
or phonetic approximation. The imposition of one of these strategies depends on
factors that are external to linguistics per se: the bi- or multilingualism level in a
community, the duration and intensity of language contact, the size of contact
groups and the power and prestige relationships between/among them, agents
and channels of contact, linguistic attitudes and policies (Thomason and
Kaufmann 1988, Winford 2003). In the reminder of this paper, I explore the
situational and representational issues related to Western language contact in
Japan and pinpoint the factors that contributed to the imposition and
transmission of adaptation patterns resulted from phonological approximation.
3.1. Language contacts in Japan:
Situational and representational issues
The major contact settings with Western languages that took place in
Japan share a series of important features.
Language contacts in Japan never led to spread bilingualism. According
to the borrowing scale proposed by Thomason and Kaufmann (1988), the
contact settings in Japan correspond to the slightly more intense language
contact, the typical outcome being extensive lexical borrowing with little
structural borrowing (the late amount to phonemicization and, perhaps, the
adoption of the phoneme /v/, which is perceived and produced only by younger
cohorts of Japanese speakers). In the same vein, Loveday (1996) and Irwin
(2011) consider the situations of Western language contact to be distant, not
only geographically and typologically, but, most importantly, in terms of
interacting group size. In all language contact settings that took place in Japan,
the groups of foreigners were small; moreover, until WWII, (with rather minor
exceptions) the government was making efforts to keep the foreigners and their
language isolate from ordinary Japanese communities.
The agents and mediators of contact were usually represented by elite
groups of bilinguals: missionaries during the Iberian presence in Japan, official
Nagasaki interpreters and Ran-gaku scholars during the two centuries and a half
of Dutch language contact (1609-c.1870), scholars, intellectuals, translators, writers
during the first decades of Japan’s programmatic modernization efforts that
followed after Meiji Restoration (1868), journalists and mass-media after WWII.
In acquiring foreign languages, the emphasis was and continues to be “on
the written rather than spoken Western word” (Irwin 2011:3). Foreign languages
were considered indispensable instruments of gathering knowledge and were
used mainly for reading and translations. The activity of official Nagasaki
interpreters apart, daily communication skills were seldom a priority of foreign
language scholars and it continues to be so with English education in
contemporary Japan (Gottlieb 2005).
The motivation behind these distant settings of language contact is the
prestige enjoyed by Western sciences and cultures and, intrinsically, their
languages2. However, the official policies concerning the foreigners and their
languages were rather sinuous. The relative tolerance toward the Portuguese and
Spanish missionaries terminated in 1636 (due to their overzealous proselytism)
with the expelling of all foreigners, the prohibition of Christian religion and
Western books. During the two centuries and a half that followed (known as
sakoku ‘closed country’, 1609-cca.1870) the only window into the outer world
was represented by the Dutch merchants settled on an island in South Japan.
They were treated with mistrust, were not allowed on mainland or to learn Japanese.
The interaction with Dutch was mediated by appointed interpreters (knowing
Dutch was a family affair, approved by the government) and was subject to
severe official control. The situation relaxed at the beginning of 18th century
with the abolishing of the law against Western books. This was the incentive for
the scholarly trend known as Ran-gaku ‘Dutch studies’ to begin: Western
sciences were eagerly studied by Japanese scholars and many scientific Dutch
books were translated into Japanese. Even though an official institution
dedicated to the study of Western languages and science (Governmental Office
for the Translation of Barbarian Books) was established in 1811, the
government was committed to maintain the Dutch language together with its
entire load of knowledge as far and isolated as possible, making it available to
only a handful of scholars.
Contact with Englis begins with Japan’s opening its doors in 1853, under
the pressure of America (wich had economic and strategic interests in Japan).
Being still a medieval contry, Japan was overwhelmed by Western powers and,
thus, tremendious modernization efforts were made in order to absorb their
scientific knowledge. Groups of Japanese intellectuals were sent to Europe and
America to study Western sciences and values. Especially British, German and
French were hired in all domains Japan wanted to align itself to Western powers.
The public educational system, created in 1872, had as mandatory discipline the
study of English. In universities, in the short period between Meiji Restoration
(1868) and 1882, the teaching and learning was truly a bilingual process, since
Japanese language was lacking the linguistic resources to express scientific
notions and the teaching staff was formed mainly by foreigners. Another
dimension of language contacts was in the port cities opened to the international
See Loveday (1996: 47-59) and Irwin (2011: 23-53).
commerce, which were swarmed with foreign sailors, merchants, soldiers,
teachers, missionaries, students. During the 20th century, the official attitudes
toward English were far from straighforward. Between 1912 and 1929, English
and American mass culture spread in Japan by the means of cinema, radio and
country wide magazines published in English; in this period, the linguistic
patterns of transferring English into Japanese became established. The
circumstances changed with the emergence of Japan’s nationalism and
militarism (1930-1941), that prohibited all Western values, including the study
of English language in schools. After WWII, during the seven years of
American occupation, English enjoyed a prestige like never before. It never
became again a compulsory discipline in schools, but being one of the entrance
exams in most universities in Japan, it continues to be learned in public and
private schools.
Summing up, attitudes toward Western languages can be delineated at
two levels: whereas the official policies oscillated between open hostility and
tolerance accompanied by mercantile or scientific interests, on a more personal
level, there was a continuous, tacit admiration and prestige.
In contemporary Japanese, the loanwords are written in the angular
katakana syllabary, which serves to visually appropriate borrowings, to make
them fit into Japanese language and, at the same time, to maintain alive their
foreign status in peoples mind: this feature is unique among the languages of the
world, claims Irwin (2011:159).
3.2. Dictionary tradition
To explain why the adaptation patterns of Western borrowings are
essentially phonological, Irwin (2011:76-81) looks into the channels of loans
adoption. Typically, the bulk of loanwords in contemporary Japanese have been
assigned a pronunciation prior to their borrowing, in bilingual dictionaries.
Compiled during the first decades after Meiji Restoration (1868), Japanese
bilingual dictionaries had foreign words entries accompanied by their
pronunciation in Japanese; it was meant to help the foreign language students to
clarify the opaque spelling in language such as English or French. Later on,
when the foreign words began to flow into Japanese, these dictionary
pronunciations became the shape of these newly adopted words of Japanese.
As argued in section 2, the most important characteristics of dictionary
tradition are: (i) the preservation of donor word segments as faithful as possible
and the use of vowel epenthesis as the preferred syllable repair strategy; (ii) the
phonemicization of allophones, as a result of the effort to be as close as possible
to the source pronunciation; (iii) the adaptation of some vowels based on their
spelling in the donor word. The dictionary traditions represent a set of
prescribed adaptation strategies and are based on „the scholars’ deep knowledge
of the donor languages phonemics” (Irwin 2011:80).
Since the formation of dictionary traditions began in the second half of
19th century, a legitimate question concerns the adaptation patterns of the loans
adopted prior to this date. To answer this question, I analyzed the adaptation of
160 loans whose attestation in Japanese is dated prior to 1860, as indicated
between the brackets in the examples given in (5)), after Arakawa (1977). These
loans are mostly from Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch, and a few of them are
from German and English. Their phonology reveals that the tendency toward
maximum preservation of the input segments existed prior to the establishment
of the dictionary tradition and that consonant clusters and illicit codas were
fitted into syllable matrix through vowel epenthesis. The phonemicization of
allophones is a strategy that became established later, since it cannot be found
in none of the 160 loans dated before 1860 (see */ʤe/ > [ze] in (5a)).
(5) Loans attested prior to the establishment of dictionary tradition
a. Du. general > [zeneɾaɾɯ] (1708)
b. Du. trap
> [taɾappɯ] (1848)
c. Port. vidro
> [bi:doɾo] (1614)
d. Ger. Pest
> [pesɯto] (1850)
e. Eng. captain > [kjapɯteN] (1854)
The phonological configuration of these loans can be accounted for in terms
of written contact channels and scholars and elite social groups (missionaries,
official interpreters, Ran-gaku scholars, translators) acting as borrowers. In
essence, the language contact situation after the Meiji Restoration (1868) is a
replica of the language contact before that date. Both types of language contact
settings are situated at the level of high social classes, involving agents of
contact with bilingual competence, focused on writing and translations.
4. Conclusions
Loanword adaptation patterns, productive in contemporary Japanese, are,
in fact, prescribed adaptation strategies (resulted from phonological
approximation), transmitted as dictionary tradition. They make superfluous the
deep knowledge of source language phonemics (necessary for the adaptation as
phonological approximation), as long as the contemporary borrower is equipped
with the dictionary tradition to be applied to an orthographic input, which offers
important cues for the identification of source phoneme categories. This
strategy allows for a continuous flow of new lexical borrowings in the
monolingual Japanese society having only limited foreign languages skills.
Arakawa, Sōbei (1977), Gairaigo Jiten, Kadokawa Shoten, Tokyo.
Boersma, Paul, Silke Hamann (2009), “Loanword Adaptation as First-Language Phonological
Perception”, in A. Calabrese, W.L. Wetzels (eds.) Loan Phonology, John Benjamins,
Amsterdam/Philadelphia, pp. 11-58.
Dohlus, Katrin (2005), “Phonetics or Phonology: Asymmetries in Loanword Adaptations – French
and German Mid Front Rounded Vowels in Japanese”, in ZAS Papers in Linguistics, 42,
pp. 117-35.
Gottlieb, Nanette. 2005. Language and Society in Japan, Cambridge University Press, New York.
Irwin, Mark (2011), Loanwords in Japanese, John Benjamins, Amsterdam / Philadelphia.
Kubozono, Haruo (2001), “Epenthetic Vowels and Accent in Japanese: Facts and Paradoxes”, in
J. van de Weijer, T. Nishihara (eds.) Issues in Japanese Phonology and Morphology,
Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin / New York, pp. 111-140.
LaCharité, Darlene, Carole Paradis (2005), “Category Preservation and Proximity versus Phonetic
Approximation in Loanword Adaptation”, in Linguistic Inquiery, 36, 2, pp. 223-358.
Loveday, Leo (1996), Language Contact in Japan: A Sociolinguistic History, Clarendon Press, Oxford.
Peperkamp, Sharon, Emmanuel Dupoux (2003), “Reinterpreting Loanword Adaptation: The Role
of Perception”, in Proceedings of the 15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences,
Causal Productions Pty., Barcelona, pp. 367-370.
Thomason, Sarah Grey, Terrence Kaufman (1988), Language Contact, Creolization and Genetic
Linguistics, University of California Press, Berkeley.
Vendelin, Inga, Sharon Peperkamp (2004), “Evidence for Phonetic Adaptation of Loanwords: An
Experimental Study”, in Actes des Journées d’ Études Linguistiques de l’Université de
Nantes, pp. 129-131.
Winford, Donald (2003), An Introduction to Contact Linguistics, Blackwell Publishing, Oxford.
This paper tackles the phonological variable (pe) and its object of scrutiny is the language
used by Romanian adolescents and their preference for the use of a certain variable: the standard
or the non-standard one. The analysis relies on a research project carried out in 2013 and 2014 at
the Educational Center Theoretical High School in Constanţa (ECTH). The research methods used
were the sociolinguistic interview and the ethnographic method (long-participant observation) in
order to offer a more unified and cohesive account of language and gender variation.
Keywords: variable, phonological variation, adolescents, gender, sociolinguistic
interview, standard.
1. Introduction
This paper offers a variationist analysis of phonological variation in
spoken Romanian. I start from the hypothesis that adolescents are language
innovators, therefore the use of non-standard forms is likely to be found in their
speech and I set out to investigate: (i) phonological variation in the speech of
adolescents; (ii) gender-related differences regarding the use of the (pe) variable;
(iii) age-related differences in the use of standard and non-standard language.
Given the lack of such an empirical study on spoken Romanian, based on the
results obtained from research projects carried out in English speaking communities,
I hypothesize that: (i) the use of non-standard [pă] is consistent in the speech of
adolescents; (ii) there are gender-related differences regarding this linguistic variable;
(iii) boys tend to use the vernacular form [pă] whereas the standard form [pe] is
used by girls; (iv) there might be intra-speaker variation regarding the use of (pe).
The analysis starts with a discussion of the (pe) variable in early modern
Romanian, to be used as a starting point in my analysis, and see whether this
variable has undergone any linguistic change throughout the centuries. Then I
analyze the preposition pe in different linguistic contexts and provide relevant
Ovidius University of Constanţa, [email protected]
examples from the Romanian literature to show that there is also variation in
written Romanian. So, I employ quantitative variationist methodology to
identify and analyse sociolinguistic patterns, i.e. a correlation between a
linguistic variable and external social factors like gender and age.
2. (pe) in Early Modern Romanian
The oldest document written in Romanian1 is considered to be Scrisoarea
lui Neacşu (Neacşu’s Letter) from Câmpulung, addressed to Johannes Benkner. It
was established that the letter was written in 1521. In the 16th century documents
started to be written in Romanian, the original texts being relatively short and
consisting of letters and different types of documents (donations, wills, receipts,
diplomatic documents, etc.). The religious texts are translated into Romanian,
especially parts from the Bible (The Gospels, the Psalms). Between 1556 and 1581
Coresi and his apprentices started publishing religious texts in Romanian, in the
city of Braşov.2 To these texts historical writings are added, written by Moldavian
chroniclers (Grigore Ureche, Miron Costin, Ion Neculce, Dimitrie Cantemir).
It is worth looking at the texts mentioned above, as they provide insights
into how the preposition pe evolved throughout time. I offer relevant quotations from
these texts to see the contexts in which the preposition was used as well as its form.
(1) Şi au ales 4 evanghelişti den limba ovreiască
‘And they chose four gospellers from the Jewish language
pre limba grecească, de-au scris Evanghelia.
the Greek language to write the Gospel.’
(Coresi, Catehism 1559/1560)
(2) Şi voiu lăsa pre voi limbi pogîne şi vor vărsa sîngele vostru.
‘And I shall let to you pagan languages and they will spill your blood.’
(Legenda Duminicii, in Manuscrisul de la Ieud, 1621-1633, p. 153)
The birth of a language is never a temporary phenomenon, occurring at a given point in
time, but a long-lasting one. It involves different stages of evolution and their succession.
The same thing happened with Romanian, which is defined as being “the Latin language
spoken uninterruptedly [...] from the moment Latin started being used in these provinces
to present day” (Rosetti 1968: 77). Common Romanian is a fundamental stage in the
development of the history of our language (Cătănescu 1996: 72). Common Romanian
was “the language spoken by the ancestors of Daco-Romanians, Aromanians (also called
Macedo-Romanians), Megleno-Romanians and Istro-Romanians, before any connection
between them was interrupted” (Puşcariu 1974: 58).
These texts include: Catehism (Întrebare Creştinească, 1559/1560), Pravila (c. 1560-1562),
Apostolul (1563), Cazania I and Molitvenicul (c. 1567), Psaltire and Liturghier (1570?),
Psaltirea slavo-română (1576-1578), Psaltirea slavo-română (1577), Cazania II (1581),
as presented in Cătănescu (1996: 93).
(3) Toate cîte-s, pre tine?
‘How many are there on you?’
(Miron Costin, Viiaţa Lumii, 1671-1673, pp. 162-164)
(4) întriabă pe ce vremi am scris şi cît am scris [...] eram pre atuncea la şcoală la Bar,
‘ask in what times I wrote and how much I wrote [...] I was in school back then in Bar,
în Podoliia, pre cale fiind de la sat la oraş.
in Podoliia, on the way from the village to the city.’
(Miron Costin, Letopiseţul Ţărâi Moldovei, 1675, pp. 128-130)
(5) va a păzi pe un cetăţean şi pământean [...] găsindu-şi pe un neam ce-i zicea alani
‘shall guard a citizen and an earth dweller [...] finding a people called alani’
(Stolnicul Constantin Cantacuzino, Istoriia Ţării Rumâneşti
sfârşitul secolului al XVII-lea – începutul
secolului al XVIII-lea, pp. 176-178)
(6) cununi de dăruit şi pe cela ce fără îndoinţă
‘crowns to give and that person without doubt’
(Dimitrie Cantemir, Divanul, 1698, pp. 35-36)
(7) din toţi boierii ţărîi mai de treabă la voroavi pe Miron Costîn,
‘from all the country’s boyars who were more kind spoke about Miron Costîn,
care au fostu mai pe urmă şi logofăt mare
who was also a great logothete’
(Ion Neculce, Letopiseţul Ţării Moldovei, 1733-1743, pp. 45-46)
The examples given above (1-7) provide information about the use of the
preposition pe in the Romanian used in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. In the early texts
the form of the preposition is pre, as shown in the examples (1)-(4). In the 17th century,
there was variation between pre and pe, which appears in Miron Costin’s chronicle,
Letopiseţul Ţărâi Moldovei. Towards the end of the 17th century and the beginning
of the 18th century the form pe was used almost exclusively in written Romanian.
The period between 1780 and 1840 represents a very important stage in
the development of the Romanian language and literature. This stage is also
known as the premodern period, and it is associated with the writings of the
Văcăreşti Poets. Ienăchiţă Văcărescu is also the author of one of the first
grammars of the Romanian language, entitled Obsevaţii sau băgări de seamă
asupra regulelor şi orânduelelor gramaticii româneşti [= Observations or notes
on the rules and norms of the Romanian grammar] published in 1787. It is also
in this period that we find the first attestations of the variant (pă), in the poems
of Alecu Văcărescu (1767–1799), Ienăchiţă Văcărescu’s eldest son:
(8) În ei cată să te vezi/ Întocma pă cât luminezi
‘Try to look in them/Exactly how much you glow’
(9) Şi cusur să nu rămâie/ Pă cât simte să-l mângâie
‘And in order not to be a flaw/ To caress him as she feels like’
(from Boldea 2009)
The examples provided in (8) and (9) demonstrate that the (pă) variant
has existed for four centuries and it is still being used in present day Romanian.
Another interesting example is found in the poems of Nicolae Văcărescu (1786-1825),
Ienăchiţă’s second son:
(10) Că-l ţineam tot pe cărare, / Pe bere şi pe mâncare /
‘I was keeping him on track/ On beer and food /
Pre potecă făr’ de soare Pă-l cu inima vitează
On the road without sun/ The one with a brave heart’
(from Boldea 2009)
It seems that three variants of the (pe) variable were used simultaneously
without any difference in meaning. There are no constraints which might
indicate the use of one variant instead of another. A thorough discussion of the
(pe) variable in early modern Romanian is beyond the scope of this paper. I
have only given a very broad-brush picture of the (pe) variable in the first and
most significant written documents in Romanian to be used as a starting point in
my analysis.
3. (pe) in modern Romanian
The preposition pe appears in different syntactic contexts and has two
special uses: classical and special (Mardale 2006). For the classical usage we
have the following examples:
(11) a. Maria a pus cartea pe birou.
‘Mary put the book on the desk.’
b. Ion a venit din tabără pe 15 iulie.
‘John came from camp on 15 of July.’
(12) Diana contează pe tine.
‘Diana is counting on you.’
For the special usage we have examples such as:
(13) a. Băiatul l-a cunoscut pe director.
‘The boy met the principal.’
b. L-au botezat pe el.
‘They baptized him.’
The preposition pe is used in Romanian to mark the accusative case, as in
the examples above. In (11a), for example, pe birou ‘on the desk’ has the
syntactic function of Direct Object.
Since I am interested in the variants of (pe), I considered it relevant to
provide some examples from the Romanian literature, to offer a better
understanding of this phenomenon. There is variation between (pe) and (pă) in
the 19th century Romanian literary masterpieces. Consider the following
(14) Dar când să ies de pă maidan cu dumnealui, tocmai trecea jupînul de la vale;
‘But just as I wanted to get off the street with him, the master was passing;
am lăsat pe persoana în chestie să m-aştepte pe maidan şi eu am sărit
I left the person in question to wait for me and I jumped’
(I.L. Caragiale, O noapte furtunoasă, 1983, p. 35)
In (14) there is intra-speaker variation, as the two variants of the variable
(pe) are used in the same context. The speaker first uses the [pă] variant and
then the [pe] variant. This is relevant as it shows once again that there are no
constraints which govern the use of the (pe) variable. In Caragiale’s play, the
male character, Spiridon, is a poor boy pertaining to the lower class and his
employer is a wealthy man. He is the only character in the play to use the form
[pă] which indicates that this variant is associated with the lower class and lacks
prestige. Another interesting example comes from the story Alexandru Lăpuşneanu
written by Costache Negruzzi and published in 1840 in Dacia Literară:
(15) De mă voi scula pre mulţi am să popesc şi eu.
‘If I rise I shall punish many myself’.
The use of the variant (pre) in (15) is quite interesting and intriguing at
the same time as Alexandru Lăpuşneanu is one of the only 19th century texts in
which I found this variant.
Towards the 20th century, the only variant which occurs in literary
writings is (pe). [Pă]3 is only used to indicate social class, and considered to be
a popular form of (pe). In example (14) the vernacular form [pă] is used by a
male, thus becoming a marker of masculinity.
4. Data collection and methodology
4.1. The sociolinguistic interviews
The data used in this paper emerged from research on the social and
linguistic practices of students at the Educational Center Theoretical High
School (ECTH), a large, culturally diverse high school located in the city of
The form (pă) appears in many Romanian traditional songs, among which we mention
Liviu Vasilica’s song Pă la noi pă Teleorman or Andreea Voica’s song Argeleana pă picior.
Constanţa. Being a teacher at this high school, it was easy to get access to my
speakers and befriend them. I spent all my breaks outside with them earning
their trust and observing them on the playground. I also had a discussion with
the principal and asked for permission to conduct the interviews at school. She
turned out to be very sensitive to my research and gave me free access to all the
school’s facilities and talked to some of the parents about my research. All the
students were told about the project and those who wanted to participate in the
research project volunteered, some out of curiosity, others just because they wanted
to help. They also received a form with a few details about the research project
and they were asked whether they agree to have the interviews audio-recorded.
A form was also sent to their parents, as all the students were minors, and they
signed and returned them to me. Another important thing about the school where I
conducted my research is that it has the following structure: kindergarten,
primary school, secondary school and high school. This offered a wonderful
opportunity to include students both from secondary school as well as high
school, thus also taking the social variable of age into consideration, beside gender.
The sociolinguistic interview followed the Labovian structure and
included two components: the questionnaire and a reading text. The aim was to
obtain two different types of speech styles: casual and careful. Tagliamonte
(2006: 39) argues that the ideal way to start a sociolinguistic interview is to
begin with questions about demographics, community, neighbourhood, etc. and
then move on to more personal questions. This is exactly how I structured my
questionnaire. I asked the students to tell me about the place where they were
born, to describe the city they live in and to tell me whether they like the city as
well as the country the live in. Even though I had a standard set of questions, in
many cases I used alternative questions as well, to yield maximal talk from the
interviewees. I also brought sweets with me to the recording sessions as I tried
to make them feel relaxed by creating a casual and friendly atmosphere. I avoided
conducting the interviews in classrooms, because that was considered a formal
place. Instead, I used the cafeteria when there was nobody there or the playground,
as they were more informal. The interview contained 22 questions, and each
interview lasted between 20 to 25 minutes. Twelve adolescents participated in
this project (six boys and six girls), giving us approximately five hours of
speech. After I devised the questionnaire I piloted it with two students to see if
the questions are well formulated and whether the students gave long and complex
answers, as the purpose was to elicit as much data as possible. I also avoided
yes/no questions, and instead I used questions like Tell me about the place where
you were born. The most successful questions were the ones in which they had
to describe their best friend and recount experiences from their childhood.
4.2. Adolescents as a source of data
Working with adolescents is a wonderful experience, but can soon turn
into a daunting task, because of their moody personality.
It is traditional to view adolescents in our society as sloppy (they leave their
clothes on the floor), rebellious (they don’t do what they’re told), and irresponsible
(they forget their pencils). This view of adolescents is visited on their language,
which is judged sloppy in its imprecision, rebellious in its supposed use of slang
and profanity, and irresponsible in its greater use of non-standard grammar
(Eckert 2004: 362).
In his 1965 study, Labov develops a model for the acquisition of
Standard English, which portrays the peer group as having a powerful influence
on speakers between the ages of 5 to 12, at which time it is seen as an important
influence on speech. His data confirm the fact that after the age of 14
adolescents in New York City become aware of the social significance of
different varieties of English. His conclusion is that the speech of adolescents is
less prone to style-shifting and there is a greater chance of obtaining recordings
of vernacular speech if the speech of adolescents is used for analysis as well as
a source of data.
Another important advantage of studying the speech of adolescents is
provided by Cheshire (1982: 9) who notes that it is easy for an outsider to
become part of the group. Given that the research project was carried out at a
school, I did not have problems in becoming part of their group. I also taught
English and Spanish to some of the students interviewed, but, even though I was
very serious and strict in the classroom, during the breaks and in the cafeteria or
on the playground I was very relaxed, I joked with them and made them feel
comfortable in my presence. By adopting this method outside the classes, I
managed to earn their trust and they talked freely when I was present. This was
the only way I could have access to the vernacular, by using the long-term
participant-observation method (Cheshire 1982, Eckert 1989, 2000, Tagliamonte
2006, 2011, Schilling 2013).
4.3. The speakers and the school
The speakers that participated in this project are studying at the
Educational Center Theoretical High School (ECTH) in Constanţa. They are all
native speakers and come from Romanian native speaker families. They belong
to one age group 13-17 and they are grades 6-11, as revealed in Table 1:
Table 1
Information about the Romanian speakers
Lives in
The students all come from good families with a good socioeconomic
status. I chose to conduct my study in Constanţa first of all because it is the city
where I live and work, but above all because it is a multicultural city. The
interviewees include Orthodox Christians and Catholics as well as Muslims.
Constanţa is the biggest city in Dobrogea and it is situated on the Black Sea coast.
I started my research immediately as I was employed by the school in
April 2013. It took me a while to get acquainted with the staff and the students,
but once I achieved that, things became easier. My aim in this work was to be
relatively low-keyed and informal and convince the students to take part in the
research. The school has a dress code, and students and staff must wear uniform
at all time. The uniform consists of a blue costume, white shirt and red tie for
the male teachers and blue skirt, blue jacket, white or blue shirt and red scarf for
the female teachers. The students’ uniform is grey and includes: grey trousers
for the boys and grey skirts for the girls; a white shirt and grey vest. The
school’s policy is that students must wear the uniform everyday to school, and
if they do not wear the uniform they are not allowed in the school. The girls
resented wearing the skirt over trousers or jeans, and they usually did not wear
it. They used to keep it in their schoolbag or their desk and wore it only when
there was an inspection. The uniform is not obligatory for high school students,
so nobody wears it. I will return to this later on.
Eckert (1989: 62) astutely outlines several key issues in realising a
thorough analysis of the speech of adolescents. She stresses out the idea that
clothing is a powerful social marker and it signals economic status as well as
specific group identity. The main problem is that this was something I could not
take into consideration as the school uniform was mandatory. Luckily, on a few
occasions, the school organised different extra-curricular activities which
included a trip to Tropaeum Traiani, a trip to Bucharest to visit the Antipa
Museum and a one week camp to Predeal. In these trips the school uniform was
not mandatory so nobody wore it. This presented a very good opportunity to see
them casually dressed, and behaving differently. Dressing style is also a marker
of social identity and it also indicated the affiliation to a group.
Following Eckert’s (1989) groundbreaking study of the English used by
jocks and burnouts at Belten High, I also grouped the students from ECTH
into two groups: “geeks” and “pops” (short for popular). The factors that I took
into consideration when I divided them into these two groups were the language
they used, behaviour and clothing.
In the Oxford English Dictionary online, a “geek” is defined as an
unfashionable or socially inept person. At ECTH this category includes the
students who are more reclusive, who are interested only in obtaining high
grades and are very industrious. They often criticize the pops and the way they
speak or behave. Most of them do not go outside during breaks, but stay inside
the school and revise for the next class or just sit at the window and speak badly
about their colleagues. Some of them even wander the corridors copybook in
hand pretending to study when they are actually trying to hear the latest gossip.
Those who do go outside during breaks have a special place in the school’s
courtyard where they gather.
The term “pops”, on the other hand, describes the students who are
interested in the way they are perceived by their peers, are very popular in
school and fashion is everything to them. Cool girls use slang words, as well as
the vernacular forms used by boys as they imitate boys’ linguistic style just to
be considered their equals and members of their group. Language is used as a
power tool by adolescents to be accepted in a particular group. They pay
attention to the way they dress this being also valid for cool boys. Pops,
particularly high school girls, wear a good number of outfits and consciously
avoid using the same item of clothing twice a week. This is in contrast to geek
girls who tend to wear the same outfit two or three days in a row. The majority
of cool girls shop in groups in the most important shopping malls in Constanţa
and some of them order their clothes from different American websites just to
make sure that their clothes are unique. Many pops’ enhanced socioeconomic
status is reflected in their passion to follow the latest fashion and their desire to
wear designer clothes or very expensive clothes designed by important fashion
houses like Gucci, Calvin Klein, Zara, Prada, etc.
From a cultural point of view, geek girls and cool girls study at the same
school, live in the same neighbourhood, attend the same courses, but their
gender styles are completely different, as well as their linguistic ones.
Geekiness is not just about avoiding coolness but about resisting gender
hegemony. It allows girls to opt out of the heterosexual market altogether or to
enter it when they feel ready and on their own terms. Nerd girls remove
themselves from coolness and its attendant gender obligations as much through
their untrendy vowels as through their deliberately unsexy, unsophisticated
clothing. The popular ideological association of advanced variants of these
vowels with airheaded beach bimbos may have something to do with this
aversion as well (Bucholtz 2002: 39).
The school can be seen as a big speech community, in which there are two
communities of practice (Lave and Wenger 1991). Eckert (2003: 112) argues
that modern education has somehow insulated adolescents from adult society and
eliminated them from the workforce, thus confining them to age-homogenous
institutions (Coleman et al. 1974). By doing so, adolescents created a world of
their own, being responsible for their social and linguistic practices.
4.4. Long-term participant observation
In conducting a successful variationist study, the sociolinguistic interview
is a key factor. Another angle from which sociolinguists study smaller groups is
in terms of their adherence to a social group. In this section further
consideration is given to another important method used by sociolinguists,
which I also used, namely long-term participant observation. I used this
method in order to overcome the Observer’s Paradox. In the sociolinguistic
interviews the students, albeit relaxed, strove to sound as intelligent as possible,
thus using the standard forms to the vernacular ones. They used the vernacular
in the courtyard, when talking to their peers where attention to the language
they used was at a minimum.
This mode of inquiry lends a fresh perspective to my research goals. As
an insider I gained access to the vernacular forms they used, slang and swear
words included, while preserving an outsider detachment through long-term
involvement. So, beside my role as a researcher, I also became a participant in
their activities. Richards (2003) argues that ethnographers should focus on four
important areas of social interaction: (i) the physical setting of events; (ii) the
systems and procedures that are followed at these events; (iii) the people taking
part in these events; (iv) the social practices (language included) that are noticed
at these events.
Being a scientific research, the aim of observation is to identify
systematic patterns of language that can be correlated to external factors (Levon
2013: 75). Tagliamonte (2006: 20) is an advocate of the participant observation4
Participant observation has become widely used by researchers conducting an ethnographic
study, but also by sociolinguists carrying out quantitative or qualitative research. In her
analysis of the lives of college students, Cathy Small (Nathan 1996) moved for a year to a
college dorm and frequented university classes. Another example is found in MacLeod (1987)
who got involved in a community youth project as he was researching the aspirations of
young people in a poor neighbourhood. In these cases, participant observation requires
“close, long-term contact with the people under study” (Fetterman 1989: 47).
method as it is “fundamental to variation analysis”. The ethnographic approach
“consists of the intensive involvement of the researcher in a given social setting
in order to describe and identify, through the use of a variety of complementary
research techniques, the cultural patterns and regularities that structure and
perpetuate a society” (Poplack 1979: 60). To put it differently, the long-term
participant observation approach aids the sociolinguist to understand the
cultural context of the speech community he is investigating. Knowing the
cultural context can provide insight into what is important to analyse. One of
the most famous participant observation study is Eckert’s (2000) carried out in a
Detroit high school. The valuable data that come from such studies give the
researcher extremely valuable information regarding some of the most
important questions in the study of language variation (Tagliamonte 2006: 21).
Immersion in the speech community under study is vital in order to come up
with a valid explanation for the linguistic choices of that community.
In providing an empirical study of this variable, I immersed myself in the
community studied, but I never lost my objective ability to analyse it. Outside in
the courtyard I never used an audio recorder, because I would have scared the
students away and because of the technical difficulties that could have
presented. Instead, I always carried a notebook with me and I wrote everything
that I observed in it.
4.5. (pe) patterns in the speech of Romanian adolescents
living in Constanţa
The audio interviews were transcribed in word, resulting in a corpus of
15,000 words. I counted all the tokens of (pe) and the total number is 113. The
independent variables taken into account for the analysis of the dependant
variable (pe) are speech style (casual speech and reading style) and the gender
of the speaker. Another important fact is that the (pe) variable is a stable
sociolinguistic variable and has not been subject to any type of change for at
least two centuries.
4.5.1. Casual speech: Results
As far as the analysis of this variable is concerned, unclear tokens such as
the reduced form p-ormă instead of “pe urmă” were excluded from the analysis.
More tokens of (pe) were found in the speech of boys than in that of girls, as
revealed below in Graph 1. In the analysis of (pe) I used ELAN. I chose not to
use PRAAT as this variable can easily be analysed auditorily, but I also checked
the tokens with three native speakers.
Graph 1. Variants [pe] and [pă] according to the gender of the speaker
The results obtained were surprising as the non-standard form (pă) was
not preferred almost at all by both genders. They used the standard variant in 95% of the
cases. On a closer look, I noticed that the [pe] variant was used exclusively by 6 graders
as well as by some of the high school girls. In the sociolinguistic interviews, with a
few exceptions, I could not find any gender-related differences, regarding the
use of (pe). I present the variants for each speaker in Graph 2.
Graph 2. The use of [pe] and [pă] in the speech of adolescents from Constanţa
The [pe] variant was used more consistently by Amalia and Vlad while
[pă] was preferred by Cosmin, although he used the [pe] variant more often. It
appears that the standard variant is preferred by both secondary school as well
as high school students. The Observer’s Paradox did not influence the results as
the students were relaxed, they recounted many episodes from their childhood
and laughed while telling them. The fact that school and schooling is central to
adolescents makes the dichotomy standard-vernacular language ground material
for their linguistic choices (Eckert 2003: 113). School is by definition
associated with education, standard language, homogeneity, thus explaining the
students’ choice for the standard language. Nonstandard language is associated
with toughness, the working class, anti-rules, local innovation and gangs.
A difference that I discovered is related to age. If in secondary school the
[pe] variant was almost exclusively used by the students I interviewed, the situation
was somehow different in high school, where some of the boys also used the
[pă] variant. Let us consider the following examples taken from the interviews:
(16) şi io-l vedeam pă el şi-l luam în braţe
‘and I saw him and hugged him’
(17) Da eram mergeam pe stradă şi eu mergeam pe trotuar cu nişte prieteni
‘I was walking down the street I was walking on the sidewalk with some friends
şi pretenu’ meu a făcut o glumă m-a împins m-am dus pă stradă...
and my friend made a joke and pushed me I went in the street’
(18) dau drumu’ la muzică mănânc pă urmă iară dau drumu
‘I turn on the music I eat then I turn on again’
(19) şi am decis să ne întoarcem pă jos...
‘and we decided to return on foot’
How can we account for this type of variation? In high school students
start to rebel, they become more independent, this being reflected not only in
the way they behave and dress, but also in the way they speak. I also checked in
Hornoiu’s (2007) corpus of spoken Romanian for this type of variation and I
could not find any use of the [pă] variant in the speech of adolescents. [Pă]
however was used more consistently by adults.
The nonstandard and the standard variants of (pe) co-occur variably. This
variation did not, however, appear to be governed by any linguistic constraints.
A possible explanation is that, being at school, students tend to be corrected all
the time by their teachers (seen as a figure of authority), whenever they talk
“incorrectly”5. So, they strive to speak as correctly as possible and it is at this
stage that their speech (i.e. the way they speak) is influenced by those around
them. Another possible explanation which might account for the lack of variation is
that secondary school students are raised by their mothers. They spend a significant
amount of time with their mothers as they are the ones who nurture them.
Therefore, it is actually expected that they use the language their mothers use
and the preference for the standard form should not come as a surprise6.
This situation is reminiscent of George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion, where Higgins is
trying to teach young Eliza to speak like a lady.
This situation is also encountered in traditional societies. Bradley (2006) reported that in
Yanyuwa men speak one language and women another language, as. Children are
One of the most frequently repeated claims about male and female speech
is that women’s speech is more conservative than that of men’s (Coates 2006: 66).
The patterns of phonological variation are somehow heterogeneous. Women
tend to use the prestige forms whereas men prefer the vernacular ones. This
hypothesis has been verified for English (Labov 1966, Trudgill 1974, Lakoff
1975, Holmes 1995, Coates 2004, Eisikovits 2006). It appears that in Romanian
society, just like in British, American and Australian societies, women are
viewed as using the standard forms of language whereas men have a preference
for the vernacular ones. Another important factor in people’s use of variation
stems from their relation to linguistic markets. The concept of “symbolic
market” was coined by Bourdieu and Boltanski (1975) and it was borrowed and
adapted to the study of variation by Sankoff and Laberge (1978). From this
perspective, males and females belong to different linguistic markets. Trudgill’s
(1972) analysis of gender variation in the English spoken in Norwich found that
women were more conservative in their use of almost all variables that he studied.
One of his speculations was that this was the result of women’s exclusion from
the workplace. The majority of students’ mothers from ECTH are housewives
and those who do work have white-collar jobs, the kind of jobs referred to as
“technicians of language” by Sankoff et al. (1989). This notion encompasses
jobs like academics, directors, secretaries, etc. This explains the preference for
standard language, something that children acquire from their mothers.
[Pă] is a marker of masculinity not only in the speech of men, but also in
the speech of high school adolescents. It has low prestige, thus being associated
with the working class. Students used it more in same-gender conversations
and they tended to use the standard form in mixed-gender conversations. Their
speech style joins with other aspects of style which include clothing (Eckert
1980, 2000), makeup (Mendoza-Denton 1996), musical taste, territory, interest
in the same activities (Eckert 1989). Standard language is a very important asset
in gaining membership or “a powerful tool of membership in the halls and
homes of global power” (Coates 2006: 369). In contrast, the vernacular is a
flavour of local or regional differences, something acquired in the neighbourhood.
Those who have strong ties to the neighbourhood where they grew up are prone
to use or embrace this form of language, as an expression of their local identity
and affiliation to a certain group. The high school is seen as a globalizing
institution dominating the life of adolescents (Coates 2006: 369) and the
adolescents’ use of the standard or the vernacular forms of language is
influenced by the way they view that institution.
nurtured by their mothers and grandmothers, thus in a predominantly female atmosphere,
so the language the children use, irrespective of their sex, is that of their mothers.
4.5.2. Reading style: Results
For the reading style the interviewees were supposed to read a text of half
a page out loud. Although this speech style is an artificial one, I included it to
elicit more types of speech and see where variation occurred. As expected, this
being a more formal situation, the students paid attention to what they read and
there was no variation whatsoever as far as the (pe) variable is concerned. They
all used the standard form irrespective of gender or age. This gives us valuable
insight into their sociolinguistic competence as it proves that they are aware of
the language they use and how they use it. They become aware not only of the
fact that there are differences in the way they speak but also of the fact that
some forms are “considered bad or improper while others are correct and those
are the ones that they must use”, as some of them confessed.
School exerts a great influence on the language they use. They come in
contact with the written as well as with the spoken word. Nonstandard forms are not
tolerated in school and they are constantly reminded to use proper and standard
language in all situations. In secondary school they tend to obey their teachers and
strive to sound as intelligent and as correct as possible. In the next section I discuss
the findings from the playground where the students were not recorded, only
observed, and compare the results with the ones from the sociolinguistic interviews.
4.5.3. The playground: Results
In this section I focus on the data that I gathered as a participant-observer
and account for the variation that occurred. At this stage it is important to
mention that using this method (i.e. participant-observation) it was really hard
to follow the speakers that participated in the interviews. The focus was on
them and also on the group of students they were friends with. Some of them
belonged to the geek group mentioned above others were seen as pops. In the
playground (the school’s courtyard) students got involved in different activities.
Some of them were playing football, others were playing hide and seek, while
others were just talking about different things. Some of the high school students
used to gather in a special place and play truth or dare.
The following examples are taken from my field notes. The examples are
from the speech of the same students as I interviewed to facilitate the
comparison between these findings and the ones from the interview.
(20) Să vii mâine pă la mine p-acasă (Alexandra)
‘Come tomorrow to my house’
(21) Du-te pă la magazine, bă (Cosmin)
‘Go to the shops, dude’
(22) de Revelion când pusese mama pă masă mâncare (Tibi)
‘on New Year’s Eve when my mother had put food on the table’
(23) Cheam-o fată pă Teo să vină afară (Amalia)
‘Girl tell/call Teo to come outside’
It is noteworthy that in the playground the secondary school students,
except for Alexandra, did not use the [pă] variant at all. Could this be an
indication that they are more status conscious than high school boys? Is there a
correlation with age? There are no differences which could be accounted for in
terms of age grading, as the (pe) variable is a stable sociolinguistic variable, but
it does seems that with age there is an increase in the use of it. High school boys
used it quite frequently especially when they were playing sports or when they
were swearing. Forms like pă mă-ta instead of pe mă-ta were extremely used by
boys. Girls, on the other hand, used to imitate boys as if this appeared to be the
rule of the group.
[pe] pops
[pă] pops
[pe] geeks
[pă] geeks
Graph 3. The use of (pe) according to the gender of the speaker
and group affiliation in the playground
Intra-speaker variation occurred in the case of some speakers, but I could
not identify any linguistic constraints that might explain this phenomenon. What
is worth commenting upon is that girls only used the [pă] form in certain
contexts. For example, when they were outside in the playground and the boys
from their group were around they used the non-standard form more
consistently. In same gender gatherings they used the standard form. This did
not occur with boys. In their case the usage of the vernacular form was constant
at all times. Some of the high school boys even had nicknames (Cosmin’s
nickname was Adonis, Tibi’s nickname was Basu while Vlad was called Lache
by his friends)7. Interestingly enough, even some of the girls had nicknames
(Andreea’s nickname was Puca while Alexandra’s was Bubu). They insisted on
being called like this, as if these nicknames offered them a new identity. Andreea
and Alexandra are part of the pops group. One can easily tell because they are
very noisy, they would do anything to attract attention, they constantly use nonstandard forms and this can also be seen in the interviews as they used the [pă]
form several times. Alexandra used the (pe) variable five times in sociolinguistic
interview. She used the standard form three times and the non-standard form twice.
As mentioned earlier, the concept of coolness is associated with the use
of non-standard [pă]. Following Cheshire (1982) I also used a toughness scale
to see whether it can be correlated with the use of nonstandard linguistic
features. In the sociolinguistic interview I included the question Do you practice
any sports? as I already knew that the majority of students take up different
sports and participate in different competitions. Besides tennis, swimming and
football, some students, like Cosmin for example, practice kickbox all style.
Consider the following answer from the sociolinguistic interview:
(24) Interviewer: Practici vreun sport?
‘Do you practice any sports?’
Da, practic kickbox all style şi înotu’
‘Yes, I practice kickbox and swimming’
Cosmin was one of the students who used the [pă] variant consistently in
the playground. He is also considered to be one of the school’s bullies as he
teases his colleagues as well as the secondary school students. Other students
like Mario, Bogdan or Daniel were given a zero score on the scale toughness
while Cosmin is an 8 out of 10. Cosmin is a skilled fighter, often demonstrating
his fighting abilities in the playground. I consider toughness to be an indicator
of adherence to the vernacular culture8. There is gender differentiation here as
none of the girls took part in such activities, although they were drawn to them.
They admired the skilled fighters and mocked or teased the ones that were not
good at all.
Analysing the use of AAVE features by white kids in Northern
California, Bucholtz (1999) interprets this as a way of laying claim to coolness.
In a study of the development of English among a group of adolescents living in
Northern California it was proven conclusively and through meticulous analysis
by Kuwahara (1998) that the students who were interested in school activities
This is reminiscent of Labov’s (1973) Harlem study where the groups he studied had
names like the Jets and the Cobras. Another interesting fact is that they had a hierarchical
structure with leaders, things that usually define a gang and not a group. At ECTH I did
not encounter this situation.
Cheshire (1982: 97) notes that “adherence to the vernacular culture should be seen as a
temporary phase in the lives of the members of the peer groups”.
developed standard English while in the speech of those who pertained to the
street culture the AAVE features were more predominant. In my analysis the
high school geeks represent a school-oriented culture. They are planning to
attend university, they get involved in many extra-curricular activities, hence
the preference for the standard form. The other group, on the other hand, the
high school pops, reject school as their social base. They rely on the fact that
their parents have money and they do not need to study or work really hard,
instead they can enjoy their life and do whatever they like.
I considered the school a big speech community where I distinguished
two communities of practice: geeks and pops. The members of each community of
practice align themselves with one another because they believe that they have shared
interests with one another. The geeks did not engage in any type of violence
(another marker of masculinity) be it physical or verbal. They were the ones who
were interested in school activities, participated in different competitions and used
almost exclusively the standard forms. At times they used the non-standard forms
with the sole purpose of belittling the pops. They established an excellent
relationship among them based on mutual respect and friendship. The pops on the
other hand were much more aggressive and vocal. An early psychological study
on gender differences carried out by Maccoby and Jacklin (1974) suggested that
aggression made a clear cut distinction between males and females. In a more
recent paper, Bjorkqvist et al. (1992: 55) focusing on Finnish children, found that
although boys are more physically aggressive than girls, boys and girls are very
much alike in the use of verbal aggression. At ECTH aggression was the clearest
way in which the two groups were differentiated. In the pops group verbal
aggression was not a gender marker as girls were as verbally aggressive as boys.
The only difference lies in that girls do not use as many swear words as boys and
they are not as physically aggressive as them. Girls, however, often criticised their
peers behind their back rather than in a face-to-face encounter.
To sum up, the [pă] variant occurred more frequently in the playground
than in the sociolinguistic interview, and it was used more by boys belonging to
the pops group. When students are in school they use fewer nonstandard forms
and more of the corresponding prestige form, i.e. the [pe] variant. There are also
other linguistic variables that were used by boys and not by girls and they
occurred both in the sociolinguistic interviews as well as in the playground.. All
in all, the long-term participant observation method revealed that in different
gatherings the girls and the boys use the [pă] variant more frequently.
5. Conclusions
This paper has addressed the main findings concerning variation in the
speech of Romanian adolescents living in Constanţa. The analysis of the (pe)
variable has shown that in secondary school adolescents tend to use the standard
variant to the vernacular one. A change occurs in high school where the [pă]
variable starts to be used. However, caution needs to be exercised when making
such claims, as language choices are influenced by a number of external factors.
For example, at ECTH I have identified two communities of practice: the geeks
and the pops. In showing their allegiance to the group they use standard or
nonstandard features more often. In the presence of their peers the pops’ use of
nonstandard forms increases. The geeks use the prestige forms irrespective of
the situation they are in and irrespective of their interlocutors’ gender.
Two research methods have been employed to offer a more detailed
analysis of phonological variation among adolescents. The sociolinguistic
interview has revealed almost insignificant results about the use of the (pe)
variable but the long-term participant observation method offered a more indepth analysis of linguistic variation. The two communities of practice
identified differ in their linguistic as well as social practices: geeks opting for
the standard features of language, although this made them look unpopular
among their peers and, pops choosing the nonstandard form which made them
look tough, powerful and cool in the school.
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In ancient grammatical accounts of virtues and vices of speech, ellipsis is usually counted
as a defect of language; sometimes it may however appear as a figure. This paper attempts to
briefly present both conceptions. The former will be discussed in connection with Aelius Donatus
who treats ellipsis as an instance of the “other vices” of speech, after solecism and barbarism. The
latter will be associated with Donatus and Servius as commentators. The paper will also examine
the conceptions on ellipsis of the second century C.E. Alexandrian Apollonius Dyscolus and of
the later Roman grammarian Priscian who consider ellipsis and pleonasm as types of pathē of
language. The final section of the article shows partially the influence of these grammarians, of
their conceptions on the authors in the Middle Ages.
Keywords: ancient grammar, linguistic pathology, virtues and vices of style, schema,
ellipsis, completeness, intended meaning.
1. Introduction
La réflexion sur l’ellipse et l’omission en général, loin d’être confinée à
la linguistique contemporaine, remonte aux époques reculées où elle est
rattachée à des problématiques diverses.
Nous avons précisé dans un article en cours de publication1 que, pendant
– l’ellipse peut faire l’objet d’étude de trois disciplines qui traitaient du
langage (la dialectique, la rhétorique, la grammaire) et qui avaient chacune un
point de vue distinct;
– pour les Anciens, elle pouvait représenter une forme d’ambiguïté, un
type d’argumentation, un défaut de l’énoncé, une figure ou un trope. Chacun de
ces points de vue différents a été discuté principalement de l’angle de la
rhétorique et relié à la fois à la grammaire ou à la dialectique.
Université de Bucarest, [email protected]
Il s’agit de « Points de vue rhétoriques sur l’ellipse dans l’Antiquité » (à paraître).
– elle entrait souvent dans un schéma général permettant la description et
le classement des phénomènes linguistiques aux différents niveaux, le schéma
« addition, soustraction, mutation, métathèse ».
Nous voudrions prolonger ici2 nos recherches sur l’ellipse dans le monde
antique, nous concentrant cette fois-ci sur la grammaire.
Comme la dialectique et la rhétorique, celle-ci s’est constituée progressivement
à partir de la fin du Ve siècle avant J.-C. À l’origine enseignement des lettres
(grammata), science de l’assemblage des lettres 3 , liée par la suite à la
philologie4, elle est finalement devenue science de la langue5.
Nous exprimons notre vive et profonde gratitude à Mme le Professeur Alexandra Cuniţă
pour sa relecture attentive et pour ses remarques, qui nous ont été précieuses.
Autrement dit, l’enseignement de la lecture et de l’écriture.
Bien qu’à l’origine l’enseignement grammatical et le travail philologique soient deux
activités distinctes, ils sont envisagés comme deux aspects d’une même discipline, la
grammaire. Ont contribué à cela le fait que les grammairiens, de par leur formation,
étaient les personnes les plus qualifiées pour entreprendre cette activité philologique, ainsi
que la structure de l’enseignement grammatical – l’apprentissage de la lecture et de
l’écriture se faisant sur des textes considérés comme des chefs-d’oeuvre de la tradition
littéraire, notamment les textes homériques –, v. Baratin et Desbordes (1981: 35). Parmi
les grammairiens philologues il conviendrait surtout de mentionner les noms
d’Aristophane de Byzance (v. 257-v.180 av. J.-C.), quatrième bibliothécaire d’Alexandrie,
et d’Aristarque (dont Denys le Thrace fut le disciple).
Certains éléments relevant d’une science du langage se trouvent déjà dans les travaux
philologiques des Alexandrins (ceux-ci s’intéressant à la correction de l’expression,
formulant des règles de régularité flexionnelle, s’appuyant sur des critères tels que
l’analogie, l’étymologie, etc.). C’est dans ce cadre qu’apparaît le Système grammatical
attribué à Denys le Thrace (v. 170-v. 90 av. J.-C.). Celui-ci définit la grammaire comme
« connaissance empirique de ce qui se dit couramment chez les poètes et les prosateurs »
(trad. Jean Lallot (1989), chapitre I – apud Ildefonse (1997: 18)) et affirme que ses parties
sont: (i) « la lecture experte respectueuse des diacritiques »; (ii) l’explication des tropes
poétiques du texte; (iii) « la prompte élucidation des mots rares et des récits »; (iv) la
découverte de l’étymologie; (v) l’établissement de l’analogie; (vi) la critique des poèmes,
« qui est, de toutes les parties de l’art, la plus belle » . (trad. Jean Lallot (1989), chapitre I – apud
Ildefonse (1997: 26)). Une définition ambitieuse, mais en même temps ambiguë, d’où il
ressort que la description de la langue est destinée en fait à l’examen des oeuvres littéraires
grecques. Dans le vif débat très ancien concernant le statut de la grammaire (pour les
uns − pratique empirique, connaissance d’expérience, pour d’autres − un art (Ptolémée le
Péripatéticien) ou bien un art et un savoir (Démétrios Chloros); pour les uns − portant sur
les textes, pour d’autres − sur les expressions des poètes et sur celles d’usage courant
(Démétrios Chloros), ou bien sur « ce qui peut être dit et pensé par des Grecs, à
l’exclusion de ce qui relève d’autres arts » [Charès]), débat qui nous est rapporté plus tard,
au IIe siècle de notre ère, par le sceptique Sextus Empiricus (lui-même formulant ses propres
critiques dans un autre contexte), la conception de la grammaire comme système se
dégage au fur et à mesure (probablement à la charnière du IIe et du Ier siècle avant notre
ère), une grammaire « technique » donc distincte de la grammaire « philologique »
d’Aristarque. (Pour le point de vue de Charès cité ici, v. Contre les grammairiens, 76 de
Sextus Empiricus, dans la traduction de Baratin apud Ildefonse (1997: 18)). On a souvent
reproché aux grammairiens le flou qui persiste dans les définitions de la grammaire,
Les grammairiens de l’Antiquité conçoivent l’ellipse notamment comme
un défaut ou, parfois, comme une figure. Le critère le plus important sur lequel
ils s’appuient est la correction – aspect du langage que la grammaire emprunte à
la rhétorique pour le revendiquer par la suite exclusivement 6 . À celui-ci
s’ajouteront deux autres vertus de l’expression: la clarté et l’ornementation.
Nous allons illustrer leurs points de vue par quatre représentants:
Apollonius Dyscole, Priscien, Donat et, partiellement, Servius. Nous nous
efforcerons également dans cet article de mettre en relation leurs conceptions
avec celles de certains de leurs successeurs, notamment du Moyen Âge.
2. L’ellipse comme uitium
Lorsque le grammairien ancien se décide à parler de l’ellipse, il le fait
d’habitude pour dire qu’il s’agit d’un défaut de l’énoncé. Nous avons montré
dans notre article consacré à l’ellipse en rhétorique qu’un rhéteur comme
Quintilien qui, dans le même ouvrage (Institution Oratoire), traite de la
rhétorique et de la grammaire, mentionne dans son exposé de grammaire le
point de vue des auteurs qui rattachaient l’ellipse à la problématique du
solécisme, la distinguant de celui-ci. Ceux-ci ne retiennent que le critère de la
substitution du modèle d’analyse des ensembles, contestant par conséquent les
trois autres catégories: les fautes faites par addition, par soustraction et par
permutation s’appellent pour eux pléonasme, ellipse ou bien anastrophe.
Chez Donat (IVe siècle ap. J.-C.), qui – comme d’autres artigraphes latins
du III et du IVe siècle tels Sacerdos, Charisius, Diomède – traite dans son
ouvrage des questions de phonétique, de morphologie et de stylistique, l’ellipse
apparaît dans la partie de l’Ars consacrée aux uitia uirtutesque orationis7. Il
l’incertitude quant à l’étendue de son domaine. Pour Sextus Empiricus, qui distingue deux
sens du mot « grammaire » – un sens général (connaissance des lettres) et un sens
spécifique (« grammaire complète, achevée par les disciples de Cratès de Mallos,
d’Aristophane et d’Aristarque » [Contre les gramm., 44], « capacité supérieure à la
première » qui « enquête aussi sur l’invention et la nature » des lettres, « et encore sur les
parties de phrases constituées de ces lettres » [49]) –, la première (la grammatistique) « est
au nombre des choses les plus utiles » [52], alors que la seconde est à réfuter.
Dans les textes rhétoriques, les listes des « qualités du discours » (aretai – en grec,
uirtutes – en latin) peuvent varier parfois d’un auteur à l’autre. Pour Théophraste, par
exemple, il y a quatre vertus qu’on peut envisager séparément (l’hellénisme, la clarté, la
convenance et l’ornement (kataskeuè)); pour les Stoïciens, cinq vertus du langage (l’hellénisme,
la clarté, la brièveté (syntomia), la justesse et l’élégance) et deux vices (le barbarisme et le
solécisme) opposés à la vertu la plus importante, la correction; pour Quintilien, les
qualités du discours sont la correction, la clarté, l’élégance et la convenance; etc.
La place de cette partie est variable: au début (dans le livre I chez Sacerdos), au milieu
(chez Charisius et Diomède), à la fin (chez Donat).
s’agit plus exactement de la troisième partie de son Ars maior8, dont le contenu est
réparti en six chapitres: trois portant sur les écarts considérés comme « mauvais »
(barbarisme; solécisme; autres défauts) et trois autres portant sur les écarts non
répréhensibles, considérés comme « bons » (métaplasme; figure; trope).
Son chapitre intitulé « De ceteris uitiis » rassemble dix défauts (la liste
rappelant également en première position le barbarisme et le solécisme – les
fautes les plus importantes, précédemment discutées):
Les éléments mentionnés ont un caractère hétéroclite, ils relèvent de
diverses qualités du discours comme: la propriété des termes (acyrologia), la
disposition harmonieuse (gr. κατασκευή: cacemphaton; cacosyntheton); la
brièveté (pleonasmos; perissologia; macrologia; tautologia), la clarté (eclipsis;
amphibolia), la convenance (tapinosis). La qualité la mieux illustrée, comme on
peut le remarquer, est la brièveté (gr. συντοµία): quatre défauts s’y rapportent.
L’ellipse (appelée ici eclipsis), occupe la neuvième position dans ce
classement; elle apparaît comme un défaut opposé aux quatre uitia antérieurs
qui représentent des manquements vis-à-vis de la brièveté et désignent des
phénomènes dans une certaine mesure similaires9. Tout comme l’amphibolie,
elle est contraire à la clarté (gr. σαφήνεια, lat. perspicuitas). Donat la définit ainsi:
« Eclipsis est defectus quidam necessariae dictionis, quam desiderat praecisa
sententia, ut haec secum10: deest enim ‘loquebatur’ » (Ars Mai., 659, 6 sq.). La
définition est brève, comme pour les autres éléments de la liste11, cependant
claire: un mot nécessaire au sens n’est pas exprimé.
Il conviendrait de faire ici deux remarques. La première se rapporte à
l’hétérogénéité susmentionnée des divers défauts réunis dans les cetera uitia, ce
qui témoigne du désir des artigraphes latins d’élargir le domaine des tournures
dont ils pouvaient rendre compte. En incorporant ces défauts, ils dépassent le
Ici il sera fait référence à Ars maior III.
Le pléonasme concerne le mot, la périssologie − le groupe de mots, la macrologie porte
sur toute la phrase et la tautologie consiste en une répétition des mêmes mots (v. Holtz
1981/2010: 166).
La première partie de l’exemple emprunté à Virgile (Aen. 1, 37) que Donat ne cite pas est:
« [Cum Iuno aeternum seruans sub pectore uolnus] / Haec secum […] [Quand Junon
gardant au fond de son coeur son éternelle blessure] se <dit> à elle-même[….]] ».
La seule exception à la règle de ce point de vue, c’est l’amphibolie (presque six lignes
sont consacrées à sa définition et à sa typologie).
cadre rigide de la correction et se placent dans un autre, général, d’une analyse
des écarts. Un premier pas en ce sens, observe Baratin (1989: 306), avait été
prudemment fait dans le domaine grec lorsqu’on a ajouté au barbarisme et au
solécisme la catégorie de l’impropriété (akurologia); chez les artigraphes latins, le
phénomène a évolué avec le chapitre des cetera uitia (qui inclut l’impropriété).
La deuxième remarque concerne la manière de procéder des artigraphes,
qui jugent le même phénomène différemment: tantôt comme une faute, tantôt
comme une qualité (figure). Ce flottement doctrinal peut être observé: (i) à
l’intérieur du même ouvrage, aussi bien que (ii) dans des oeuvres différentes.
Le flottement dans le même ouvrage peut être illustré par la façon
particulière dont les artigraphes présentent les défauts et en choisissent les
exemples. Le barbarisme et le solécisme chez Donat, par exemple, ou d’autres
artigraphes latins sont définis l’un comme « una pars orationis uitiosa in
communi sermone »12 et l’autre comme « uitium in contextu partium orationis
contra regulam artis grammaticae factum »13 produit « in prosa oratione »14 mais
sont indiqués en même temps comme changeant de nom chez les poètes: ils
s’appellent alors métaplasme et schema (figure).15 La différence barbarisme /
métaplasme et solécisme / schema reposerait dans ce contexte sur la dichotomie
prose ou langage de tous les jours / vers16. Dans le cas des cetera uitia où se
trouve l’ellipse, les exemples offerts appartiennent également à la poésie, ce qui
signifie qu’il s’agit de tournures excusables en fait.
Le flottement interprétatif chez le même grammairien dans des oeuvres
différentes peut être illustré une fois de plus par Donat, comme nous allons le
préciser au début de la section suivante.
3. De la faute à la figure: le cas de Donat et de Servius
S’il expédie l’ellipse parmi les cetera uitia dans son Ars Maior sans lui
accorder une attention particulière, dans son commentaire de Térence Donat
mentionne en revanche à plusieurs reprises la « figura elleipsis »17, la transformant
ainsi en qualité. Le point de vue du grammairien a changé: il ne s’agit plus de
prescrire des normes, mais de décrire et alors l’ellipse peut s’avérer un
instrument utile dans ses explications, l’aidant à clarifier certaines constructions.
Cf. Ars Mai., 653, 2.
Cf. Ars Mai., 655, 4 sq.
Cf. Ars Mai., 658, 3.
« In poemate metaplasmus » (Ars Mai., 653, 2 sq.) // « Soloecismus […] in poemate
schema nominatur » (658, 3).
La distinction est en fait plus complexe. V. en ce sens Holtz (1981/2010: 147-150, par ex.),
Baratin (1989, deuxième partie).
V. Holtz (1981/2010: 166-167).
Dans son commentaire de Virgile, Servius – grammaticus urbis Romae
comme Donat – recourt lui aussi à l’ellipse. Voici à titre d’exemple quelques
passages empruntés au commentaire du livre IV de l’Aen.:
IV, 675-678 « hoc illud, germana, fuit? me fraude petebas?/hoc rogus iste
mihi, hoc ignes araeque parabant?/quid primum deserta querar? comitemne sororem/
spreuisti moriens? […] »18 ; Servius note à propos de COMITEMNE SOROREM
« deest ‘illudne, quod spreuisti comitem sororem?’ et semiplene loquitur »19.
IV, 678-680 « […] eadem me ad fata uocasses:/idem ambas ferro dolor,
atque eadem hora tulisset./his etiam struxi manibus, patriosque uocaui/uoce deos,
sic te ut posita, crudelis, abessem? […] »20 ; dans le cas de STRUXI MANIBUS,
Servius note « subaudis ‘rogos’ »21. Les commentaires de Servius sont brefs, en général.
Si l’on retourne à Donat et à son Ars Maior, ce ne serait pas sans intérêt
de voir dans ce chapitre la position du grammairien par rapport aux types
d’omissions qui chez Quintilien, par exemple, étaient des figures par detractio
(i.e. l’infinitif de narration, l’epezeugmenon, l’asyndète).
Certaines des omissions de cette catégorie relevées par le rhéteur se
retrouvent symétriquement chez Donat dans le chapitre « De schematibus »22
(Sur les figures du langage). Dans sa liste contenant dix-sept figures, des figures
relevant pour la plupart des modes adiectio et detractio:
1. prolempsis;
2. zeugma;
3. hypozeuxis;
4. syllempsis;
5. anadiplosis;
6. anaphora;
7. epanalempsis;
8. epizeuxis;
9. paronomasia;
schesis onomaton;
dialyton uel asyndeton.
« O sister, was this your meaning? Did you practice thus to deceive me? Was this what I
had to expect from that pyre, those fires and altars? Abandoned! Where shall I begin to
complain? Did you disdain a sister for your companion in death? » (apud McDonough,
Prior and Stansbury 2004: 143).
677. A SISTER FOR YOUR COMPANION. This is missing because she speaks incompletely:
« What is the reason that you disdained a sister for your companion? » (cf. McDonough,
Prior and Stansbury 2004: 143).
« Had you invited me to the same fate, one distress and one hour had snatched us both
away by the sword. [680] Did I raise [that pyre] with these very hands, and with my voice
invoke our country’s gods that I should cruelly absent myself from you, thus stretched out
upon it” » (apud McDonough, Prior and Stansbury 2004: 143).
680. DID I RAISE WITH THESE VERY HANDS supply “pyres” (v. McDonough, Prior
and Stansbury 2004: 143).
Chapitre au début duquel Donat précise: « Schemata lexeos sunt et dianoeas, sed schemata
dianoeas ad oratores pertinent, ad grammaticos lexeos » (cf. Ars Mai., 663, 5 sq.).
réapparaissent le zeugma et l’asyndète. L’artigraphe envisage l’un comme
adaptation sans distorsion d’un terme à plusieurs syntagmes23 (par exemple,
l’association du verbe sentis à des compléments antéposés dans: Troiugena
interpres diuum, qui numina Phoebi, / Qui tripodas, Clari laurus, qui sidera
sentis24) et l’autre comme absence de tout coordonnant (comme dans: Ite, /
ferte citi flammas, date tela, impellite remos 25 ). Le grammaticus les inclut
dans sa liste de figures de langage – liste qui renferme pour lui les éléments
qu’il estime comme les plus importants; comme d’habitude, il les définit
brièvement, la perspective étant celle de l’école de grammaire (i.e.
l’explication des poètes).
4. Ellipse et pathologie du langage chez Apollonius Dyscole et Priscien
4.1. Apollonius Dyscole
L’ellipse apparaît souvent chez le grammairien alexandrin Apollonius
Dyscole (IIe siècle ap. J.-C.), comme d’ailleurs le verbe leίpein « faire défaut,
manquer » et d’autres mots de la même famille.
Son étude est placée sous le signe de la pathologie du langage, entre la
théorie pathologique et la syntaxe existant – dans la conception d’Apollonius –
un rapport d’analogie étroite.26 Le grammairien affirme au début du livre I de la
Syntaxe que les différents niveaux d’analyse de la langue (lettre, syllabe, mot,
phrase) peuvent être tous affectés par diverses altérations (redoublement,
pléonasme, manque, dissociation et unification, transposition). En procédant de
la sorte, il s’évertue à « fonder en droit, en prenant appui sur une pathologie
phonétique tenue pour indiscutable, la légitimité d’une théorie syntaxique
analogiste dans laquelle la pathologie jouera, pour la description des
constructions, un rôle régulateur identique à celui qui est le sien dans la
description des formes » (cf. Lallot 1997: 54). La recherche de la régularité est
poursuivie à deux niveaux: le niveau de la « logique de la langue » (lógos)27 et
le niveau de la « pathologie »28. Appliquée au niveau syntaxique, la pathologie
Zeugma est unius uerbi conclusio diuersis clausulis apte coniuncta (Ars Mai., 663, 13).
« Fils de Troie, interprète des dieux, toi qui perçois les volontés de Phébus, le trépied
prophétique, le laurier de l’hôte de Claros, les étoiles » (Virgile, Aen., 3, 359-360).
L’exemple continue chez Virgile par des compléments postposés au même verbe.
« allez, apportez vite des flammes, donnez des traits, faites force de rames! » (Virgile,
Aen., 4, 593-594).
Nous nous inspirons dans ce paragraphe de Lallot (1997: 53-54).
Celui-ci établit des règles de congruence et assigne une forme de base aux phrases.
C’est le niveau des formes déviantes qui s’écartent de la forme de base et qu’on ne
distingue pas des formes et des tours fautifs, mais qui néanmoins ne sont ni rejetées, ni
condamnées, parce qu’acceptées par l’usage.
revêt la forme d’une théorie des figures (skhḗmata). Celles-ci sont pour Apollonius:
le pléonasme, l’ellipse, l’hyperbate et l’hypallage ou l’énallage.
L’ellipse, en tant que défection, est décrite comme une « altération
opposée » au pléonasme 29 , consistant non pas dans la présence d’éléments
superflus comme celui-ci, mais en l’absence d’éléments qui devraient se
retrouver dans la phrase. Les deux phénomènes doivent être compris par rapport
à la forme de base non altérée « intégrale » (φωνὴ ὁλόκληρος), « pleine ».
Celle-ci « préexiste toujours à la forme altérée » (v. Syntaxe, II, § 93) et est seule en
mesure de nous aider à reconnaître un excès ou un défaut (v. S., II, § 79).
Le verbe elleίpein appliqué à la description de la phrase sert à exprimer
l’incomplétude, une lacune qui existe dans la phrase:
L’ordre en question est à l’image de la phrase complète: il place en tête le nom, suivi du
verbe, ce qui est tout à fait pertinent puisque aucune phrase ne saurait être achevée sans
eux. On peut le prouver en partant d’une construction contenant toutes les parties de
phrase: que l’on en supprime le nom ou le verbe, la phrase devient inachevée, mais si l’on
supprime tous les autres mots, elle ne présente absolument pas de lacune (S., I, § 14).
Le nom et le verbe que le grammairien qualifie par la suite comme étant
« les plus ‘animées’ » parties de phrase (v. S., I, § 30) s’avèrent ainsi nécessaires à
former une phrase complète30.
Lorsqu’Apollonius discute ailleurs la question de la complétude de
l’énoncé verbo-nominal, il emploie le verbe λείπει (il manque) à propos des
verbes transitifs construits sans complément essentiel: « aucun cas direct ne
donne une [phrase] complète bien formée sans un verbe, et un verbe qui ne
réclame pas en plus un cas oblique: hoûtos peripateî [‘celui-ci marche’] est
complet, mais non hoûtos bláptei [‘celui-ci nuit’], car il manque celui à qui [on
nuit] » (cf. S., III, § 8). Plus loin, dans le même livre, dans la présentation des
transitifs et des intransitifs, il revient avec la précision que l’emploi des verbes
transitifs sans autre cas que le cas direct « aboutit forcément à la
demi-complétude: Trúphōn bláptei [‘Tryphon nuit’], trúphōn phileî [‘Tryphon
aime’]. C’est pourquoi les Stoïciens appellent de tels [verbes] ‘moins que
prédicats’, par comparaison avec ceux qui ont un sens complet sans aucunement
exiger de cas oblique » (v. S., III, §155). Apollonius évoque ici 31 la
classification des prédicats dans la dialectique stoïcienne, classification qu’on
connaît à travers les témoignages de Diogène Laërce, d’Ammonius et de
Cf. Syntaxe, I, § 5. [Abrégé S.]
La tradition philosophique avait déjà mis en évidence l’importance du nom et du verbe
pour former une phrase (v. Platon, le Sophiste; Aristote; les Stoïciens).
Comme la discussion d’Apollonius de la typologie stoïcienne continue ailleurs, nous
l’avons limitée ici au passage choisi.
Porphyre. Le texte d’Apollonius, plus précisément, est à mettre en relation avec
la typologie rapportée par Porphyre32:
le prédicat est prédiqué soit d’un nom, soit d’un cas, et chacun des prédicats ainsi obtenus
est soit complet en tant que prédicat et suffit avec le sujet à former une déclaration, soit
incomplet et a besoin qu’on lui ajoute quelque chose pour donner un prédicat complet. Si
donc quelque chose est prédiqué d’un nom et donne une déclaration, cela s’appelle chez
eux ‘prédicat’ (κατηγόρηµα) ou ‘accident’ (σύµβαµα) (les deux mots ont le même sens);
c’est le cas de περιπατεĩ [marche] dans « Socrate marche » (Σωκράτης περιπατεĩ). Si
(quelque chose est prédiqué) d’un cas [et donne une déclaration, cela s’appelle]
‘quasi-accident’ (παρασύµβαµα), comme qui dirait proche de l’accident et formant
comme un quasi-prédicat (παρακατηγόρηµα); c’est le cas de ‘il y a regret’ (µεταµέλει)
dans « il y a regret pour Socrate » (Σωκράτει µεταµέλει). […] si ce qui est prédiqué d’un nom
a besoin de l’ajout d’un cas pour donner une déclaration, on l’appelle ‘moins-que-prédicat’;
c’est le cas de ‘aime’ (φιλεĩ) ou ‘veut du bien’ (εὐνοεĩ) dans ‘Platon aime’ (Πλάτων
φιλεĩ) (si on ajoute le (nom de) quelqu’un, mettons ‘Dion (acc.)’ (∆ίωνα)), cela donne
une déclaration déterminée: « Platon aime Dion » (Πλάτων φιλεĩ ∆ίωνα); si c’est ce qui
est prédiqué d’un cas qui a besoin de se construire avec un autre cas oblique pour donner
une déclaration, on l’appelle ‘moins-que-quasi-accident’; c’est le cas de ‘il y a souci’
(µέλει) dans « il y a souci d’Alcibiade pour Socrate, Socrate se soucie d’Alcibiade »
(Σωκράτει (dat.) ̉Αλκιβιάδου (gén.) µέλει). Ils appellent tout cela des verbes. (apud
Ammonius, Comm. in Ar. De Int., Busse, p. 44, 19 - 45,9 -> cf. Ildefonse (1997: 151-152).
La typologie stoïcienne sophistiquée des prédicats relève de la syntaxe
des lekta (si l’on peut s’exprimer ainsi) et envisage les prédicats comme des
lekta33 (λεκτὰ dits) incomplets. Apollonius s’en sert dans une certaine mesure
pour décrire la construction des verbes et, dans le cas des verbes transitifs sans
complément d’objet, pour montrer qu’ils ressemblent aux intransitifs à cet égard
et qu’ils n’auront pas de passif dans cette situation précise34.
Les exemples qu’Apollonius discute à propos de l’ellipse nous font
comprendre que l’énoncé diagnostiqué comme étant elliptique a – en dépit de sa
forme – un sens clair: les mots ellipsés, explique le grammairien, sont suppléés
mentalement, on les « tire du contexte »35 (v. S., II, § 92)36. Il s’agit, par exemple:
On pourrait considérer, à l’instar de Baratin (1989: 385-386), que l’exposé de Diogène
Laërce (VII, 58) est fait selon la catégorie de la personne; que la typologie évoquée par
Apollonius et par Porphyre (cité par Ammonius) dépend de la catégorie de la valence,
alors que les types de prédicats mentionnés par Diogène Laërce (VII, 64) dépendent de la
catégorie de la diathèse. Pour une critique de l’application des concepts grammaticaux qui
n’étaient pas fixés à l’époque de la logique stoïcienne, v. toutefois Ildefonse (1997: 153-155).
Terme défini différemment par les auteurs et suscitant diverses controverses. Il a été
traduit par « dit », « exprimable », « énonçable ».
V. la discussion ci-dessous à propos des verbes « auto-passifs ».
Pour la traduction du terme logos ici et dans d’autres passages de la Syntaxe par contexte,
on se rapportera à Lallot (1983: 15) et Ildefonse (1997: 468-469).
Ailleurs, Apollonius note: « les mots ellipsés ont une présence virtuelle, révélée par les
exigences de la phrase » (S., I, § 42).
(i) de divers emplois homériques sans article devant álloi « autres ».
Apollonius énonce comme règle la présence de l’article auprès de álloi lorsque
celui-ci « embrasse entièrement la pluralité visée tout en en isolant une partie »
comme dans hoi mèn álloi Héllēnes dasúnousi tà en tēi léxei phōnḗenta, Aioleîs
dè mónoi psiloûsi [‘les autres Grecs aspirent les voyelles (à l’initiale) des mots,
seuls les Éoliens ont des non aspirées’]; il considère alors que dans le reste des
cas álloi « ignorera absolument l’emploi de l’article » parce que
« l’indétermination fait obstacle à l’insertion des articles » (cf. S., I, § 63). La
phrase contenant Hoi álloi indique dans l’exemple cité l’existence d’un
ensemble d’individus [= les Grecs], l’emploi de álloi37 se rattachant à l’un des
sous-ensembles distingués (i.e. le reste des Grecs par opposition aux Éoliens).
En revanche, dans un exemple comme le suivant: Ø38 állois anthrṓpois homílei,
mḕ toîs perì Trúphōna [‘fréquente d’autres hommes, mais pas les disciples de
Tryphon’], écrit Apollonius, álloi « n’embrasse pas tous les hommes »; aucun
besoin donc d’ajouter l’article.
(ii) du cas spécial de certains verbes suivis d’un Accusatif qui n’ont pas
de passif comme les verbes de la catégorie construite typiquement avec l’Accusatif.
Il s’agit des verbes sémantiquement « auto-passifs » tels phríssein ‘frissonner’,
trémein ‘trembler’; ceux-ci, bien qu’ils n’expriment aucune activité, apparaissent
parfois avec un Accusatif (phríssō se litt. ‘je te frissonne’ = je frissonne de peur
devant toi, trémō se litt. ‘je te (acc.) tremble’ = je tremble de peur devant toi)
comme les verbes suivis normalement d’un Accusatif (dérō se ‘je te rosse’,
hubrízō se ‘je te maltraite’), lesquels expriment une activité qui passe d’un
agent à un patient, susceptible d’être formulée également au passif. Apollonius
recourt ici à une explication par l’ellipse (il y a ellipse de la préposition diá ‘au
travers (de)’ dans les constructions avec les verbes auto-passifs, la forme pleine
de la construction étant: phríssō dìa sé ‘je frissonne à cause de toi’, trémō dìa sé
‘je tremble à cause de toi’)39; « en tirant, moyennant ellipse de diá, l’accusatif
vers l’expression de la cause, il le soustrait à sa fonction ordinaire de terme de la
transitivité » (cf. Lallot 1997: 259, n. 403).
(iii) de l’existence des cas directs homophones du vocatif, ainsi que de
l’homophonie des formes de 2e personne du pluriel et du duel de l’impératif
présent avec celles de l’indicatif. S’appuyant sur la constatation de l’association
des cas directs avec l’indicatif et des vocatifs avec l’impératif, il explique
qu’une forme verbale homophone du type indiqué comme dianoeîsthe peut
correspondre à l’indicatif (‘vous pensez’) ou à l’impératif présent (‘pensez!’).
Inséré dans une construction comme hoi ánthrōpoi dianoeîsthe ‘les hommes
vous pensez’, dianoeîsthe ne doit pas être pris pour un impératif exprimant une
Álloi ressemble en ce sens au fr. les autres.
Symbole utilisé par le traducteur pour indiquer l’endroit où Apollonius identifie une
absence de l’article.
Cf. S., III, § 166.
injonction, mais pour un indicatif (il « renvoie à l’existence de la réflexion en
chacun »), l’article hoi fonctionnant comme indice du cas direct40. En lui ajoutant  ‘ô’,
dianoeîsthe sera cependant pris pour un impératif ( ánthrōpoi dianoeîsthe ‘ô
hommes, pensez!’ (v. S., III, § 117). D’après le même modèle, une forme nominale
homophone comme Helikṓn ‘Hélicon N. et Voc.’ peut être désambiguïsée par le
raisonnement suivant: si on lui ajoute un indicatif, l’on obtiendra une
construction dont le nom est au cas direct (Helikṑn gráphei ‘Hélicon dessine’),
mais si on lui ajoute un impératif, on aura une construction au vocatif (Helik n
gráphe ‘Hélicon, dessine!’, cf. S., III, § 118). Apollonius envisage la complétude
(αὐτοτέλεια) comme un indice du vocatif dans Helikṓn ‘Hélicon (Voc.)’, alors
que dans le cas de la forme nominale employée seule au nominatif il postule une
ellipse du verbe qui atteste la présence du cas direct (v. S., III, § 119).
Le grammairien est soucieux de distinguer les situations du genre
précédent d’autres situations où, selon lui, l’on a de prétendues ellipses. C’est le
cas, par exemple, des verbes à la 1ère et à la 2e personne employés sans pronom
sujet. Rejetant le point de vue de ceux qui y voyaient une ellipse, il s’appuie sur
la notion de signifié conjoint (paruphistamenon) d’une forme, i.e. un contenu de
pensée qui s’ajoute au signifié propre de la forme, donc une « sursignification
présente dans un terme, sans qu’elle soit marquée par un signifiant autonome »
(cf. Ildefonse 1997: 350), pour affirmer la présence dans certaines parties de
phrase de signifiés conjoints correspondant à d’autres parties de phrase41.
Dans la situation concrète du verbe, les signifiés qui lui sont conjoints
sont, par exemple: l’idée d´« indication » pour un verbe à l’indicatif et « le
signifié d’affirmation qui en découle », le nombre, le cas direct du pronom (cf.
S., II, § 51). La forme gráphō ‘(j’)écris’ inclut ainsi le nombre singulier et la première
personne; par conséquent, il n’y a pas d’ellipse du pronom eg. Si l’on dit egṑ
gráphō ‘moi j’écris’42 ou egṑ mèn paregenómēn, sù d’oú ‘moi, de mon côté, je
me présentai, mais toi non’43, il n’y a cependant pas de « vice d’expression ».
De la même façon, on dit en tournure absolue philolog ‘(j’)étudie’, philologeîs
‘(tu) étudies’, alors que si « on veut mettre en évidence une comparaison avec
quelqu’un d’autre, on va chercher le pronom, qui a en propre d’exprimer
l’opposition entre les personnes; il est clair en effet que nous ne l’employons pas
pour distinguer la personne, puisque cela le verbe le fait aussi » (cf. S., II, § 52).
Exemple qui paraît contredire la position d’Apollonius esquissée dans le livre II, §§ 40 et
46, où il parlait de l’impossibilité d’employer des noms comme sujets des verbes à la
première et à la deuxième personne. Dans *Apollṓnios gráphō ‘Apollonios j’écris’ on
aura donc une incongruence des personnes; en revanche, dans Apollṓnios gráphei
‘Apollonios écrit’, la phrase est congruente (cf. S., II, § 46).
V. S., II, § 50.
V. S., II, § 52.
Cf. S., II, § 49.
La situation discutée est valable pour les deux premières personnes du
verbe; à la troisième personne, il faut toutefois joindre au verbe soit le pronom
lui-même, soit le nom que celui-ci remplace, en raison de l’indétermination des
troisièmes personnes qui « sont en nombre infini » et « doivent se contenter
d’une unique construction verbale »44. Un mot unique s’applique donc − dans la
conception d’Apollonius − « à un nombre infini de personnes » et a donc « une
signification personnelle indéterminée, la pensée se tournant vers une pluralité
[de personnes possibles] » (v. S., II, § 56) Il faudra dire alors: gráphei hóde ou
hoûtos/ekeînos/autós ‘celui-ci/celui-là/lui-même écrit’.
Apollonius souligne le fait que l’ellipse de mots peut relever de la licence
poétique, mais peut aussi exister dans le langage courant (v. S., III, § 166).
Lorsqu’il est question des critères de la forme pleine, il identifie le lógos (la
raison linguistique) comme le principal critère: les constructions doivent toutes
obéir à une logique du système, que l’analyse dégagera. À ce principe de
rationalité, il ajoute deux autres éléments sur lesquels on peut se baser dans le
jugement de celles-ci: « la phraséologie [de la langue] commune dans son
ensemble » (hē koinḕ phrásis) et « la composition soignée des prosateurs »
(cf. S., II, § 49).
4.2. Priscien
Une démarche similaire à celle d’Apollonius existe chez Priscien
(Ve-VIe s. ap. J.-C.). Au début du livre XVII45 de ses Institutiones Grammaticae,
celui-ci affirme qu’il continuera à suivre les traces du grammairien grec, sans
exclure toutefois le recours à d’autres auteurs, latins ou grecs.
À l’instar de son prédécesseur, Priscien envisage la grammaire technique
comme une discipline mise au service de la philologie, cependant – à la
différence d’Apollonius qui conçoit l’exposition de son sujet comme étant
« absolument nécessaire à l’explication des textes poétiques »46 –, pour lui cela
s’avère « absolument indispensable à l’explication de texte, de quelque auteur
que ce soit » 47.
Il reprend au début du livre XVII l’idée d’Apollonius – exposée dès le
commencement de la Syntaxe – d’homologie entre les niveaux de l’analyse de la
langue mise en évidence par les altérations qui les affectent: les phénomènes qui
affectent le mot et l’énoncé sont similaires à ceux qui affectent les lettres
Cf. S., II, 56.
Ce livre est consacré à la construction des mots.
Cf. S., I § 1.
V. livre XVII, S., I, 108.8.
et les syllabes. On aura ainsi redoublement, superfluité, manque, scission et
agrégation, transposition48.
Dans la catégorie des altérations par « manque » (passiones per
defectionem), les exemples pour les niveaux supérieurs sont hétérogènes:
• Le défaut d’un mot est illustré, entre autres, par l’omission de quam
(dans urbs antiqua fuit, Tyrii tenuere coloni [il y eut jadis une ville, <qu’>
habitèrent des colons tyriens, Virg. Én. 1, 12]) ou d’un verbe (comme dicebat
dans haec secum: mene incepto desistere uictam? [elle se <disait> ces mots:
moi, abandonner mon dessein, vaincue? Virg. Én. 1, 37]) (cf. livre XVII,
110.20-24). Le deuxième exemple reproduit ici a été déjà cité à propos de Donat
(pour l’artigraphe latin, il représentait la seule illustration de l’eclipsis49).
• Le manque dans l’énoncé peut se produire:
– lorsqu’il manque à plusieurs éléments une construction d’énoncé
complet (comme chez Térence dans l’Eunuque50: egone illam, quae
illum, quae me, quae non! ‘moi je la…! elle qui le…! qui me…! qui
ne…!’ (Eun. 65) où l’énoncé complet serait: egone illam digner
aduentu meo, quae illum praeposuit mihi, quae me non suscepit heri!
‘moi je la jugerais digne de recevoir ma visite! elle qui l’a préféré à
moi! qui moi ne m’a pas reçu hier!’) ou
– lorsque « ce qui n’est dit qu’une fois est compris deux fois ou
advantage » (comme dans magna uiris gloria est prudentia et
fortitudo et pudicitia et iustitia ‘c’est une grande gloire pour les
hommes que la sagesse, et le courage, et l’honneur, et la justice’ où,
à chaque fois, on sous-entend magna uiris gloria est) (cf. livre XVII,
111.10 sq.).
D’autres cas d’ellipse évoqués par Priscien se rattachent :
(i) à certains adverbes. L’adverbe, explique Priscien, est dépourvu
d’autonomie (en l’absence d’un sens complet, il doit s’appuyer sur un verbe ou
un participe ayant la valeur d’un verbe); s’il est vrai que parfois il peut
apparaître seul dans l’énoncé, il faudrait ne pas perdre de vue le fait qu’il doit
être mis en relation soit avec ce qu’on vient de dire (dans les couples questionréponse), soit avec une action en cours. C’est par rapport aux adverbes du
dernier type que Priscien pose le problème de l’ellipse:
Sans doute une personne donnée peut-elle énoncer des adverbes tout seuls, mais alors
forcément ou bien ils renvoient à des verbes précédemment énoncés par une autre
Le schéma de Priscien, comme celui d’Apollonius, est plus riche, plus complexe par
rapport au schéma classique « addition, soustraction, mutation et métathèse », les deux
grammairiens discutant également le problème de l’incorrection, de la pré-position, de
l’autonomie ou de la dépendance, de l’ordre des éléments (v., par exemple, Groupe Ars
Grammatica 2010: 67, n. 7).
V. la section 2.
V. livre XVII, 111.5 sq.
personne, par exemple si l’on me demande bona est superbia? [‘l’orgueil est-il un bien?’]
et que je réponde non [non]; ou bien ils sont énoncés dans un tour elliptique, par exemple
si dans une lecture publique je m’écrie: bene, diserte, eloquenter [‘bien, joliment,
éloquemment’], où l’on sous-entend à chaque fois dicis [‘tu parles’]. De même, si je dis
non malus homo, qui pro uiribus suis subuenit clientibus [pas mauvais, l’homme qui selon
ses moyens assiste ses clients], je sous-entends est. On trouve beaucoup d’autres tournures
où cette figure permet d’employer des adverbes sans verbes ou participes, comme Virgile
en I: genus unde Latinum [‘de là le peuple latin’, Én., I, 6]: est est sous-entendu.51
Cette position de Priscien peut être interprétée comme témoignant d’une
analyse de l’énoncé complet dans une perspective étroite: celui-ci est identifié
grâce à une structure formelle précise, qui consiste en la combinaison d’un nom
/ ou d’un pronom et d’un verbe.
Au début du livre XVII, en revanche, sa perspective s’élargit: le critère
servant à déterminer la complétude de l’énoncé est l’intelligibilité52. Comparant
alors les mots aux éléments, Priscien souligne que, à l’instar des voyelles qui à
elles seules « constituent pleinement de la voix », certains mots peuvent être
dits seuls53; tel est le cas des verbes à l’impératif, « souvent des noms et des
pronoms au vocatif », des adverbes « qu’on lance à la suite de quelque chose
qui vient de se faire ou de se dire, quand nous nous écrions «bien! juste!
joliment!» à l’intention de ceux qui font ou disent quelque chose d’opportun ».
D’autres parties du discours, en revanche, comme les conjonctions et les
prépositions se comportent comme des consonnes qui nécessitent l’appui des
voyelles pour être prononcées: elles sont toujours consignifiantes, ne signifiant
qu’en combinaison avec d’autres mots54.
(ii) à l’analyse de qui. Employé comme anaphorique, il peut apparaître
souvent, souligne Priscien, « avec ellipse des autres mots à cas »55 comme dans
uenit cuius causa est ‘il se présente, lui dont c’est le procès’ où il manque iste,
i.e. uenit <iste> cuius causa est, ou dans ita tum discedo ab illo, ut qui se filiam/neget
daturum ‘je le quitte alors, comme un qui a dans l’idée de me refuser sa fille’
(Térence, Andrienne, 148-149) où « il manque en effet ut ab eo qui neget ».
(iii) à la discussion de qualis, quantus et quot:
il est fréquent qu’on trouve les anaphoriques qualis, quantus et quot avec ellipse de talis,
tantus et tot. Rien d’étonnant à ce qu’avec l’expression des anaphoriques, qui signifient
un second niveau de connaissance, on comprenne aussi les termes antécédents, voire
corrélatifs, même s’ils ne sont pas explicites, par exemple dans qualis Homerus, fuit
Vergilius ‘quel <fut> Homère, <tel> fut Virgile’ (v. livre XVII, 128.16 sq.).
Cf. livre XV (De Adverbio), 62.19 sq.
V. en ce sens Baratin (1989), troisième partie.
V. livre XVII, 114.10 sq.
Pour un passage similaire, v. Apollonius, Syntaxe, I, § 12 (analogie entre les parties de
phrase et les éléments). Les exemples de Priscien en matière d’adverbes reprennent en fait
ceux d’Apollonius: bene ‘très bien’, recte ‘juste’, diserte ‘bien’.
V. livre XVII, 128.8 sq.
Priscien illustre dans ce passage l’une des deux constructions possibles
de talis avec qualis (1. talis … qualis… avec talis = antecedens par rapport à
qualis; ou 2. qualis … talis… avec talis « corrélatif » (redditiuum)), celle avec
talis corrélatif, i.e. qualis Homerus, <talis> fuit Vergilius56.
(iv) à qualis et quantus en emploi indéfini, par exemple, situation où il
est possible de trouver une ellipse des formes du verbe « être » comme dans o
qualis facies et quali digna tabella ‘ô quelle étrange figure, et digne de quel
tableau!’ (Juvénal, Sat., 10, 157)57.
Lorsqu’il discute la place qui revient au pronom dans la hiérarchie des
parties du discours (le pronom trouvant sa place après le verbe), il insiste sur le
fait que les verbes « s’interprètent de manière absolue quand ils indiquent par
eux-mêmes les personnes qui s’entendent au nominatif: quand on dit en effet
ambulo ‘je marche’ ou scribo ‘j’écris’, on ne se détermine pas par opposition à
une autre personne. » (cf. livre XVII, 118.14 sq.). L’emploi des pronoms de
première et de deuxième personne au nominatif est associé à une opposition par
rapport à une autre personne (« si je dis ego et tu intellegimus ‘toi et moi nous
comprenons’, sans rien ajouter, c’est par opposition à tous les autres. »
Apollonius Dyscole, nous le rappelons, rattachait les cas de ce genre aux
signifiés conjoints 58 . Plus loin, Priscien revient à ce problème mentionnant
l’ellipse dans sa discussion de la construction des pronoms avec les verbes et
dans son analyse du vocatif. Dans le premier cas, il souligne que:
Les verbes en effet n’ont pas besoin à tout coup de pronoms. Ce qui le confirme, ce n’est
pas seulement la construction des poètes, où l’ellipse et la redondance sont autorisées,
mais la manière habituelle de parler des gens instruits, et par dessus tout la construction
des prosateurs, car, du fait qu’ils écrivent en dehors du cadre métrique, ils recourent
davantage à une construction raisonnée et, se réglant sur la valeur de la langue elle-même,
ne mettent que ce qui est nécessaire (v. livre XVII, 155.10-15)
Si Apollonius prenait comme repère ferme le logos auquel il rattachait
deux autres critères de correction (la phraséologie de la langue commune et la
composition soignée des prosateurs), Priscien – qui cite d’abord les emplois
poétiques à caractère exceptionnel – met au premier plan l’usage des gens
instruits et l’usage des auteurs de prose, ces gens étant tous censés recourir à
une « construction raisonnée » et se régler « sur la valeur de la langue ».
Dans son analyse du vocatif, mentionnant la possibilité d’employer des
vocatifs indépendamment d’un verbe de la deuxième personne, Priscien attire
V. Groupe Ars Grammatica (2010: 113, n. 81).
V. livre XVII, 153.18-20.
Gráphō « inclut aussi le cas direct du pronom ; si donc il est vrai que, du fait des signifiés
conjoints, les mots dont nous venons de parler ne sont pas ellipsés, gráphō lui non plus
n’est pas elliptique du pronom eg. » (Syntaxe, II, § 51)
l’attention sur le fait qu’un verbe de deuxième personne ne peut être employé
sans nominatif, sauf ellipse:
Il faut aussi savoir que nous employons souvent des vocatifs indépendamment de
verbes de la 2 e personne, comme dans miror te Vergili, intellego te Homere [‘je
t’admire, Virgile!/je te comprends, Homère!’], tandis qu’à cette même 2 e personne,
nous n’énonçons jamais, sauf ellipse, de nominatifs sans verbe, comme dans bonus
es, Apollonius nominaris [‘tu es bon/ tu t’appelles Apollonius’] (livre XVII,
L’ellipse refait surface d’une façon ou d’une autre dans la présentation
des figures que Priscien subsume à la variatio.
Il faudrait préciser d’abord que, à la différence d’Apollonius, le
grammairien de Constantinople ne voit plus dans la figure une faute qui n’est
pas condamnée parce qu’elle est admise par l’usage59; au contraire, Priscien la
conçoit ici60 comme un manquement au principe de la consequentia, comme
une rupture d’un alignement « morphologique »61, qui n’échappe point à la ratio,
ratio qui, dans son système, est double (ratio dictionum et ratio sensus). Une
tournure intelligible qui ne peut être expliquée par la logique des formes sera
prise en charge par la logique du sens.
Plusieurs figures sont responsables, selon Priscien, des manquements
à la consequentia; elles sont subsumées à la figure générique de la variatio.
Cette figure
que les Grecs appellent alloiotês, c’est-à-dire la variation, que ce soit:
− la prolêpsis ou la sullêpsis, c’est-à-dire l’anticipation ou l’englobement,
− le zeugma, c’est-à-dire l’adjonction,
− la coïncidence, que les Grecs appellent sunemptôsis, ou la mutation casuelle,
c’est-à-dire l’antiptôsis,
fait que des nombres différents, des genres différents, et des cas, des temps et des
personnes différents se trouvent associés non seulement quand il y a transition ou
réflexion, mais même intransitivement. (v. livre XVII, 183.21-184.4)
La présentation des figures ressemble à ce qu’on trouve dans le domaine
rhétorique chez certains rhéteurs, tel Quintilien62.
Le couple de la faute et de la faute excusable ne disparaît toutefois pas complètement chez
Priscien (v. Baratin (1989)).
Dans le livre XVII.
V. Groupe Ars Grammatica (2010: 28).
Celui-ci, nous le rappelons, introduit à l’intérieur du couple principal figures de mots/
figures de pensée, une nouvelle opposition en sous-divisant les figures de mots en:
1. figures de genre « grammatical » et 2. figures de genre « rhétorique ». C’est des figures
de genre grammatical qui ont les mêmes sources que les défauts et qui peuvent être
employées en autant de manières qu’il y a de solécismes (cf. I.O. IX, 3, 10) qu’il faudrait
rapprocher la variatio de Priscien. Dans les classifications de certains traités rhétoriques,
ces figures sont présentes sans porter de nom (v. en ce sens Baratin 1989, troisième partie,
L’espace limité dont nous disposons ici ne nous permet d’insister que sur
l’importance de ce texte de Priscien, celui-ci s’avérant particulièrement
important dans l’élaboration de la notion de figure de construction63.
À l’intérieur du cadre de l’alloiotês, le manque est invoqué dans
l’examen des figures par catégorie de mots 64 , où, pour la préposition et la
conjonction, il représente une forme de réalisation possible (la soustraction) à
côté de l’addition (redondance) ou de la substitution. La préposition manque,
par exemple, chez Virgile en IX dans: euolat infelix et femineo ululatu,/scissa
comam, muros amens atque agmina cursu/prima petit ‘elle vole au dehors,
l’infortunée, et avec le hurlement des femmes, arrachant ses cheveux, elle gagne
en courant, éperdue, les murs et les premières lignes’ (Én. 9, 477-479). Priscien
note « deest cum: cum ululatu » (cf. 195.13-17). Les conjonctions manquent,
comme chez Virgile dans l’Énéide IV: ferte citi flammas, date tela, impellite
remos ‘apportez vite des torches, donnez des traits, poussez sur les rames!’
(Én. 4, 594)65 ; cf. 196.14-15.
L’on observe également parmi les figures subsumées à la variatio le
zeugme, que Priscien appelle également « adjonction »66.
Les manques illustrés dans cette sous-section consacrée à Priscien sont
hétérogènes. Certains peuvent intéresser la syntaxe (ayant une structure
syntaxique définie), alors que d’autres échappent à celle-ci (les éléments à
rétablir dépendent alors de l’interprétation du grammairien). Relève de cette
dernière catégorie ce qui est appelé aposiopèse et est jugé comme le résultat
d’une interruption du locuteur (v. en ce sens l’exemple de Térence Eun. 65 cité
à propos du manque qui existe dans l’énoncé).
Holtz 1981/2010). Bien que se délimitant de la sorte par rapport aux textes grammaticaux
antérieurs dont les auteurs distinguaient les figures-uitia (similaires au solécismes, mais
excusables) et les figures-uirtutes (provenant de l’étude de l’ornementation), la démarche
de Priscien – par rapport à l’histoire du courant grammatical – représente non « pas une
rupture, mais le degré supplémentaire d’une évolution qui voit l’analyse de la correction
progressivement saturée par la description des figures – souligne Baratin (1989: 453).
Priscien résout en somme la contradiction si caractéristique du courant artigraphe, où il est
toujours annoncé qu’il va être question de fautes, mais où il n’est jamais traité que de
tours qui ne sont pas considérés comme de véritables fautes mais comme des figures.
Priscien annonce directement des figures. »
Cf. Colombat (1993: 26), Groupe Ars Grammatica (2010: 45-47; 243 n. 306).
Dans l’exposé sur les variations de Priscien on trouve (i) des variations de traits (dirions-nous,
i.e. le nombre, le genre, le cas, le temps, la personne, l’espèce); (ii) des variations de
catégories de mots [= emploi d’une partie du discours à la place d’une autre]; (iii) un
examen des figures par catégories de mots (v. Baratin 1989, troisième partie).
Exemple que Donat citait pour illustrer l’asyndète (v. la section 3 ci-dessus).
Pour l’emploi du terme latin adiunctio tantôt comme équivalent du terme grec zeugma, tantôt
comme signifiant « addition, adjonction », v. le Groupe Ars Grammatica (2010: 42-43).
5. De quelques échos des conceptions des grammairiens antiques
sur l’ellipse à l’époque du Moyen Âge
La brève présentation des points de vue des grammairiens antiques
concernant l’ellipse comme vice ou, plus rarement, comme figure nous permet
de faire quelques remarques générales. Nous avons constaté l’existence:
(i) de cadres théoriques différents;
(ii) de définitions brèves et en général imprécises de ce concept, définitions
desquelles se dégage plus ou moins clairement l’idée d’une construction complète
qu’il faudrait prendre comme terme de référence, à laquelle il faudrait rattacher
la construction affectée afin de rendre compte des éléments retranchés;
(iii) tantôt d’un emploi général du terme « manque » (lat. defectio) (comme
chez Priscien lorsqu’il présente au début du livre XVII les altérations par défaut
d’un mot ou d’un énoncé), tantôt d’un emploi d’étiquettes particulières pour des
éléments que nous percevons comme appartenant à une série (i.e. ellipse, asyndète,
zeugme, aposiopèse). Ces éléments peuvent connaître chez le grammairien aussi
une répartition différente (v. Donat qui, dans son Ars, situe l’ellipse parmi les
vices de l’énoncé – à la différence de l’asyndète et du zeugme qui sont des
figures de langage – alors que, dans son commentaire de Térence, il appelle
l’ellipse « figura ἔλλειψις »);
(iv) d’un lien vivant d’un côté, entre le domaine du grammairien et celui
du rhéteur: si le grammairien emprunte au rhéteur et approfondit la notion de
correction, il peut aussi – dans le cas de Priscien – puiser dans certaines
classifications des figures adoptées par le rhéteur, voire procédér – dans le cas
des artigraphes latins – à l’inclusion dans ses traités des chapitres intitulés
« qualités et défauts » des textes s’appuyant sur des éléments empruntés au
rhéteur. D’un autre côté, le lien qui unit la dialectique à la grammaire est encore
vivant et constitue une source d’inspiration pour les grammairiens (v. en ce sens
les distinctions stoïciennes entre dits complets et dits incomplets, l’analyse des
différents types de prédicats présentés comme des lekta incomplets – éléments
qui trouvent des échos dans la conception d’Apollonius et, à travers celui-ci,
chez Priscien).
Nous avons retrouvé également chez le grammairien le schéma « addition –
soustraction – mutation – métathèse » : avec Apollonius et Priscien – pour
lesquels les niveaux du langage sont tous susceptibles d’être soumis aux mêmes
opérations – ce modèle d’analyse des ensembles se présente sous une forme
plus complexe.
Parmi les grammairiens de l’Antiquité, ce sont surtout Donat et Priscien
qui ont été retenus par la postérité.
Leur influence s’observe dans la discussion des concepts de figure et – dans
le cas de Priscien – de figure de construction.
La répartition des vices et des défauts telle qu’elle a été illustrée chez
Donat67 se rencontre, entre autres, chez Isidore de Séville (ca. 560-636) dans le
livre I de ses Étymologies68 (sa grammaire contient des chapitres intitulés « De
barbarismo »; « De soloecismis »; « De vitiis »; « De metaplasmis »; « De
schematibus »; « De tropis »). L’ellipse est rangée symétriquement parmi les
vices (cf. livre I, 34, 10) et définie comme suit: « eclipsis est defectus dictionis,
in quo necessaria verba desunt, ut cui pharetra ex auro (Aen., 4, 138); deest
enim erat »69. Le zeugme et l’asyndète (ou dialyton) apparaissent en revanche
comme des types de schemata (gr.), d’eloquium figurae (lat.).
Au Moyen Âge, la partie de la grammaire qui défend et qui permet se
fonde sur le troisième livre de l’Ars grammatica de Donat et sur les chapitres
susmentionnés du premier livre d’Isidore (cf. Thurot (1868: 458)). Les cetera
uitia de Donat sont appelés des vicia annexa par les grammairiens du XIIIe siècle;
Alexandre de Villedieu (ca. 1170-ca. 1250), par exemple, dans son Doctrinal,
s’appuie lorsqu’il traite de ces vices sur Donat à la liste70 duquel il ajoute l’alleotheta
(terme dont le nom et la définition sont empruntés à Priscien: « Confundit
numeros, casus, genus alleotheta »71). Lorsqu’il s’agit de les classer, il les range
toutefois parmi les figures (outre le methaplasmus, le scema72 et le tropus).
La figure est aux yeux des grammairiens du Moyen Âge « vicium ratione
excusatum » 73 : à partir du milieu du XIIIe siècle, l’énoncé contenant une
impropriété ne s’interprète pas comme faute (uitium) s’il y a une raison qui
l’excuse (l’impropriété peut se produire alors dans le but (i) d’améliorer
l’expression ou (ii) d’améliorer la significatio74). Compte tenu de ces paramètres,
Il faudrait préciser que le texte de l’Ars Donati est partiellement remanié; même avant
Isidore on avait déjà commencé à remplacer ou à doubler les exemples profanes de
Virgile ou des autres poètes servant à illustrer les définitions de l’Ars par des exemples
chrétiens empruntés à l’Écriture.
Encyclopédie latine réunissant les sept arts libéraux (grammaire, rhétorique, dialectique,
arithmétique, géométrie, astronomie et musique).
Nous empruntons la définition en latin à Lausberg (1960: 346-347). Pour la traduction en
anglais, nous nous appuyons sur Barney, Lewis, Beach and Berghof (2011: 57): « Ellipsis
(eclipsis) is a gap in speech, in which necessary words are lacking, as (Vergil, Aen., 4, 138):
Whose quiver out of gold…,
for the verb ‘was’ is lacking ».
Les éléments repris à Donat figurent avec une orthographe différente: pleonasmos,
acyrologia, cacosintheton, eclipsis, tantologia, amphibologia, tapinosis, macrologia,
perisologia, cacenphaton (c’est nous qui soulignons).
V. Thurot (1868: 463).
Scema parmi les espèces duquel on trouve le zeuma et le dyaliton vel asintheton (cf.
Thurot 1868: 465).
V. Thurot (1868: 460).
Si l’amélioration de l’expression se fait a) dans un discours soumis aux contraintes
métriques, alors la ratio excusans de la figure est représentée par ces contraintes
les vicia annexa pourront être interprétés tantôt comme des fautes, tantôt
comme des figures:
Vicia annexa possunt considerari dupliciter, vel in quantum sunt sine necessitate et causa
excusante, et sic sunt nomina viciorum, aut in quantum sunt cum necessitate et causa
excusante, et sic sunt nomina figurarum. Quod ita sit probatissime confirmatur. (apud
Thurot 1868: 461-462)
La taxonomie de Priscien a fait elle aussi l’objet de l’intérêt des
grammairiens du Moyen Âge. Le commentaire du passage de Priscien sur les
figures de la variation fait au XIIe siècle par Pierre Hélie75 est particulièrement
important, car il contient en germe – souligne Thurot (1868: 233-236) – la
distinction qu’on trouve au XIIIe siècle entre figures de construction (figurae
constructionis) et figures d’élocution (figurae locutionis) ou tropes. À la suite
de Pierre Hélie, on se préoccupe au XIIIe siècle de mettre en évidence la nature
de l’impropriété d’une figure (s’agit-il d’une incorrection grammaticale ou
d’une impropriété sémantique?) et de la légitimer (quelle est la raison qui rend
possible la figure ou bien quelle est celle qui la rend nécessaire76?).
Précisons encore que Donat et Priscien, à côté d’autres auteurs antiques,
inspireront – à l’époque de la Renaissance, par exemple, – Linacre pour le contenu
du livre VI de son De Emendata Structura Latini Sermonis (1524) et Sanctius,
dans le développement sur les figures de la Minerve de 1587. Au XVIIIe siècle,
on les retrouve, entre autres, chez Beauzée comme sources utilisées dans les
chapitres VIII et IX du livre III de la Grammaire Générale (1767)77.
L’idée de Priscien sous-jacente à ses analyses syntaxiques que
l’intelligibilité se situe avant la complétude syntaxique (la construction, avait-il
noté, « doit toujours correspondre à ce que la forme fait comprendre » – Livre
XVII, 201.11 sq.) sera également retenue et marquera les analyses des auteurs
du XIIIe siècle78.
Les grammairiens de l’époque distinguent entre une complétude
(perfectio) première et une complétude seconde de l’énoncé. La première se
rapporte à l’esse ‘être’ de l’énoncé et requiert la présence d’un sujet
(suppositum) et d’un prédicat (appositum). La seconde concerne le bene esse
métriques; si elle se produit dans b) un « discours non soumis aux règles des pieds et des
temps », alors la ratio excusans, c’est l’ornement.
Si l’impropriété se produit pour améliorer la signification, la ratio excusans sera la nécessité,
explique en ce sens Robert Kilwardby (In Donati artem maiorem III, p. 8: 160-169 – apud
Rosier 1994: 35).
Il recense alors alloteta, prolemsis, silemsis, zeuma, concidentia, procidentia (antitosis)
(v. Thurot 1868: 235).
La ratio qua potest fieri se situera au plan linguistique, alors que la ratio qua oportet fieri
se situera au plan du locuteur (v. Rosier 1994: 35).
V. aussi Colombat (1993).
Nous nous appuyons dans cette section notamment sur Rosier (1994).
‘être-bien’; surajoutée à la complétude première, elle « est, pour l’énoncé, la
signification d’un sens correct et complet » (v. Magister Johannes, Sicut dicit
Remigius, apud Rosier 1994: 249). Dans sa discussion de la complétude,
Magister Johannes renvoie à Priscien, toutefois la base de son analyse est
fournie par Aristote et ses commentateurs.
La complétude première, ainsi que la complétude seconde peuvent
également être explicites ou implicites. La complétude explicite ou ad sensum
se produit lorsque: (i) le suppôt et l’appôt sont tous les deux exprimés
(complétude première) ou (ii) l’énoncé présente à l’auditeur un sens clair
(complétude seconde). La complétude implicite ou ad intellectum se produit
lorsque l’énoncé présente une forme défectueuse: soit a) une forme dont
l’incorrection peut néanmoins être remédiée en restituant les constituants
manquants (complétude première), soit b) une forme asémantique pour laquelle
il faudra trouver le sens adéquat (complétude seconde).
Les notions de correction et de complétude seront mises à profit au Moyen
Âge dans l’analyse de divers cas discutés par les grammairiens antiques comme:
(i) le cas des verbes de première personne comme lego, ou de deuxième
personne, la forme verbale donnant à entendre de manière définie le suppôt;
(ii) le cas des séquences comme Honestas ‘l’honnêteté’ nécessitant le
recours au cotexte;
(iii) le cas des séquences comme Bene bene qui doivent être rapportées à
un acte exercé dans la situation extralinguistique;
(iv) le cas des figures.
On peut postuler alors dans ces situations – comme le fait Magister
Johannes (Sicut dicit Remigius) – l’existence de séquences incomplètes selon les
sens (i.e. sans suppôt et appôt « vocalement exprimés »), mais complètes selon
l’intellect, la complétude se faisant alors:
(i) en fonction d’une propriété du discours (ex virtute sermonis) pris
en lui-même (v. lego) // pris dans son rapport à une interrogation précédente
(v. honestas ‘l’honnêteté’) // pris dans son rapport à un acte (v. bene, bene!);
(ii) à partir du sens voulu par l’auteur (v. le cas des figures)79.
Bien que les situations mentionnées fassent l’objet de vifs débats des
auteurs médiévaux80, faute d’espace, nous limiterons notre discussion aux cas
Nous laissons de côté la troisième possibilité de complétude selon l’intellect mentionnée
par le texte: celle qui se fait à partir du libre choix du lecteur/de l’auditeur entre plusieurs noms.
Nous mentionnerons ici notamment: la dispute liée au statut du pronom non exprimé des
verbes de 1re et de 2e personne et les solutions offertes en ce sens, par exemple, par
Pierre Hélie, Roger Bacon ou les Modistes; la discussion des adverbes isolés dans le
contexte de la distinction entre actus significatus ‘acte signifié’ et actus exercitus ‘acte
exercé’. Dans le premier cas, un terme peut entrer dans une relation syntaxique avec un
acte signifié vocalement (ex.: Honestas); dans le cas de l’acte exercé, on peut
comprendre: (i) qu’un terme de l’énoncé (ex.: bene) renvoie à un acte réalisé dans la
situation extralinguistique (ex.: frapper) ou bien (ii) que l’acte exercé est l’acte effectif
où la compréhension de l’énoncé implique le recours à l’intention de signifier
du locuteur ou au sens visé.
Les concepts d´« intention du locuteur » (intentio proferentis) et de sens
visé (intellectus intentus) sont appliqués par les grammairiens intentionalistes81
dans l’analyse des figures et mettent en évidence le fait que l’acceptabilité d’un énoncé
ne dépend pas uniquement de la correction grammaticale. Nous nous bornerons
ici à citer deux opinions, celle de Robert Kilwardby et celle de Roger Bacon.
Commentant l’exemple d’ellipse haec secum de Donat où le manque du
verbe loquebatur (parlait) est la cause de l’impropriété, Robert Kilwardby note:
La raison pour laquelle elle [= l’impropriété] peut être ainsi produite est que ce verbe,
grâce aux autres mots de l’énoncé et grâce à l’agencement du sens, est suffisamment
donné à entendre. La raison pour laquelle l’impropriété doit être produite est la nécessité
de l’expression du sens qui est visé; il pouvait signifier qu’elle se parlait à part soi, mais
avec tant de précipitation, que les mots pouvaient à peine se former, et la nécessité de
désigner cela pouvait constituer ici la raison nécessaire de l’omission d’un terme
(defectus); la raison pouvait aussi en être simplement un mouvement de l’âme violent et
non délibéré, comme cela se produit lorsque, du fait d’une grande joie ou d’une grande
tristesse, le locuteur ne peut construire parfaitement et de manière délibérée un énoncé
complet/parfait (oratio perfecta), et s’exprime par un énoncé incomplet. Par exemple,
pendant l’incendie d’une maison, on ne crie pas qu’on apporte de l’eau, mais « De l’eau,
de l’eau! » (Aqua, aqua!) (In Donati artem maiorem III, p. 97: 567-579 – apud Rosier
1994: 197-198).
Les causes invoquées (précipitation, émotion etc.) comme pouvant
conduire à la défectuosité de l’énoncé peuvent se retrouver, par exemple, chez
Magister Johannes82.
La même idée de choix qui préside à la création d’un énoncé défectueux
ou déviant opéré délibérément pour exprimer de façon optimale ce que l’on veut
accompli par un constituant de l’énoncé (ex.: bene proféré dans une situation précise peut
inciter à poursuivre une action), v. Rosier (1994, chapitre cinq). Il conviendrait de préciser
que l’analyse de Priscien en termes d’ellipse de l’adverbe énoncé en s’adressant à
quelqu’un en train d’agir se retrouve également au XIIe siècle chez Pierre Hélie (Summa
super Priscianum). De nos jours, ce type d’adverbe peut être également envisagé comme
une ellipse et, parfois, subsumé à l’anaphore.
Étant donné l’importance de la notion d´« intention » (intention du locuteur, sens visé)
dans les travaux de certains grammairiens médiévaux, certains linguistes ont qualifié leur
approche d´ « intentionaliste » (v. Rosier 1994: 12 qui, malgré l’ambiguïté du terme,
considère que ces auteurs « méritaient une désignation plus spécifique que celle
généralement utilisée de “pré-modistes” »).
V. le texte 2 de l’Annexe de Rosier (1994), notamment la page 255 qui contient un
fragment similaire à celui de Robert Kilwardby. Magister Johannes souligne ici que s’il
est vrai que plusieurs verbes pourraient convenir à l’exemple pris par Priscien, en
revanche il n’est pas vrai que tous conviennent dans la même mesure « à l’intention de
l’auteur et au sens des passages précédents ou suivants du livre ».
communiquer se remarque chez Roger Bacon dans son analyse des formules
liturgiques grammaticalement incomplètes:
Il en va de même avec l’énoncé dominus vobiscum [‘le Seigneur soit avec vous’] ou et
cum spiritu tuo [‘avec ton esprit’]. On entend [intelligitur] en effet, dans ces énoncés, le
verbe sit (soit), qui est omis du fait de l’usage, mais aussi pour des raisons d’expressivité
sémantiques plus grandes (ad maiorem expressionem sententie). Il peut en effet vouloir
dire « que le Seigneur soit avec vous », ou « qu’il demeure avec vous », ou encore « qu’il
repose », « habite », etc. Si l’un de ces verbes était exprimé, un seul serait signifié et non
les autres. Il en va de même pour per omnia secula seculorum, amen (et dans les siècles
des siècles, amen), tel qu’il est prononcé à la messe: on omet [subtacetur] le verbe pour
des raisons d’expressivité sémantiques plus grandes, puisque l’intention du discours
[intentio sermonis] était que dans les siècles des siècles le Seigneur soit loué, ou glorifié,
ou honoré, etc. Mais si l’un de ces verbes était exprimé, une seule intellection serait produite,
et donc on les omet tous (Summa grammatica, p. 181-184 – apud Rosier 1994: 44-45).
Pour Roger Bacon, ces séquences incomplètes sont possibles parce
qu’attestées par l’usage et parce qu’elles se caractérisent par une plus grande
expressivité sémantique83. L’omission – reliée ici à l´« intention du discours » et
à l’existence de plusieurs possibilités d’interprétation pour l’auditeur – contribue à
la création d’énoncés plus riches de sens que ceux de forme complète.
Nous avons esquissé ici quelques directions de l’analyse linguistique au
Moyen Âge que l’on peut mettre en relation avec le concept d’ellipse, de
manque en général tel qu’il se présente chez Apollonius et surtout chez Priscien
et Donat. En dépit de l’incomplétude de notre exposé, nous espérons avoir mis
en évidence combien les problèmes évoqués à cet égard dans les analyses des
grammairiens de l’Antiquité sont nombreux et hétérogènes.
Sources premières
Apollonius Dyscole (1997 <IIes.>), De la Construction, éd. et trad. par J. Lallot, Vrin, Paris, 2 volumes.
Donat (1981 <IVe s.>), Ars minor, Ars maior, in L. Holtz, Donat et la tradition de l’enseignement
grammatical, étude et édition critique, Éditions du CNRS, Paris. Reprod.: 2010.
Isidore de Séville (2006 <VIe-VIIes.>) The Etymologies, trad. par S.A. Barney, W.J. Lewis, J.A.
Beach, O. Berghof, Cambridge University Press, 3e éd. (2011).
Priscien (2010 <Ves.-déb. VIes.>), Institutions Grammaticales, in Groupe Ars Grammatica,
Grammaire. Livre XVII – Syntaxe, 1, Librairie Philosophique J. Vrin, Paris.
Là où Priscien faisait recours à l’expressivité pour expliquer un énoncé, Roger Bacon et
d’autres grammairiens intentionalistes peuvent procéder à sa transformation en principe
explicatif de nature générale (v. en ce sens Rosier 1994: 45)
Priscien (2013), Institutions Grammaticales, in Groupe Ars Grammatica, Grammaire. Livres XIV,
XV, XVI – Les Invariables, Librairie Philosophique J. Vrin, Paris.
Quintilien (1975-1980 <Iers.> ) Institution Oratoire, éd. par G. Cousin, Les Belles Lettres, Paris.
Servius (2004 < Ves.>) Servius’ Commentary on Book Four of Virgil’s Aeneid, trad. par
Christopher M. McDonough, Richard E. Prior, Mark Stansbury, Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers,
Inc., Wauconda.
Sextus Empiricus (2002 <IIe-IIIes.>) Contre les professeurs, trad. par C. Dalimier, D. et J. Delattre,
B. Pérez, sous la direction de P. Pellegrin, Éditions du Seuil, Paris.
Sources critiques
Baratin, Marc (1989), La naissance de la syntaxe à Rome, Les Éditions de Minuit, Paris.
Baratin, Marc et Françoise Desbordes (1981), L’analyse linguistique dans l’Antiquité classique, 1.
Les théories, Klincksieck, Paris.
Baratin, Marc et Françoise Desbordes (1986), “La troisième partie de l’Ars Grammatica”, in F. Desbordes,
Idées grecques et romaines sur le langage. Travaux d’histoire et d’épistémologie, textes
réunis par G. Clerico, B. Colombat et J. Soubiran, ENS Éditions, Lyon, pp. 65-90
Colombat, Bernard (1993), Les Figures de Construction dans la syntaxe latine (1500-1780),
Éditions Peeters, Louvain-Paris.
Desbordes, Françoise (2007), Idées grecques et romaines sur le langage. Travaux d’histoire et
d’épistémologie, textes réunis par G. Clérico, B. Colombat et J. Soubiran, ENS Éditions, Lyon.
Holtz, Louis (1981), Donat et la tradition de l’enseignement grammatical. Étude sur l’Ars Donati
et sa diffusion (IVe-IXe siècle) et édition critique, Éditions du CNRS, Paris. Reprod. 2010.
Ildefonse, Frédérique (1997), La naissance de la grammaire dans l’Antiquité grecque, Librairie
Philosophique J. Vrin, Paris.
Lallot, Jean (1983), “L’ellipse chez Apollonius Dyscole”, in Histoire Épistémologie Langage 5/1
(L’ellipse grammaticale. Études épistémologiques et historiques), pp. 9-16.
Lallot, Jean (1997), Apollonius Dyscole. De la Construction. Vol. I: Introduction, texte et traduction;
vol. II: Notes et index (Histoire des doctrines de l’Antiquité classique, 19), Vrin, Paris, 2 volumes.
Lausberg, Heinrich (1960), Handbuch der Literarischen Rhetorik, Max Hueber Verlag, Munich, 2 vols.
Rosier, Irène (1994), La parole comme acte. Sur la grammaire et la sémantique au XIIIe siècle,
Librairie Philosophique J. Vrin, Paris.
Thurot, Charles (1868), Notices et extraits de divers manuscrits latins pour servir à l’histoire des
doctrines grammaticales au Moyen Âge, Imprimerie impériale, Paris.
The ergative construction appears in Hindi when the predicative verb is transitive and in
the perfective aspect. In this situation, the verb imposes the Ergative case to the subject, marked
by the postposition ne; as a consequence, the verb will no longer agree with the subject, but with
the object (when the latter is not “blocked” due to emphasis, notoriety, by the Accusative
postposition ko). The postposition ne has not only an agentive role (as a case value), but it
indicates also the inverted concord (cf. the fifth syntactic relation proposed by Theban 2007,
besides constituent order, voice, case and agreement) of the noun or pronoun with the verb in a
typical verbal category, the aspect, the ergative subject announcing from the very beginning of the
sentence that its predicative verb (which comes last in the sentence) will be transitive and in the
perfective aspect. In the second part of the article, I analyse the different ergative constructions on
the basis of some examples from literary texts.
Keywords: ergative case structures, agentive role, perfective aspectual value, verbal
agreement, inverted concord, split-ergative language.
1. Introduction
Hindi is classified, by Western linguists, as a split-ergative language, that
is displaying a nominative structural type in transitive and intransitive sentences
with the verb in the imperfective aspect and in the perfective aspect for
intransitive verbs and an ergative structural type when the verb is transitive and
in the perfective aspect. The presence of the postposition ne as the Ergative case
marker in Hindi can be interpreted not only as an agentive indicator (as a case
government value), but also as a sign of agreement1 of nouns or pronouns with
the verb in a typical verbal category, the perfective aspect (cf. the fifth syntactic
relation proposed by Theban 2007).
University of Bucharest, Department of Oriental Languages and Literatures,
[email protected]
Thus, agreement is not exclusively oriented from nouns or pronouns to verbs, but can
follow, in very few languages, the inverse direction. Cases in which nouns bear future
tense markers have been reported in some Australian languages.
In Hindi the Ergative postposition does not have a lexical meaning; in the
history of language it has been interpreted as coming from the termination of
the Instrumental case in Sanskrit -ena.
2. A theoretical description of the ergative construction in Hindi
The ergative syntactic structures2 take their name from the special case
marker taken by topicalized Agent nouns or pronouns, in transitive sentences
with the verb in the active voice and in the perfective aspect. The ergative3 label
was introduced by European scholars in the nineteenth century to refer to the
oblique case of subjects in Basque, Georgian and Hindi; the postposition ne has
come to be labelled as Ergative (= agentive) case, generally outside India4.
Hindi, as compared to fully ergative languages, Basque and Old Georgian,
has the peculiarity of being a split-ergative language, that is half-nominative
and half-ergative. Forms in the future tense, kahegā ‘will say’, in the
subjunctive mood, kahe, and all forms in the imperfective aspect kahtā5 behave
“normally” that is like standard average European languages, while transitive
sentences with verbs in the perfective behave “exotically” that is (by) putting
the topicalized noun in an oblique case and letting the active voice verb agree
with the Patient or stand immune to agreement.
Before proposing an illustration through a few examples of the
observations above, I mention that in my analysis I have followed the model of
relational, typological syntax proposed by Theban (2006, 2007).
This text represents a revised, abridged version of Popârlan (2013) on the ergative
construction in Hindi; in that article, I provided more information about Hindi syntax
comparing this language, at the level of case and agreement parameters, to other languages.
Analysing especially the ergative construction in the Ibero-Caucasian languages, Čikobava
(1969: 108) specifies: « Cette construction est dite ergative en raison du cas du sujet. À partir
de cette particularité du cas du sujet on parle de construction ergative pour différentes langues
(p. ex., l’eskimo, les langues des aborigènes d’Australie, certaines langues indo-européennes etc.);
he also mentions that in this construction, the object is put in the Nominative case.
Most standard grammars of Hindi written and published in India consider the Ergative case
form ne as an alternate form of the Nominative case, forgetting that Nominative is synonymous
to Absolutive and that it is reserved to nouns not affected by any overt case form.
The imperfective aspect in Hindi (here, kah-t-ā) is formed by adding to the root of the
verb the aspectual marker -t and after it the termination -ā/ e/ ī which indicates the
agreement of the verb in gender and number with the subject (for masculine singular,
masculine plural and feminine, both genders). The perfective aspect is constructed by
adding directly to the root of the verb the same termination indicating the agreement of
the verbal form with the subject. A large part of tenses and moods are formed in Hindi by
adding to the aspect the auxiliary of honā ‘to be’ at the respective tenses or moods.
Theban describes the four fundamental syntactic relations: constituent
order, agreement, case, voice, and the “fifth relation” (corresponding to the
pragmatic reorganization of case marking in the rhematic segment of fourmember sentences, and to the inverted concord, cf., in Hindi, the agreement of a
noun with a verb in a specific verbal category, the aspect). According to
Theban (2007: 221), “syntactic relations are dyadic and dominational; they link
together a noun and a verb and show the direction of government from one of
these two terms to the other”. Theban (2007: 221) further writes that “the best
graphical representation of oriented, dominational relations is the arrow” and
that “This sagittal sign iconically depicts the presence of a syntactic relation and
its orientation”.
The four basic syntactic structures are situated: (i) at the lower, deeper,
semantactic level: voice and case and (ii) at the upper, surface, morphological
level: constituent order and agreement and at a pragmatic6 level: the 5th relation.
The voice parameter represents the governing of a verb by a noun (the
Agent or the Patient), while the case structure represents the governing of a
noun by a verb; these two can be considered as pair relations.
The morphological agreement corresponds to the surface domination of a
verb by a noun and the 5th relation accounts, as mentioned, for less studied
phenomena as, in Hindi, the agreement of a noun with the predicative verb in a
typical verbal category, the aspect (in the ergative construction).
The following figures depict syntactic relations: a. situated at the deeper,
semantactic7 level, the voice and the case (figures 2 and 3); b. at the upper
(surface, morphological and pragmatic) level, agreement and the 5th relation
(figures 4 and 5):
Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
The speaker chooses, because of different reasons (emphasis, salience of a certain
constituent) to reorganize the actantial schema of the sentence.
Besides the theory of the typological syntax (which is relational, not functional), the
universal semantax (“the semantics of the sentence”) represents the second main
theoretical construction proposed by Theban (2003). The “semantics of the sentence”
(“semantax”, “actantial semantics”) is placed at the deepest level of sentence structures
(representing a direct interpretation of the reality) and it is represented by a closely knit
network of seven actants or actantial functions: Causer (initial Agent), Executant (Causee
or middle Agent), Instrument/ Force (final A), Patient (P), Source (initial Locative), Path
(middle Locative) and Goal (final Locative).
The following examples illustrate the different case structures which
appear in Hindi when the verb is in the active voice; when the verb is in the
imperfective aspect, in example (1), or in the future tense, in example (2), it
agrees with the nominative subject; when it is transitive and in the perfective
aspect, it is put in the Ergative case (signalled by the postposition ne) and in this
case the verb agrees with the object, as in example (3); when the object is also
“blocked” by the Accusative postposition ko, as in example (4), the verb remains
in the neuter form corresponding to the third person, masculine, singular.
(1) Rām kele khātā hai.8
‘Rām eats (the) bananas.’
A → P → V
Fig. 6
(2) Rām sab kelõ ko khāegā.
‘Rām will eat all the bananas.’
A → P → V
Fig. 7
(3) Rām ne kele khāe.
‘Rām ate the bananas.’
A → P → V
Fig. 8
(4) Mere bhāiyõ ne sab kelõ ko khāyā.
‘My brothers ate all the bananas.’
A → P → V
Fig. 9
Sentences with intransitive verbs (in the imperfective or perfective aspect) like Rām bāzār
jātā hai/ Rām bāzār gayā ‘Rām goes/went to the market’ have the same syntactical
schema as the one with a transitive verb in the imperfective aspect and with the object at
the Nominative case. The syntactic relations involved are, at the lower, semantactic level,
the voice (here, active) and at the upper level, the agreement.
The four examples illustrate also the four case structures met in Hindi:
“Nominative–Nominative”, example (1), “Nominative–Accusative”, example (2),
“Ergative–Nominative”, example (3), and “Ergative–Accusative”, example (4).
All the four syntactic relations, viz. voice, constituent order, case and concord,
have long been acknowledged in both traditional and modern linguistics. The
Romanian model of typological syntax is distinguished by bringing the four
syntactic relations to the forefront of syntactic research, by attributing them the deep
force of depicting the typological profile of each language at the grammatical level,
and by its quest for other potential syntactic relations besides the four.
It was found that in the system of the sagittal notation for relational
structures, one additional possibility is left unaccounted for, the so-called 5th
relation, a kind of waste-basket for all new grammatical relations still to be
discovered. Two new relations were found to be apt to classify as 5th relation:
(i) the “pragmatic reorganization of case marking” in the rhematic
segment of four-member sentences:
(5) A pours wine in the cup.
A →V → P → B
Fig. 10
(6) A fills the cup with wine.
A→ V → B → P
Fig. 11
(7) A loe mẽ pānī bhartā hai.
Fig. 12
(8) A loā pānī se bhartā hai.
A→ B→P → V
Fig. 13
The Nominative of the Beneficiary (or final Locative, the cup, loā) is a
marked instance of suspending the basic Locative case markers mẽ (cf. in in
English) and the unusual Patient marker se (which is here neither Instrumental
nor Ablative) or with in English; they are secondary means to express, thanks to
the 5th relation, the reorganization of the rhematic fragment.
Another possibility (2) for counting as a 5th relation structuration is the
“inverted concord”: we must provide for the rather unusual, but not prohibited,
agreement of a noun with the verb in some of the latter’s emblematic categories
(tense, aspect and mood). Isolated cases have been reported of aboriginal languages
in Australia having the subject of their sentences agree with the verb when in
the future tense; as a result, the topicalized noun gets a future tense morpheme:
Fig. 14
Theban (2007) thinks it is appropriate to interpret the ne case postposition
(in addition to its Ergative case meaning) as a manifestation of the 5th relation,
in its inverted agreement sense: as soon as the hearer begins to process the
utterance addressed to him, he is confronted, at the end of the first word, with
two grammatical pieces of information condensed in the postposition ne: the
semantactic or actantial role of “agentivity” of the participant X named by the
noun and the announcement that the predicative verb (appearing last in the
sentence) is in the perfective aspect. Consequently, the noun or pronoun that
comes first in the sequential structure is made by the verb to agree with it in an
aspectual category, “perfectivity”, eminently verbal, as an “inverted agreement” value.
Fig. 15
3. Analysis
After the presentation of the theoretical framework chosen in order to
describe the ergative structures in Hindi, I intend to illustrate, through some
examples, the different elements specific for this syntactical construction. The
excerpts from 9 to 17 present, most of them, nominal objects, the following
examples offer predominantly pronominal objects (18-21).
Before starting the analysis of the first ergative structure, I propose a brief
description of the narrative context: Ānandī repents of having provoked a
serious conflict between her husband and her brother-in-law. The rhetorical
question is a sign of her deep regret and it anticipates her endeavour to reconcile
the two brothers. The ergative construction displays a pronominal subject in the
Ergative case (maĩ ne, of the first person, singular); the verb agrees in gender
and number with the nominal object jhagaṛā ‘quarrel’, masculine, singular, in
the Nominative case), the concord mark being the termination -ā of the
perfective indefinite uhāyā “raised”. The literal translation of the ergative
structure is ‘I ERG […] this quarrel NOM raised”.
The postposition ne does not express only the Ergative (or agentive) case,
but it announces from the very beginning, as already mentioned, that the active
verb is transitive and in the perfective aspect (in this situation, it is a marker of
agreement of the noun with the predicate in a specific verbal category, the aspect).
maĩ ne kahā̃ se
yah jhagaṛā
ERG where from this
quarrel.NOM raised9
‘How did I cause this conflict/ quarrel?’
Premcand, Baṛe ghar kī beī, p. 81)
The second example is comparable to the first; the morphological agreement
of the verbal constituent with the object in the Nominative case is marked by
the termination -ā (masculine, singular), the predicative segment is, this time, a
compound verb, the intensifier diyā, at perfective indefinite, showing completion.
(10) ExÉ Éå
sab ghī
mā̃ s mẽ ḍāl
she.ERG all ghī NOM meat in throw + given
‘She poured all ghī in the meat.’
(Premcand, Baṛe ghar kī beī, p. 78)
In the following fragment, the subject is implicit (usne); the predicate is
again a compound verb, the auxiliary lenā ‘to take’ showing that the action of
the main verb (in the radical form) pakaṛnā ‘to take, to seize’ is subject-oriented.
(11) A É ÉåÇ AÉ É Ï M É å
Í É ÉÉ […]
ant mẽ Ānandī kamare se
nikalī aur uskā hāth
pakaṛ liyā
end in Ānandī room from came out and his hand.NOM take + token […]
#ÉÉ Éå
Kahā̃ jāte ho?
where going are
‘Finally Ānandī came out of her room and took him by the hand […] Where are you going?’
(Premcand, Baṛe ghar kī beī, p. 82)
The literal translation ‘raised’ represents a past participle as it corresponds to the
perfective aspect in Hindi. Cf. also in example 10 and further, the literal translation of the
predicative compound verb ḍāl diyā ‘throw + given’ (cf. She poured all ghī in the meat).
The termination -ā indicates the morphological agreement of the predicate
with the nominal object hāth ‘hand’, masculine, singular. I have chosen this
fragment also for the predicates nikalī ‘came out’ and jāte ho ‘go’ (in Kahā̃ jāte
ho? ‘Where are you going?’, which illustrate two of the main three situations
(cf. for the third, example 21) that are incompatible with the ergative
construction: intransitive verbs, in the perfective (nikalī) and in the imperfective
(jāte ho) aspect. As both structures exemplify nominative subjects, the
predicates agree with them in gender and number: Ānandī feminine singular
[…] nikalī (the perfective indefinite is feminine singular) and tum […] jāte ho,
the imperfective present is masculine singular.
The first three examples showed the < Ergative–Nominative > syntactical
type ; in the forth excerpt, the first part corresponds to the same type, while the
second one illustrates the < Ergative–Accusative > structure:
ÉåÇ Î#ÉxÉ Éå
C É vÉo ÉåÇ ÉåÇ
gā̃v mẽ jisne
yah vrittānt
sunā, usī ne
in śabdõ mẽ
village in that who ERG this story NOM heard he indeed ERG these words in
M Éå xÉ É É
Ānandī kī udārtā
ko sarāhā
Ānandī of nobleness ACC praised
‘Every person who heard this story praised Ānandī’s nobleness in these words’
(Premcand, Baṛe ghar kī beī, p. 82)
The < Ergative–Nominative > structure jisne ERG yah vrittānt NOM sunā
‘that person who this story heard’ in which the verb, sunā, agrees with the
object in gender and number (vrittānt masculine, singular) is correlated with the
< Ergative–Accusative >: usī ne ERG […] Ānandī kī udārtā ko ACC sarāhā ‘he
indeed ERG […] Ānandī of nobleness ACC praised’; in this sequence, the
agreement of the active verb is neutralized as the feminine, singular object is
“blocked” by the postposition ko.
Example 13 shows the agreement of the predicate with a feminine nominative
object: the verb karnā (of the compound svīkār karnā “approval to do”) is
conjugated in the perfective past kī thī lit. ‘done was’, an analytical form that
agrees in gender and number with the Patient prārthnā ‘prayer, feminine, singular).
This is considered the most highly marked syntactical relation as it illustrates an oblique
(ergative) Agent correlated with a verb in the active voice, while the Patient is at the
Nominative case and imposes the agreement to the verb. To this we can add the “inverted
concord” function of the postposition ne which, besides agentivity, shows that the noun
agrees with the verb in aspect.
(13) A ÉÉå ÉÏ Ï É Éå Ì%É ÉÏ É
xÉå M É – É Ï ÉO É AÉ É Éå
Éå Ï
Alopīdīn ne vinīt
bhāv se kahā – Nadī ta par āpne merī prārthnā
Alopīdīn ERG humble character with said – river bank on you ERG my prayer NOM
nahī̃ svīkār
kī thī
no acceptance done was
‘Alopīdīn said humbly: ‘Near the bank of the river, you did not accept my proposal’.’
(Premcand, Namak kā dārogā, p. 87)
The following example illustrates, through a dialogue, first the absence of
the object (the implicit Patient polī ko 11 , “a small bundle of lotus roots”):
tumhāre harkāre ne bhejā hai lit. ‘your messenger ERG sent is’, i.e. ‘your friend,
the messenger, has sent [the bundle of lotus roots]’; secondly, the absence of
both object and verb, the sentence being reduced to the ergative subject Kazākī
ne ‘Kazākī ERG’. The postposition ne indicates, as already mentioned, not only
the Ergative case, but it also announces from the very beginning that the
predicate will be transitive and in the perfective aspect. With this role, it
represents the mark of the “inverted concord”, i.e. the agreement of the noun
with the verb in aspect.
(14) AÉæ É - ÉÑ É å
MÉ å
Éå .Éå#ÉÉ
æ [ ÉÉåO ÉÏ M Éå], .Éæ ÉÉ.
aurat – tumhāre harkāre ne bhejā hai [polī ko], bhaiyā
woman your
messenger ERG sent is
‘The woman: ‘Your messenger sent them (some lotus roots)’.’
Éå E3 ÉM
ÉÔ3 É - M Ä#ÉÉM Ð Éå?
Maĩ ne uchalkar pūchā – Kazākī ne?
I ERG bounding asked Kazākī ERG
‘I asked instantly: ‘Kazākī?’’
(Premcand, Kazākī, p. 218)
As in the fifth example, pūchā bears the neuter form because its object is
an entire clause (even if rendered only by the explicit subject Kazākī ne).
Before analyzing the fragment infra, I shall describe briefly its narrative
context: as Mũśī Vãśidhar, the inspector of the Department of Salt, does not
want to allow Paḍit Alopīdīn, the famous landowner, to pass forth with his
chariots full of salt, the latter tries to convince the former by offering him some
important amounts of money.
In the figurative sentence, the ergative subject is expressed by an
inanimate, abstract noun, dhan ne ‘the wealth’; the object ākrama ‘assaults’,
masculine, plural) is in the Nominative case and it influences in agreement not
We understand that the absent object stays in the Accusative case, as the verb has the
neuter form, bhejā hai.
only the predicate śurū kie (masculine, plural), but also its specific infinitive,
karnā ‘to do’, which bears its inflected form for masculine, plural, karne.
(15) 5É É
Éå E3 É-E3 É M AÉ¢ ÉhÉ
M Éå
ÌM 9.
dhan ne uchal-uchal kar ākrama karne
śurū kie
wealth ERG bound bound do assault NOM do beginning done
‘The wealth started all of a sudden to attack’
(Premcand, Namak kā dārogā, p. 84)
I have chosen the next fragment with a nominal object – example 16 – as
it illustrates the following situation: when having a compound verb as predicate,
even if the main verb is transitive (cf. here tāṛnā ‘to perceive, to understand’), if
the auxiliary is intransitive (in our example, jānā to go’), the latter verb makes
the former lose its transitivity and consequently the ergative construction is
annulled: the subject remains in the Nominative case; it is implicit in the
sequence In bhāvõ ko tāṛ gae (lit. these intentions ACC understand gone’), but,
as a zero anaphora, it refers to the antecedent, masculine, plural (out of
politeness) Benīmādhav Sĩh.
(16) oÉå ÉÏ ÉÉ5É%É
Benīmādhav Sĩh purāne ādmī the. In
bhāvõ ko
tāṛ gae
Benīmādhav Sĩh old man was. these intentions ACC perceive gone
‘Benimādhav Sĩh was an old man. He understood the real intentions of those coming to him.’
(Premcand, Baṛe ghar kī beī, p. 80)
We meet thus the < Nominative–Accusative > syntactical couple. The
predicate at perfective indefinite agrees in gender and number with the implicit
subject (ve), already discussed.
In example (17), Ānandī explains to her husband why a day before she
could not give her brother-in-law some extra clarified butter (ghī). I have
chosen this fragment for the illustration of new morphological types of objects:
an infinitive followed by the postposition ko (syntagm that represents the
contraction of a subordinate: pakāne ko, the inflected form of pakānā ‘to
cook’ + the Accusative case postposition ko) and the pronominal object vah
“it”, which represents an anaphora of the masculine, singular noun ghī.
In the first situation the verb kahā ‘told, perfective indefinite/zero’ does
not agree with the object as this one is represented by the special structure
< inflected infinitive + ko >; in the second one, as vah refers to the masculine,
singular ghī, the verb has the appropriate form in -ā, ḍāl diyā.
(17) É xÉÉåÇ
ÉÑ É å
tumhāre lāṛle bhāī ne mujhe mā̃s pakāne ko kahā.
the day before yesterday your dear brother ERG to me meat prepare ACC said.
xÉå AÍ5ÉM É ÉÉ. %É xÉoÉ
ÉæÇ Éå
ghī hā̃ dī mẽ pā̃ v-bhar se adhik na thā. vah sab maĩ ne mā̃ s mẽ ḍāl
ghī earthen pot in quarter full than more not was. it NOM all I ERG meat in throw + given
‘The day before yesterday, your dear brother told me to prepare some meat. In the
earthen pot there was no more than a quarter of seer of ghī. I poured it all in the meat.’
(Premcand, Baṛe ghar kī beī, p. 79)
In example 18, the verb has the neuter form, the agreement being
hindered by the morpho-semantic type of object, the indefinite pronoun kuch
‘something’ (the narrative context is again about Ānandī who, after being
offended by her brother-in-law, retired in her room and refused any food until
her husband’s arrival). The ergative subject is elliptical:
MÑ 3
kuch khāyā na piyā
neither something eaten nor drunk
‘She did not eat or drink anything.’
(Premcand, Baṛe ghar kī beī, p. 78)
The next two excerpts illustrate the situation when the pronominal object
is in the Accusative case, marked through inflection as in (19) or by the specific
postposition ko attached to the oblique form (example 20); the subject and the
object display the < Ergative–Accusative > syntactical type.
Kazākī, the postman, tells the little boy how he managed to seize a kid
(hiran kā baccā) in order to bring it to him; the case marked object ise explains
its emphatic (here) role through the anterior co-text which already contains the
emphatic form yahī ‘this indeed’ (to which ise refers anaphorically). Yahī and
ise12 operate a selection on the members of the flock of deers, identifying as
unique the referent of the expression hiran kā baccā.
(19) AÉæ Ì É ÉÉå oÉ Ò É
É Éå,
aur hiran to bahut dūr nikal gaye, yahī
and deers then very far go out + gone this indeed
Éå CxÉå
pīche rah
gayā. maĩ ne ise
pakaṛ liyā
behind remain + gone. I ERG it/him ACC seize + taken
‘And then the deers went away, only the kid remained behind. I seized him.’
(Premcand, Kazākī, p. 212)
Ise is translated with the help of the masculine personal pronoun him with an affective meaning.
The predicate expressed by a compound verb has the neuter form of
agreement liyā (cf. pakaṛ liyā ‘seized, perfective indefinite’) as the pronominal
Patient is in the Accusative case.
The important syntactic structure < Ergative–Nominative >, also
described under (9)-(13) is illustrated again in example 20: mānõ usne vilās ke
sāmān kabhī dekhe hī na the, lit. ‘she ERG luxurious life of goods NOM
sometimes seen really not were”: even if the Agent is at an oblique case, it can
still impose the active voice to the verb, while the Patient is in the Nominative
case and triggering the verbal agreement (sāmān, masculine, plural, dekhe the,
masculine, plural).
I have selected this fragment also for the accusative pronominal object
apne ko which demands the neutralization of the verbal agreement: Ānandī ne
[…] apne ko […] anukūl banā liyā: ‘Ānandī ERG […] herself ACC […] adjusted
make + taken’.
(20) É 9M xÉÏ5ÉÉ - xÉÉ É å É ÉÏ É× x É
yah ek sīdhā – sādā dehātī grihastha kā makān thā; kintu Ānandī ne thoṛe hī dinõ
this a simple rural householder of house was; but Ānandī ERG few indeed days
ÉåÇ A É Éå M Éå
mẽ apne ko
naī avasthā ke aisā anukūl banā liyā, mānõ usne
in herself ACC this new situation of in this way adjusted make + taken as if she
É Éå.
vilās ke sāmān
dekhe hī na the
ERG luxurious life of goods NOM sometimes seen really not were
‘This was the house of a simple rural householder; but Ānandī in a few days adjusted
herself to this new situation so well as if she had never seen before luxurious goods.’
(Premcand, Baṛe ghar kī beī)
The last example presenting Ānandī’s retort illustrates the situation when
the object is an entire clause (vahā̃ itnā ghī to nāī-kahār khā jāte haĩ), with no
verbal agreement (kahā ‘said’) and also the third main situation incompatible
with the ergative construction (cf., for the other two types, example 11): the
transitive verb in the imperfective aspect: khā jāte haĩ ‘eat usually’. The
syntactical type is < Nominative–Nominative >:
(21) ÉæÇ
maĩ ne kahā ki vahā̃ itnā
to nāī-kahār
ERG said that there this quantity ghī NOM really a barber water-drawer NOM
#ÉÉ Éå
khā jāte haĩ
eat + going are
‘I said that there [in Ānandī’s home] the servants eat this quantity of ghī’
(Premcand, Baṛe ghar kī beī, p. 79)
3. Conclusions
In this article I have tried to illustrate the fact that Hindi is a split-ergative
language, that is, one that displays a nominative structural type in transitive and
intransitive sentences with the verb in the imperfective aspect and in the
perfective aspect for intransitive verbs and an ergative structural type when the
verb is transitive and in the perfective aspect.
The < Ergative–Nominative > syntactic type is considered the most
highly marked syntactic relation as it illustrates an oblique (ergative) Agent
correlated with a verb in the active voice, while the Patient is in the Nominative
case and it imposes agreement to the verb. It has been shown also, according to
the fifth syntactic relation, that the postposition ne expresses besides agentivity
(as a case value), the inverted concord of a noun or a pronoun with a verb in a
specific verbal category, the perfective aspect.
Premcand, “Baṛe ghar kī be ī” [= The Girl of the Noble House], “Namak kā dārogā” [= The
Inspector of the Salt Department], “Kazākī” [= Kazākī], in Premcand kī pratinidhi
kahāniyā̃ [= Premcand’s Representative Short Stories), L. Caudharī (ed.), Sanmarg
Prakāśan, Delhi, 1994.
Čikobava, A.S. (1969), « Le problème de la construction ergative dans les langues ibéro-caucasiennes »,
in Langages, 15, pp. 108-126.
Popârlan, Sabina (2013), “The Ergative Construction and the Complexity of Hindi Syntax“, in
D. Stasik, A. Trynkowska (eds.) CEENIS Current Research Series, vol. 1, Dom
Wydawniczy Elipsa, Warsaw, pp. 124-148.
Theban, Laurenţiu (2003), “Pour un modèle roumain des structures d’actance”, in Revue
roumaine de linguistique, XLVIII, 1-4, pp. 159-162.
Theban, Laurenţiu (2006) “The Syntactic Type of Romanian. The Basic Sentence”, in Revue
roumaine de linguistique, LI, 1, pp. 179-194.
Theban, Laurenţiu (2007), “The Specificity of Hindi Syntax (Defined in a Pan-Indian Typological
Framework”, in D. Stasik, A. Trynkowska (eds.) Teaching on India in Central and
Eastern Europe. Contributions to the 1st Central & Eastern European Indological
Conference on Regional Cooperation (Warsaw, 15-17 September 2005), Dom
Wydawniczy Elipsa, Warsaw, pp. 219-233.
Romanian is generally said to have no morphological markers for the category of aspect.
In this line of analysis, the meaning of aspect is rendered by means of adverbs or aspectual verbs.
(Gutu-Romalo, 2005). The aim of this paper is to present a comparative analysis of the imperfective
aspect in English and Romanian. In our study of the data, we bring further evidence to the claim
that the -ând morpheme is a marker of the imperfective in Romanian and can be analyzed on a par
with the English -ing (Avram, 2003). More specifically, we argue that the interaction with the -ând
morpheme can be used as a test to distinguish between different classes of predicates.
Keywords: aspect morphology, viewpoint aspect, situation type aspect, adverbial constructions,
participial constructions.
1. Introduction
The paper is divided into four main sections, as follows: section 2
introduces a general outline of the category of aspect. We will follow Smith
(1991), who argues that the meaning of aspect is compositional. Section 3
focuses on the imperfective aspect in English; we will adopt a unifying analysis
of the -ing morpheme, looking at three types of structures: sentences with the
present participle forming progressive temporal-aspectual forms, participial
complements of perception verbs and participial constructions used as
adverbials. Section 4 puts forth an analysis of the imperfective aspect in
Romanian, starting from the hypothesis according to which the morpheme -ând
is a marker of the imperfective (Avram 2003). A brief section 5 will summarize
the main findings and will draw the conclusion.
2. The category of aspect: A general outline
Smith (1991) defines aspect as “the semantic domain of the temporal
structure of situations (events and states) and their presentation”. According to
University of Bucharest, Department of English, [email protected]
her analysis, both viewpoint aspect and situation type aspect contribute to the
overall interpretation of the sentence.
In our analysis of the data, we will be assuming The Principle of
Compositionality, which states that the meaning of an expression depends on
the meaning of its constituents and also on the way in which they combine.
With respect to the aspectual interpretation of the sentence, we adopt the view
that it derives from the meaning contributed by the morphological markers of
aspect and the one contributed by the lexical structure of the predicate, as well
as from their mode of composition (Avram 2009).
3. The imperfective aspect in English
3.1. On the -ing morpheme
When discussing the -ing forms in English, one of the biggest challenges
in the literature has been putting forth a unifying analysis to account for the
variety of constructions in which this morpheme appears. Following Johns
(1992 in Cowper 1995) who argues that morphemes which are identical in
terms of their phonological features are also identical from the point of view of
their lexical properties, Cowper (1995) puts forth the Strong Monosemy
Principle, defined in (1) below:
(1) The conceptual structure of a lexical entry may contain no disjunction and no
optional elements. If the conceptual structure of two uses of a lexical item cannot be
unified through underspecification, they must be treated as distinct lexical entries.
She further argues that there are two -ing morphemes in English: one
involved in progressive constructions and one involved in non-progressive structures.
Cowper (1995) claims that one of the main properties of the progressive -ing
is that the event or state denoted extends over an interval and that “this reading
is due to a selection property imposed by -ing on the verb phrase”. Given that
these selectional restrictions are imposed by heads to their arguments, it is clear
that VP is the argument of -ing. Therefore, she assumes that there is “a
syntactically functional head (ING) which takes VP as its complement” and
which places the VP “at the same time as the higher verb”.
From the point of view of meaning, the progressive focuses only on a part
of the situation, not on its endpoints. When discussing the English progressive,
one of the most widespread analyses is “the time frame theory” proposed by
Jepersen. For sentences such as “He was hunting”, Jespersen states:
“The hunting is felt to be a kind of frame round something else; it is represented as lasting
some time before and possibly (or probably) also some time after something else, which
may or may not be expressly indicated, but which is always in the mind of the speaker”
(Jespersen 1932, in Kearns 1991).
The time framed can be either Speech Time, or the one given by certain
temporal adverbials denoting intervals or by temporal clauses.
Another important feature typical of the progressive is the emphasis on
temporariness, as can be seen in (2) below. While in the former sentence the
situation presented is more or less permanent, in the latter, due to the use of the
progressive, the situation presented is seen as temporary:
(2) a. They live in Lund.
b. They are living in Lund.
3.2. The interaction between situation types
and the progressive viewpoint
The interaction with the progressive is a well-known test which
distinguishes between the five situation types: states, activities, achievements,
accomplishment and semelfactives. Therefore, while activities can appear in
progressive sentences unrestricted, states cannot:
(3) John is dancing.
(4) *John is being tall.
However, there are situations where some states, for example Stage Level
Predicates, can appear in such sentences, precisely because they show a
temporary state:
(5) John is being polite.
Being instantaneous, achievements should also resist the progressive.
However, sentences such as (6) below seem to contradict this hypothesis:
(6) John is dying.
In such cases, Kearns (1991) analyzes achievements as a part of a process
which leads to a particular outcome, the focus falling on the preliminary stages
of the event.
Accomplishments seem to behave in a strange way when used in the
progressive. While in sentences such as John drew a circle the coming about of
a circle is a clear result, in sentences such as John was drawing a circle, the
entailment ‘John drew is a circle’ does not hold. According to Dowty (1979), in
such cases, ‘John was engaged in a bringing-a-circle-into-existence activity, but
does not entail that he brought a circle into existence’, a problem known in the
literature as “The Imperfective Paradox”. From this, Dowty infers that the
progressive is not just a temporal operator, but “a kind of mixed modaltemporal operator”, as he states that when uttering sentences such as “John was
drawing a circle”, the speaker does not commit to the actually coming into
existence of a circle, but only to the possibility of this happening. In order to
solve this paradox, Dowty introduces the concept of inertia worlds, or I-worlds,
which he defines as worlds identical to the given world up to a given time, in
which “the natural course of events takes place”. What’s more, he argues that in
order to be true, a Progressive sentence must be true in all such possible worlds,
not only in some. Therefore, sentences such as “John is building a house” are in
fact true, but not in the given world, but in all the I-worlds.
As far as the interaction of semelfactives with the -ing morpheme is
concerned, being instantaneous, they also resist the progressive. When semelfactives
appear in the progressive viewpoint, it is said that they have a shifted
interpretation, being understood as multiple-event activities (Smith 1991):
(7) Mary was knocking at the door.
(example from Smith 1991)
3.3. Participial Perception Verb Complements
Verbs of perception can take both a participial and a bare infinitive
complement, as can be seen in the examples below:
(8) I saw John walking.
(9) I recently saw him paint his house.
(examples taken from Declerck 1981)
Felser (1997) argues that the difference between Participial Perception
Verb Complements (PPVC) and Infinitival Perception Verb Complements
(IPVC) is one of aspect, corresponding to the progressive – non-progressive
distinction. Moreover, she proposes that PPVCs, as well as IPVCs, should be
analyzed as aspect phrases, phrases which are lower than T, but higher than V,
headed by an aspectual head, represented in (10) below:
Declerck (1981) also brings evidence in favour of this hypothesis,
arguing that the distinction between PPVCs and IPVCs is on a par with that
between progressive and non-progressive sentences:
(11) a. I saw John walk. (completion)
b. I saw John walking. (no completion)
(examples from Declerck 1981)
(12) a. I saw John blink. (single event)
b. I saw John blinking (iterative event)
(examples from Declerck 1981)
Another such argument comes from sentences denoting an ongoing, gradual
process, where PPVCs preferred over IPVCs:
(13) a. The plane was flying (flew?) lower and lower all the time.
b. I saw the plane flying (fly?) lower and lower all the time.
(examples taken from Declerck 1981)
On the basis of such examples, Declerck concludes that the distinction
between IPVCs and PPVCs is indeed one of aspect.
From the point of view of meaning, Felser (1997) points out that the
perceived event must be interpreted as simultaneous with the act of perceiving,
requirement known as the Simultaneity Condition (SC). In addition, given the
fact that the distinction between PPVCs and IPVCs is actually one of aspect
(progressive – non-progressive), IPVCs are perceived in their entirety, while
PPVCs are seen rather as ongoing. Therefore, precisely as it happens in the case
of progressive clauses, the event in the matrix clause and that in the subordinate
clause do not need to coincide completely, but there must be at least an overlap
between the two. According to Felser (1997) “the PVC time INCLUDES the
time of seeing, hearing, etc”.
3.4. Participial constructions used as adverbials
Tomozawa (2003) states that the interpretation of participial
constructions used as adverbials (PC) is strongly linked to the idea of
This type of analysis seems to account for the large variety of the
adverbial uses of PCs. Thus, PCs can be, among others, “circumstantial”,
“conditional”, “causal” as can be seen in the sentences below:
(14) a. Walking on tiptoe, I approached the little window.
b. As I was walking on tiptoe, I approached the little window.
(15) a. Confessing your feelings, you might be forgiven.
b. If you confess your feelings, you might be forgiven.
(16) a. Dancing beautifully, she won the competition.
b. Because she danced beautifully, she won the competition.
(examples from Tomozawa, 2003)
This diversity is only apparent, as “in underlying PC sentences (others
than those involving present participles) there is a temporal relationship where
the event in the subordinate clause is located simultaneously with that in the
matrix clause” (Tomozawa 2003).
There is one other type of participial construction which Tomozawa
analyzes, illustrated in (17) below:
(17) a. Lifting the telephone, she asked for room 1410.
b. Leaping out of bed, he dressed so quickly that he put his boots on the wrong feet.
c. Turning on the radio, I noticed immediately that it was not working properly.
(examples from Tomozawa 2003)
These examples seem to challenge the simultaneity analysis proposed so
far, as the situation expressed in the matrix clause is subsequent to that in the
PC. However, Kortmann (1995, quoted in Tomozawa 2003) believes that this
succession does not necessarily rule out the idea of simultaneity, as in these
examples there is a case of “immediate succession”. Declerck (1982) also puts
forth this idea, calling this type of relation “sloppy simultaneity” and stating that
“In these cases, the speaker disregards the fact that the two situations do not
really overlap but concentrates on the fact that they follow each other closely
and that there is some logical relation between them” (Declerck 1991 in
Tomozawa 2003)
What’s more, in order to account for examples such as the ones in (18),
where the time passed between the two situation is definitely not small,
Declerck adds that “the use of a tense form expressing simultaneity then means
that the speaker treats the two situations as belonging to the same “occasion”
and hence as failing within the same interval”:
(18) He went to university at the age of 17, graduating six years later as a civil engineer.
(example from Tomozawa 2003)
4. The imperfective aspect in Romanian
According to traditional grammar, as far as viewpoint aspect is
concerned, in Romanian the only grammaticised distinction that exists is the
one between the perfective and the imperfective, illustrated in (19) below:
(19) a. Dana ţi-a scris lucrarea.
‘Dana has written her paper.’
b. Dana scria lucrarea.
‘Dana was writing her paper.’
In all other cases, it is said that aspect is marked by means of lexical
constructions, such as adverbs or aspect verbs.
However, Avram (2003) argues that Romanian, just as English, has an
aspect marker for imperfectivity: the -ând morpheme. Starting from the analysis
of -ând form as being exclusively verbal in nature (Caragiu 1957, Gramatica
Academiei 2005), Avram states that the Romanian gerund actually behaves like
a present participle, and, on a par with the English -ing, the morpheme -ând is
base generated under AspP.
The verbal nature of the so-called “gerund” has actually been noticed in
the literature (Caragiu 1957): “the Romanian gerund is an invariable verbal
form which expresses an action as an ongoing process and which, in most cases,
has a predicative function.
Avram (2003) argues that the -ând construction cannot be analyzed as a
CP, a TP or an AgrP. She provides evidence against the CP analysis showing
that, among other incompatibilities, -ând constructions cannot be preceded by
relative pronouns, which may be taken to indicate that, in such constructions,
there is no CP layer:
(20) *luna ce/care strălucind pe cer
‘the moon shining in the sky’
(example from Avram 2003)
Moreover, gerund constructions cannot be introduced by a complementizer:
(21) *a spus că jucând
‘he/she says that playing’
Avram (2003) rejects the TP analysis as well. “Temporally speaking, the
gerund never has a deictic function, but only an anaphoric one, its value being
dependent on a reference time (often represented by the verb in the matrix
clause)” (Gramatica Academiei 2005) .
The AgrsP analysis is also rejected, since gerund constructions lack
agreement markers.
Thus, following Felser (1997) and Bošcović (1997, in Avram 2003),
Avram (2003) proposes that the Romanian -ând form be analyzed on a par with
the English -ing, as in (22) below:
(from Avram 2003)
Avram (2003) claims that “eventive predicates project a temporal
argument which needs to be bound in order to denote an individual event”. Such
binders are considered to be Tense, auxiliaries and aspectual adverbs. Given
that the -ând forms do not convey temporal information, but rather they depend
on that in the matrix clause and that they cannot co-occur with auxiliaries,
Avram (2003) concludes that in such cases, the binder is in fact Aspect.
Throughout the analysis of the English progressive, we have stressed the
concept of “simultaneity” as being one of the core meanings of the English -ing,
identified in all the structures analyzed. This idea of simultaneity can be found
in the Romanian gerund as well, being considered “the fundamental temporal
value of the gerund” (Gramatica Academiei 2005). In most cases, the event presented
in the subordinate clause is simultaneous with the one in the matrix clause.
(23) A plecat plângând.
‘She left crying.’
What’s more, as in the case of the English -ing, the predicate in the
subordinate clause can be seen as creating a type of temporal frame in which the
event in the matrix clause is situated.
(24) Alergând prin pădure, am dat de un urs.
‘While I was running through the woods, I bumped into a bear.’
Although simultaneous, the temporal intervals of the two events may or
may not coincide completely. While in the examples above, the verb in the matrix
clause is encompassed by that in the subordinate, here are also cases in which
two predicates have more or less the same duration, as can be seen in (25) below:
(25) S-a uitat la finală, gândindu-se mereu că va ajunge şi el acolo.
‘He watched the finals, always thinking about getting there as well.’
4.1. The interaction between situation types and the -ând morpheme
If the Romanian -ând is semantically similar to the English -ing, the
interaction with the -ând morpheme should represent a test which distinguishes
between the five situation types, on a par with the English -ing.
4.1.1. The interpretation of state predicates in -ând constructions
While state predicates cannot interact freely with the English progressive,
they can do that with the Romanian -ând. Thus, there is no distinction in
interpretation between the sentences in (26) below:
(26) a. Fiind înalt, vedea peste toată lumea.
‘Because he was tall, he could see over everyone’s head.’
*‘While he was tall, he could see over everyone’s head.’
b. Semănând cu tatăl lui, a chelit repede.
‘Because he resembled his father, he went bold quickly.’
*‘While he resembled his father, he went bold quickly.’
c. Iubind-o, i-a dedicat o poezie.
Because he loved her, he dedicated a poem to her.
*‘While he loved her, he dedicated a poem to her.’
d. Fiind politicos, toată lumea l-a apreciat.
Because he was polite, everybody appreciated him.
*‘While he was polite, everybody appreciated him.’
In the set of sentences above, being states, all predicates are durative: the
difference between them is that while the first two examples are instances of
[– control] predicates, the others are [+control] predicates. However, despite
this distinction, in all of these cases, there is only one possible interpretation,
the causative one. There are indeed some exceptions to this rule, for example
the sentence in (27):
(27) Stând pe marginea lacului, privea stelele.
As he was sitting by the lake, he was watching the stars.
‘Because he was sitting by the lake, he was watching the stars.’
Here, although the predicate is a state, there are two possible
interpretations; the sentence can be interpreted either as a temporal sentence, or
as a causative one. What is however important is the nature of the predicate.
‘Sit’, just as ‘stand’, ‘lie’, etc. is a locative verb. These are state predicates
which also allow the progressive in English, because they denote temporary
states. Thus, they are not fully stative, but rather on the verge between a stative
predicate and a non-stative one.
There is another class of predicates which behaves similarly to states with
respect to the interaction with the -ând morpheme, namely habituals.
(28) a. Alergând 10 de km în fiecare zi, a câştigat maratonul.
Because he ran 10 km daily, he won the marathon.
*‘While he ran 10 km daily, he won the marathon.’
b. Jucând tenis în fiecare săptămână, se menţinea în formă.
Because he played tennis every week, he stayed fit.
*‘While he played tennis every week, he stayed fit.’
Although these predicates are not at the basic level states, we follow
Leech’s proposal (Leech 1969, in Kearns 1991) who believes that “the habitual
present describes a general state of affairs, continuing through the present
moment and consisting of repeated event”. In Romanian we can interpret such
predicates as denoting a “general state of affairs” as well, or, In Carlson’s
analysis, they are Individual Level Predicates. Thus, just as State predicates,
when interacting with the -ând morpheme, habituals allow a single reading,
namely the causal one.
4.1.2. The interpretation of activities in -ând constructions
Activities should be able to interact freely with the -ând morpheme:
(29) Dansând, se gândea la ea.
While dancing, he was thinking about her.
‘Because he was dancing he was thinking about her.’
In contrast to states, when activities are used in -ând constructions, the
interpretation of the sentence is context dependent: it can either have a temporal
reading or a causal one. However, not all activities allow both readings. While
the predicate in (29) is [+ control], the predicates in (30) are [– control].
(30) a. Ningând, n-am mai putut ieşi.
Because it was snowing, we couldn’t go out anymore.
*‘While it was snowing, we couldn’t go out anymore.’
b. Plouând, oraşul s-a inundat.
‘Because it was raining, the city flooded.’
*‘While it was raining, the city flooded.
Clearly, such sentences can only accept one interpretation, namely the
causal one. Thus, it seems that the way in which Activities interact with -ând is
variable, depending on whether the predicate is [+ control] or not.
Thus, although the interaction with the -ând morpheme can help us
distinguish stative verbs from activties, it is not always the case that the
interpretation of all non-statives is context dependent.
4.1.3. The interpretation of achievements in -ând constructions
Being instantaneous, achievements should only allow the causative reading:
(31) a. Găsind uşa deschisă, a intrat în cameră.
*‘While he found the door opened, he entered the room.’
‘Because he found the door opened, he entered the room.’
b. Dându-şi seama de greşeala făcută, s-a hotărât să îşi ceară scuze.
*While he realized his mistake, he decided to apologize.
Because he realized his mistake, he decided to apologize.
The examples in (32) show that irrespective of their [+ control]/[− control]
feature, the temporal reading is not available:
(32) a. Câştigând cursa, a devenit nr. 1 mondial.
*‘While he won the race, he became no. 1.’
‘Because he won the race, he became no. 1.’
b. Ajungând mai târziu, a ratat toată distracţia.
*‘While he arrived late, he missed on all the fun.’
‘Because he arrived late, he missed on all the fun.’
Precisely because they are instantaneous, achievements cannot have a
temporal reading. Thus, we can add another important semantic feature to our
analysis, namely “duration”. So far, we can say that within the non-stative class,
predicates which are instantaneous always have a causal interpretation,
irrespective of whether they are [+control] or [−control]. In this respect,
achievements behave on a par with states, in spite of the fact that they differ
with respect to the [±duration] feature.
4.1.4. The interpretation of accomplishments in -ând constructions
Accomplishments differ from achievements from the point of view of
duration. As [± duration] is an important feature in the analysis of the
interaction of aspectual classes and the -ând morpheme, the assumption is that
the two classes of predicates behave differently.
(33) a. Construind o casă, se gândea la cum va sta cu soţia lui pe verandă.
‘While he was building a house, he was thinking about how would stay with his
wife on the porch.’
‘Because he was building a house, he was thinking about how he would stay with
his wife on the porch.’
b. Desenând un unicorn, mintea i-a zburat în lumea basmelor.
‘While he was drawing a unicorn, his mind wondered in the land of fairytales.’
‘Because he was drawing a unicorn, his mind wondered in the land of fairytales.’
Accomplishments allow both interpretations. In fact, when interacting
with the -ând morpheme, accomplishments are reinterpreted as activities.
Therefore, it comes as no surprise that they behave similarly in terms of
interpretation. The only feature which distinguishes achievements from
accomplishments, [duration], seems to be the one which imposes on
achievements only the causal reading. What is in fact of importance for this
analysis is the fact that the way in which the two classes of verbs interact with
-ând, which attaches duration to a predicate, seems to differentiate them,
precisely as in English.
4.1.5. The interpretation of semelfactives in -ând constructions
In English, semelfactives cannot interact with the progressive marker
without being recategorized: they are interpreted as iterative and hence they are
considered activities. In Romanian, semelfactives freely occur with the -ând;
though in most cases the situation is reinterpreted as iterative (34b), this is not
always the case (34a):
(34) a. Strănutând, toată lumea a văzut că se ascundea în spatele perdelei.
*‘While he was sneezing, everybody saw he was hiding behind the curtains.’
‘Because he was sneezing, everybody saw he was hiding behind the curtains.
b. Lovindu-l pe prizonier, soldatul avea mustrări de conştiinţă.
While he was hitting the prisoner, the soldier felt remorseful.
‘Because he was hitting the prisoner, the soldier felt remourseful.’
Because these sentences are reinterpreted as activities, they can be either
just causal, in the case of [−control] semelfactives, or they can allow both
readings, in the case of [+control] predicates.
4.2. -ând constructions as PVCs
While in English PPVCs and IPVC differ in terms of aspect, on a par
with the distinction between the progressive and the non-progressive, in
Romanian, this distinction does not hold, as the only possible structure is the
one in (35a) and not the one in (35b):
(35) a. L-am văzut pe Andrei râzând.
‘I saw Andrei laughing.’
b. *L-am văzut pe Andrei râde.
Felser (1997) points out that the restrictions which are applied to the
interaction of the -ing with different classes of predicates in progressive
aspectual-temporal forms also hold in the case of PVCs. Thus, the predicate in
the subordinate clause has to be a non-stative predicate. This seems to be the
case in Romanian as well, where sentences such as the ones in (36) are
considered strange:
(37) a. ???L-am văzut fiind gras.
*‘I saw him being fat.’
b. ???L-am văzut fiind înalt.
*’I saw him being tall.’
As in the case of English, there are however some state predicates which
are allowed as PVCs, such as the ones in (38) below.
(38) L-am văzut stând pe marginea lacului.
‘I saw him standing by the lake.’
However, these location verbs are a class of predicates which denote
temporary states, or, as Dowty (1979) argues, “an object which has recently
moved or might be expected to move in the near future”. Thus, these predicates
are Stage Level Predicates, not Individual Level Predicates, in Carlson’s
In contrast, non-stative predicates can appear in -ând constructions as PVCs:
(38) a. L-am văzut alergând.
‘I saw him running.’
b. L-am văzut dansând.
‘I saw him dancing.’
c. L-am auzit sughiţând.
‘I heard him hiccupping.’
In (38c), although the predicate in the subordinate clause is at the basic
level a semelfactive, in this example it is recategorized and interpreted as an
activity, precisely because it is perceived as being iterative and durative. Thus,
we can say that what the -ând morpheme does in such cases is attach duration to
the predicate.
From the example below, it is clear that non-durative predicates can also
be used as PVCs.
(39) a. Am auzit geamul spărgându-se.
‘I heard the window breaking.’
b. L-am văzut câştigând meciul.
‘I saw him winning the match.’
c. Am văzut avionul aterizând.
‘I saw the plane landing.’
Similarly to the behavior of achievements when interacting with the -ing
morpheme in English, the interaction of Romanian achievements with the –ind
morpheme emphasizes the preliminary stages rather than the change of state if
the situation includes preliminary stages.
What is however interesting is the fact that while in the sentences in (39)
the predicate was atelic and durative and thus the event was seen as on-going,
imperfective in meaning, in these examples, the entailment is that the event
indeed took place. As Avram (2003) states, this type of interaction between the
grammatical aspect and the lexical one is actually specific of the -en
constructions in English, not the -ing. She points out the fact that when the -en
morpheme attaches to an atelic verb, the whole predicate will be interpreted as
atelic, while when it attaches to a telic verb, the predicate as a whole will be
considered telic.
Consider now the examples in (40):
(40) a. L-am văzut pe Ion desenând un cerc.
‘I saw him drawing a circle.’
b. L-am auzit pe Ion compunând un cântec.
‘I heard him composing a song.’
The complements of the perception verbs are all accomplishments, hence
non-stative, telic and durative. Unlike the achievements in (39), these predicates
are not perceived as perfective, but as imperfective, as on-going. What’s more,
taking into consideration the Imperfective Paradox we notice that here as well,
Ion started drawing a circle, but it is not necessarily the case that he actually
finished drawing it. In such cases, the emphasis falls on the process rather than
on the result, as the speaker chooses not to commit himself/herself to the
coming into existence of a circle, as Dowty states.
5. Conclusions
In conclusion, in this paper we have brought further evidence for the
interpretation of the Romanian -ând morpheme as a marker of the imperfective
aspect, on a par with the English -ing. The interaction with the -ând morpheme
can be used as a relevant test when talking about the different aspectual classes
in Romanian.
First of all, in the case of adverbials, the interaction with -ând
distinguishes between stative and non-stative predicates, the former allowing
only a causative reading, irrespective or their [± control] feature. Then, within
the class of non-statives, there is a difference between [− control] predicates,
which only allow the causative interpretation and [+ control] ones, whose
reading is context dependent. In addition, there is an additional feature which
distinguishes between achievements and accomplishments, namely [± duration],
in the sense that only durative predicates allow both readings.
Secondly, by analyzing -ând constructions in PVCs, we noticed that only
non-statives are allowed in such constructions. What’s more, we saw that, in
these contexts, achievements and accomplishments have different interpretations, as
the former give rise to a closed interpretation, the latter allow only an open one.
Thus, our main hypothesis was confirmed: the Romanian morpheme -ând
can be analyzed on a par with the English -ing, as a morphological aspectual marker.
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Bucureşti, Bucharest.
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XLVIII, 2, pp. 203-219.
Avram, Larisa (2010), Tense, Aspect and Mood in English, Unpublished course of lectures,
University of Bucharest.
Caragiu, Matilda (1957), “Sintaxa gerunziului românesc”, in Studii de Gramatică, vol. II, Editura
Academiei, Bucharest, pp. 61-89.
Cornilescu, Alexandra (2003), Complementation in English: A Minimalist Perspective, Editura
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40, 1, pp. 1-38.
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Complements”, in Glossa, 15, 1, pp. 83-114.
Declerck, Renaat (1982), “The Triple Origin of Participial Perception Verb Complements”, in
Linguistic Analysis, 10, pp. 231-259.
Dowty, David (1979), Word Meaning and Montague Grammar, Reidel, Dordrecht.
Edelstein, Frieda (1972), Sintaxa gerunziului românesc, Editura Academiei R.S.R, Bucharest.
Felser, Claudia (1998), “Perception and Control: A Minimalist Analysis of English Direct
Perception – Verb Complements”, in Journal of Linguistics, 34, pp. 351-385.
Guțu-Romalo, Valeria (coord.) (2005), Gramatica limbii române, vol. 1, third edition, Editura
Academiei, Bucharest.
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in English Linguistics, 20, 2, pp. 492-515.
The article approaches, from an etymological point of view, a word category created by
means of the lexical phenomenon entitled truncation. This phenomenon, widely spread in English,
can be observed in other languages as well, and the examples we came upon relate to the
tendencies of the last decades, as well as to more ancient layers of language.
Most of the times, truncation leads to the development of stylistical variants of the words,
but when vocabulary elements acquire new meanings, one can talk about the establishment of
independent words which have „grown” out of source-words and can historically be considered
etymological doublets of the sources.
While when it comes to German, the quasi-totality of these doublets has been already
unveiled, as far as Romanian is concerned, research is still at the beginning. Thus, the article
particularly focuses upon ethymological doublets that have been created through truncation from
this language.
Keywords: etymology, doublets, truncation, comparativism, history of language
1. Zum Begriff ‚etymologische Dublette‘
Ein spannendes Kapitel der Etymologie wurde von der sogenannten
Dublettenforschung geschrieben, derjenigen Sparte der Sprachgeschichte, die
sich mit der Ermittlung und Untersuchung von lexikalischen Einheiten
beschäftigt, die – ohne Mitwirkung derivativer Wortbildungsmittel – auf das
gleiche Etymon zurückgehen und aufgrund dieses sprachhistorischen
Kriteriums in Paaren oder längeren Reihen gruppiert werden können.
Dem hier zur Diskussion stehenden lexikalischen Phänomen, das als
Wortspaltung1 beschrieben wurde, kann man in zahlreichen Sprachen begegnen.
Im Folgenden seien zur Veranschaulichung lediglich einige Beispiele aus dem
Deutschen und aus dem Rumänischen2 angeführt:
Universität Bukarest, Fremdsprachenfakultät, Germanistikabteilung, [email protected]
S. insbesondere Paraschkewow 2004.
Die deutschen Beispiele aus Paraschkewow 2004; die rumänischen Beispiele von Vlad
(1) dt. Mann (< mhd. man < ahd. man) / man Pron. (< ahd. man ‚Mensch, Mann’).
(2) dt. Bollwerk (< mhd., mniederl. bolwerc ‚Befestigung’, ‚Festung’, eigtl. ‚Schutzbau
aus Bohlen und Erde’) / Boulevard (< frz. boulevard < mniederl. bolwerc), urspr.
‚Stadtwall, Festungswerk’, seit dem 18. Jh. ‚ringförmig verlaufende Prachtstraße an
der Stelle der früheren Festungswälle’.
(3) dt. Taler (< dt. [Joachims]thaler [Guldengroschen] / Dollar (< engl. dollar < über
fläm. < niederdt. dāler < hdt. Taler).
(4) dt. Waffe (< Waffen, Pl. von Waffen Neutrum < mhd. wāfen ‚Waffe;
Erkennungszeichen auf der Waffe bzw. im Schild; Wappen’< ahd. wāfan < germ.
*wǣpna-) / Wappen Neutrum (< mniederl. wāpen < germ. *wǣpna-)3.
(5) rum. a purta ‚tragen‘ (< lat. portāre) / a porta ‚den Anbieter von
Mobilfunkdienstleistungen wechseln und dabei die Telefonnummer beibehalten‘
(< engl. Port ‚tragen’ < frz. porter < lat. portāre).
(6) rum. font ‚Schriftart‘ Neutrum (< engl. font < frz. fonte) / fontă ‚Gusseisen‘
Femininum (< frz. fonte < vlat. *fundita, substantiviertes Fem. v. vlat. Partizip
*funditus ‚gegossen‘).
Unter den zahlreichen Bezeichnungen, die derartige Bestandteile des
Wortschatzes erhalten haben, ist die von Behaghel (1878) eingeführte
terminologischen Vielfalt hat sich allerdings der Begriff „etymologische
Dubletten“ (ED) quasi durchgesetzt, mit dem Lexeme, Affixe und Affixoide
gemeint sind, die auf das gleiche Etymon, bzw. auf Varianten oder
Flexionsformen des gleichen Etymons zurückzuführen sind.
Zu den relativ zahlreichen lexikalischen Phänomenen, die als Ursache
spontaner Wortspaltung identifiziert wurden, zählen u.a. (doppelte oder
mehrfache) Entlehnung, Konversion, Herausbildung und Verselbstständigung
verschiedener Wörter aus polysemen Lexemen, morphologische Rückbildung,
Lehnübersetzung und Wortkürzung.
Da die oben erläuterten Prozesse lexikalischer Aufspaltung sowohl
innerhalb der beschriebenen lexikalischen Systems, als auch außerhalb dessen
erfolgen, kann man mit Paraschkewow (2004: XX) von sprachinterner bzw.
von sprachexterner Wortspaltung sprechen. Während der erste Subtyp mit
Beispielen wie Messe1 ‚Gottesdienst’ / Messe2 ‚große Ausstellung’ (wo ein
ursprünglich polysemes Lexem sich in zwei Homonyme aufgespalten hat) oder
Schild1 Maskulinum ‚Schutzwaffe‘ / Schild2 Neutrum ‚beschriftete Tafel‘
(durch Genusdifferenzierung entstandenes ED-Paar) belegt werden kann,
zeichnet sich der zweite Subtyp dadurch aus, dass er Dublettenreihen enthält,
Der Doppelfrikativ in Waffe ist eine Folge der 2. (hochdeutschen) Lautverschiebung:
germ. -p- wurde in postvokalischer Position zu -ff- (vgl. König 1994: 63).
deren etymongleiche Bestandteile durch Entlehnung aus einer oder aber
mehreren Sprachen in der analysierten Sprache quasi „zusammengetroffen“
sind, vgl. dt. Kolumne / Kolonne (< lat. columna), Krypta / Grotte (< griech.
kryptḗ), Magister / Maestro / Master / Mister / Massa / Maître (de plaisir)
(< lat. magister)4.
Die oben erwähnte Wortkürzung trägt in nicht unwesentlichem Maße zur
Herausbildung von Wörtern und / oder Affixen, die aufgrund ihrer lexikalischen
Beschaffenheit und / oder semantischen Eigenständigkeit neben ihrer Vorlagen
im Wortschatz stehen und dadurch als deren etymologische Dubletten
bezeichnet werden können.
Die neuere ED-Forschung hat dabei die Existenz von zweierlei
Ergebnissen der Wortkürzung festgestellt: Isolierungen bzw. Fragmentierungen
(vgl. Paraschkewow 2004: XIX). Die ersteren werden verstanden als
„verselbständigte Bestandteile eines Kompositums, die dessen Funktion und
Bedeutung übernommen haben und nur mit ihrer eigenen Grundlage und deren
Dubletten ein Dublettenpaar oder eine Dublettenreihe bilden“: vgl. Hoch
Neutrum (<Hochdruckgebiet) als ED des Adjektivs hoch, Ober Maskulinum
(<Oberkellner) als ED von ober... Adjektiv / Oberer ‚Vorgesetzter‘
(substantiviertes, schwach flektiertes Maskulinum) / Obers ‚(bair.-österr.)
Sahne‘ (ursprüngl. substantiviertes Neutrum v. ober...)5.
Fragmentierungen – der eigentliche Gegenstand des vorliegenden
Aufsatzes – liegen dann vor, wenn die Kurzform die Morphemgrenze des
entsprechenden Simplex, Derivats oder Kompositums nicht einhält. Sofern
diese Wortstutzungen eine eigene Bedeutung entwickelt haben, sind sie als
Dubletten der jeweiligen Wörter zu betrachten: vgl. Faraday (Eigenname) /
Farad (physikalische Einheit)6, Vampir / Vamp, Faksimile (< lat. Fac simile!) /
Fax, Karawane / Van7. Von ihnen sind die sprachschichtmäßigen KurzwortVarianten ihrer Ausgangswörter (vgl. Abi von Abitur, Demo von
Demonstration, Hans von Johannes) scharf zu trennen.
Während im Falle der oben angeführten Beispiele die Wortkürzung zur
Herausbildung eigenständiger Wortschatzelemente geführt hat, kommen
manche Fragmentierungen nur in gebundenem Gebrauch vor. Da sie nicht
wortfähig sind, jedoch eine lexikalische Bedeutung aufweisen, werden sie als
Affixoide betrachtet. Einige Beispiele aus dem Rumänischen: info- (in
infochioşc ‚Informationsstand; Auskunft‘; < rum. informaţie ‚Information‘ oder
Beispiele nach Paraschkewow 2004.
Beispiele nach Paraschkewow 2004.
Das Gleiche gilt auch für das Rumänische: Faraday / farad. Fälle wie Ångström
(Eigenname) / Ångström (Physikalische Einheit) oder Ampère (Eigenname) / amper,
-i (Physikalische Einheit) sind durch Wortspaltung aufgrund (morpho-)semantischer
Differenzierung zu erklären.
Beispiele nach Paraschkewow 2004.
Präfixoid fremder Herkunft); das ältere, positionsvaliable Rom- / -rom (< România,
in verschiedenen Unternehmens- und Veranstaltungsnamen wie Asirom, Romavia,
Tarom, Rompetrol, Petrom, Romexpo; vgl. Stoichiţoiu-Ichim 2006: 316); macedo(in macedoromân‚Mazedorumäne‘; < macedo[nean] ‚Mazedonier‘, wobei die
wortbildungsmäßige Struktur der Vorlage, nämlich Stamm macedon- + Suffix: -ean,
nicht eingehalten ist). Alle hier vorgestellten stellen Dubletten der jeweiligen
Lexeme dar. Da im vorliegenden Aufsatz die Kategorie der selbstständig
vorkommenden Kurzwörter im Vordergrund steht, werde ich auf die gebunden
vorkommenden Fragmentierungen nicht mehr eingehen.
2. Fragmentierungen als ED deutscher Lexeme
Da der Großteil der deutschen ED-Paare, die Fragmentierungen
enthalten, von der Forschung bereits ermittelt wurde (vgl. Paraschkewow 2004),
werde ich im Folgenden lediglich einige Belege mit exemplarischem Charakter
anführen, die den Sprachwissenschaftlern, die sich mit der Problematik der
etymongleichen Wörter beschäftigt haben, wohl entgangen sind und
dementsprechend als meine Vorschläge gelten könnten.
A. Sprachinterne Wortspaltungen:
(7) Kombi1 M. ‚Kombiwagen‘ (< Kombiwagen < Kombinationskraftwagen8) / Kombi2 F.
‚Kombination‘ (< Kombination) / Kombination.
Kombi1 ist durch Isolierung aus Kombiwagen (dessen Genus es
übernommen hat) entstanden, aber als selbstständiges Wort repräsentiert es eine
Kopffragmentierung von Kombination, also die Dublette von Kombi2, von dem
es sich genusmäßig und semantisch unterscheidet.
(8) Prolet (< Proletarier) / Proletarier.
Prolet steht bekanntlich veraltend für ‚Proletarier‘, aber es wird stilistisch
gefärbt bzw. abwertend auch für jemanden, der keine Umgangsformen hat,
verwendet. Deshalb ist es keine einfache Variante von Proletarier, auf das es
zurückgeht, sondern – durch die Bedeutungserweiterung, die es erfahren hat –
dessen Dublette.
Als Letztes sei auf einen aus Lăzărescu (1999: 73)9 übernommenen Beleg
hingewiesen, der in gewisser Hinsicht einen Spezialfall darstellt: Rabi, das auf
Kohlrabi ‚Kohlart‘ zurückgeht. Diese umgangssprachliche Bezeichnung für
DDUW, unter Artikel Kombi1. Kombiwagen ist wohl als Klammerform von
Kombi[nationskraft]wagen zu verstehen.
Er zitiert ihn seinerseits aus Küpper 1993.
‚Kopf‘10 ist m.E. als eine sprachinterne Fragmentierung einzuschätzen, weil ihre
Grundlage im Deutschen trotz der komplexen Struktur in der Ausgangssprache
(ital. cavoli rape (Pl.), zu: cavolo ‚Kohl‘ u. rapa ‚Rübe‘11) nicht weiter
segmentierbar ist (weil nicht im Deutschen aus Kohl und Rabi od. Ä. gebildet).
Allerdings muss das semantisch nachvollziehbare Kohl- bei der
Verselbstständigung der Endsequenz -rabi eine wichtige Rolle gespielt haben.
Insofern darf behauptet werden, dass Kohlrabi und Rabi (auch unter der
erfüllten Bedingung der bedeutungsmäßigen Differenz) ein Dublettenpaar bilden.
B. Sprachexterne Wortspaltungen:
Ster ‚Raummaß‘ (< frz. stère < griech. stereós) / stereo (isoliert aus engl.
stereo[phonic] < griech. stereós)12.
(10) Pneu M. / Pneuma.
Über die Dreierreihe Pneu/Pneuma als deutsches Spiegelbild des
rumänischen, weiter unten beschriebenen Dublettenpaares ist unter
etymologischem Blickwinkel die Tatsache hervorzuheben, dass Pneu laut
DDUW13 als Kurzform zweier Substantive dient, nämlich von Pneumatik2 M.,
(österr.) F. ‚Luftreifen‘ und von Pneumothorax ‚Luftbrust‘, von denen es das
Genus und die Bedeutungen übernommen hat. Jedoch stellt es – wie weiter oben
im Falle der rumänischen Pendants gezeigt – die Dublette von Pneuma dar.
3. Fragmentierungen als ED rumänischer Lexeme
Schon von vorne herein muss folgende terminologische Präzisierung
formuliert werden: In der rumänischen Lexikologie werden die
Wortkürzungsfälle nicht in Fragmentierungen und Isolierungen eingeteilt,
sondern es wird allgemein von trunchiere (Kürzung) gesprochen; ELR definiert
den genannten Begriff als Wortbildungsverfahren, das in der Weglassung des
initialen (Aphärese) oder des Endteils (Apokope) von einem Lexem besteht14.
Die umgangssprachliche Benennung menschlicher Körperteile durch Obst- und
Gemüsebezeichnungen ist verbreitet und sehr bekannt, vgl. z.B. auch rum. tărtăcuţă und
bostan oder dt. Rübe, Birne, Kürbis für ‚Kopf‘.
Vgl. DDUW unter Artikel Kohlrabi.
Kluge (1989: 700).
Vgl. DDUW unter Artikel Pneu.
Vgl. ELR (S. 591), unter dem Artikel trunchiere: „Procedeu de formare a cuvintelor care
constă în eliminarea părţii finale (apocopă) sau iniţiale (afereză) a unui cuvânt […].
[Astfel] se obţin cuvinte mai economice din punct de vedere fonetic: bac < bacalaureat
(ambele < fr.), balon < balonzaid (< germ. Ballonseide), grep < grepfrut (engl. grapefruit), mate < matematici, prof, -ă < profesor, -oară. […] În această categorie pot fi
Die Belege, auf die ich mich im Folgenden beziehen werde, sind solche
Bildungen, bei denen die Kürzung ungeachtet der Morphemgrenzen innerhalb
des Ausgangswortes stattgefunden hat.
Die meisten der von anderen Forschern und von mir im Rumänischen
identifizierten und mit anderen Worten ED-Reihen bildenden Fragmentierungen
sind fremder Herkunft; anders gesagt, die Kürzung ist schon in einer
Fremdsprache erfolgt, aus der das Rumänische sie entlehnt hat. Solche Fälle
stellen aus der Perspektive des Rumänischen sprachexterne Wortspaltungen dar.
Darüber hinaus habe ich aber auch einige Ergebnisse sprachinterner
Wortspaltungsprozesse identifizieren können.
Moroianu (2005) bezieht sich nicht explizit auf die Fragmentierung als
ED-produzierendes Phänomen. Er betrachtet jedoch einige ursprünglich
fremdsprachliche Bildungen dieser Art als Dubletten rumänischer Lexeme, z.B.:
(11) vampă ‚Vamp‘ (< frz. vamp < engl. Vamp[ire] < frz. vampire < dt. Vampir; engl.
Vamp) / vampir ‚Vampir‘ (< frz. vampire, dt. Vampir)15.
(12) gin ‚Gin‘ (< engl. Gin, frz. gin < niederl. Jenever < lat. iuniperus) / jneapăn
‚(Alpen)Wacholder‘ (< lat. iuniperus) / ienupăr ‚Wacholder‘ (< lat. iuniperus)16.
In die gleiche Kategorie fallen auch folgende Belege, die schon seit
sprachwissenschaftlichen Fachliteratur vorkommen und die zusammen mit der
jeweiligen Dublette als weitere Belege hinzugefügt werden können:
A. Sprachinterne Wortspaltungen:
(13) fa, fă ‚(volkssprachlich bzw. pejorativ / depreziativ) Interjektion
Anredefunktion‘ (< fată, nach dem Muster von mă17) / fată ‚Mädchen‘.
(14) ornic ‚(Wand)uhr‘ (< ceasornic) / ceasornic ‚Uhr (Zeitmesser)‘.
Das letztere Dublettenpaar, das aus zwei veralteten Teilsynonymen
besteht, ist durch einen volksetymologischen Prozess zustande gekommen, der
im Falle des letzteren Wortes stattgefunden hat. Ceasornic geht das auf bulg.
časovnik (часовник) zurück und wurde in Anlehnung an rum. oră ‚Uhr
(Zeitpunkt), Stunde‘ umgestaltet (Hristea 1968: 31f.). Die etymologische
Identität des Wortpaares besteht darin, dass ornic durch Fragmentierung aus
ceasornic entstand und lexikografisch nicht als Variante seiner Grundlage
încadrate şi t. unor compuse cu prefixoide ca: radio (aparat, societate) < radioreceptor,
radiodifuziune […].“
Moroianu (2005: 137). Dt. Vampir geht seinerseits auf serb. vampir zurück. Ins
Französische ist das Wort aus dem Deutschen eingedrungen.
Moroianu (2005: 58).
GLR (S. 678f.).
verzeichnet ist.18 Zwar führte nicht die Volksetymologie selbst im vorliegenden
Fall zur Etymonspaltung, aber sie stellte m. E. einen ihrer begünstigenden oder
sogar auslösenden Faktoren dar: die Endsequenz -ornic wurde als
substantivische Ableitung aus oră mithilfe des auch im Rumänischen
produktiven Suffixes slawischer Herkunft -nic mit der Bedeutung ‚Uhr
(Zeitmesser)‘ gedeutet (Hristea 1968: 31f.) und hat dadurch eine gewisse
Motivation im Vergleich zum unmotivierten Derivationssuffix -ovnik aus dem
bulgarischen Etymon erhalten, was zu ihrer Verselbständigung aus der Form
ceasornic führen konnte, die aufgrund der Teilsynonymie von ceas19 und oră
möglicherweise sogar als eine pleonastische Bildung empfunden wurde.
Sprachexterne Wortspaltungen:
(15) bichon (< frz. bichon20 < frz. barbichon21) / barbişon (< frz. barbichon).
(16) combi22 Adj., Subst. (< dt. Kombi m. < dt. Kombiwagen < dt. Kombinationskraftwagen,
zusammengesetzt aus Kombination (< spätlat. combinatio) und Kraftwagen) / combinaţie.
(17) fan23 (< engl., frz. fan < engl. fanatic) / fanatic.
(18) inox24 (< frz. inox < frz. inoxidable) / inoxidabil (< frz. inoxydable < frz. inoxidable)25.
(19) inter26 ‚Fußballer, Handballer‘ Maskulinum (< frz. inter < frz. intérieur < lat. interior) /
interior Adj. / interior Subst..
(20) maxi27 Adj. (< frz. maxi < frz. maximum28) / maxi- (< frz. maxi- < lat. maximum29;
lat. maximus) / maxim Adj. / maximum Subst. / maximă Subst. / Maxim Eigenname30.
(21) meteo31 ‚mit dem Wetter zusammenhängend‘ Adj. (< frz. météo < frz. météorologie32) /
meteo Subst. ‚Wetterbericht‘ (< frz. météo usw.) / meteo- KE / meteoro- KE / meteor.
S. z.B. MDA (2010: I, 351; II, 226). MDA (II, S. 226) betrachtet ornic als Kürzung von
ceasornic. 2DEX (S. 729) hält auch eine Ableitung oră + Suff. -nic für möglich.
Ceas ‚Uhr, Stunde‘ (< ksl. časŭ; Tiktin 2000: I, 458) gibt es im Rumänischen auch als
selbstständiges Substantiv.
Vgl. 5MDN, S. 131.
ATILF, unter Artikel bichon.
Erste Belegung 2DEX (MDA I: 468).
Erste Belegung: 3DN (MDA I: 875).
Erste Belegung: 1DEX (MDA I: 1141).
Laut ATILF ist inox eine 1842 erstmals belegte Bildung. Inoxidable stellt die zurzeit
übliche Schreibung dar.
Erste Belegung: 3DN (MDA I: 1147).
Erste Belegung: 2DEX (MDA I: 1444).
Vgl. ATILF unter Artikel maxi.
Vgl. ATILF unter Artikel maxi-.
Vgl. Moroianu 2005: 176.
(22) mini33 Adj. (< frz. mini < frz. minimum)/ mini Subst. (< frz. mini- < frz. mini[jupe]34) /
mini1- (< frz. mini-)35 / minim Adj. / minimum Subst. / minimă Subst.36.
(23) pop37 Adj., Subst. (< engl. pop < engl. popular) / popular.
(24) pneu ‚Luftreifen‘(< frz. pneu < frz. pneumatique38; dt. (v.a. schweiz.) Pneu) /
pneumă (< frz., griech. pneuma) / pneumo- / pneumato- (< frz. pneumo-, pneumato< griech. pneuma, pneumatos)39.
(25) promo ‚Werbung‘ (< frz. promo40 < frz. promotion ‚Werbung‘41; engl. promo) / promoţie.
(26) pub42 (< engl. pub < engl. public house) / public.
(27) van43 (< frz. van < engl. van < engl. caravan44) / caravană (< frz. caravane, engl.
caravan; vgl. pers. karwan) / chervan (< türk. kervan < pers. karwan) .
Die ED-Reihe pneu / pneumă / pneumo- / pneumato- verdient einen
zusätzlichen Kommentar. Paraschkewow (2004: 182) zeigt, dass im Falle
mancher Kopffragmentierungen, die von Zusammensetzungen gebildet wurden,
die Kompositionsfuge des Ausgangslexems nicht überschritten wurde, sodass
die jeweilige Kopffragmentierung nicht als Dublette der ganzen
Zusammensetzung, sondern nur des Bestimmungswortes zu gelten habe. Als
Beispiel wird Kroko ‚Krokodilleder‘ angeführt, das aus Krokodilleder verkürzt
wurde, aber nicht dessen Dublette darstellt, sondern diejenige von Krokodil.
Insofern repräsentiert auch rum. pneu die Dublette von pneumă, Entlehnung
Meteo, cinema, metrou, taxi u.a. stellen Beispiele von Kurzwörtern französischer
Herkunft dar, deren Existenz schon in der Zwischenkriegszeit von Iordan signalisiert
wurde (vgl. z.B. Stoichițoiu-Ichim 2001).
Vgl. ATILF unter Artikel météorologie.
Erste Belegung: DEX-S (MDA II: 16).
Vgl. ATILF unter Artikel mini.
MDA (II: 19) gibt für das Kompositionselement mini- eine dreifache Etymologie
(Französisch, Italienisch, Englisch) an. Nach Paraschkewow (2004: 220) bestätigt sich das
nicht für das aus dem Englischen stammende mini-, das auf engl. miniature zurückgeht.
Vgl. Moroianu 2005: 176.
Erste Belegung: 1DEX (MDA II: 466).
ATILF, unter Artikel pneu. ATILF, unter Artikel pneumatique: pneumatique < lat.
pneumaticus < griech. pneumatikós, Ableitung v. griech. pneuma.
Vgl. Moroianu 2005: 201 und Andrei 2003: 320.
ATILF unter Artikel promo.
Erste Belegung: 2DN (MDA I: 1411). Ursprüngliche Bedeutung im Rumänischen:
‚Trăsură închisă care serveşte la transportul cailor de curse‘(MDA I: 1411). Heute sehr
verbreitet im Sinne von ‚kleines Kraftfahrzeug mit zwei Sitzen und Laderaum zur
Beförderung von Waren‘ (vgl. Logan Van, Automodell).
Vgl. ATILF unter Artikel van2.
Moroianu 2005: 105.
von frz. pneuma und griech. πνεῦµα, und nicht diejenige von pneumatic46, das
frz. pneumatique fortsetzt. Das Gleiche gilt sowohl für dt. Pneu (s.w.o.) als
auch für frz. pneu47 sowie für die Dublettenreihe meteo / meteoro- / meteor.
Den sprachinternen Wortspaltungen schließt sich auch das unflektierbare
Adjektiv rum. lesbi ‚lesbisch‘ an, das in den mir zugänglichen fremdsprachlichen
Wörterbüchern nicht vorhanden ist und das laut GLR (1. Bd., S. 178) durch
Fragmentierung („trunchiere“) aus dem Substantiv48 lesbiană hervorgegangen
ist. Das zugrunde liegende Wort lesbiană geht seinerseits auf frz. lesbien, eine
Ableitung vom griechischen Ortsnamen Lesbos mithilfe des Suffixes -ien49,
zurück. Der Kürzungsschnitt hat hinter dem Anfangsvokal des Suffixes -ian
stattgefunden50, sodass das unbeugbare Adjektiv lesbi als Dublette des
Substantivs lesbiană betrachtet werden kann.
Die folgenden Dublettenpaare enthalten Elemente, die entweder
überhaupt nicht oder erst in den neuesten Auflagen von rumänischen
Wörterbüchern erschienen sind; sie gehören jedoch schon seit einigen Jahren
zum festen Bestand mancher Sprachvarietäten:
A. Sprachexterne Wortspaltungen:
(28) cabrio51 ‚Auto mit aufklappbarem Stoffverdeck‘ (< dt. Cabrio, Kabrio < frz.
cabriolet; frz. cabrio < frz. cabriolet) / cabrioletă ‚leichter, zweirädriger, von einem
Allerdings gibt es das ED-Paar pneumatic adj / pneumatică F. (Moroianu 2005: 186).
S. dazu auch velo-, das nach dem gleichen Prinzip entstanden ist.
Lesbiană ist in MDA (I, 1351) als Substantiv und Adjektiv eingetragen. In GLR wird es
ausschließlich als Substantiv wohl aus dem Grund betrachtet, dass eine Fügung *o fată /
femeie lesbiană kaum möglich ist. Allerdings verzeichnet ATILF lesbien in erster Linie
als Adjektiv.
Vgl. ATILF unter Artikel lesbien.
Ein Prozess, der hochwahrscheinlich auch von den in letzter Zeit immer häufigeren
zweisilbigen Bildungen auf -i begünstigt wurde.
Vgl. DCR (S. 113). Einige Belege aus dem Internet: „A trecut ceva vreme de când v-am
prezentat în premieră singurul Logan Cabrio din România, realizat de cei de la Auto K9.
Până să se dumirească fabrica de la Mioveni dacă este fezabilă sau nu scoaterea pe piaţă a
unui model de Logan Cabrio, iată că în România s-a produs imposibilul!“ (http://www.4t; „Rezultatul nu este unul care să te dea pe spate (nici la propiu, nici la figurat) –
accelerează de la 0 la 100 km/h în 6,4 secunde şi atinge viteza maximă de 250 km/h.
Cele 0,7 secunde (cu atât este mai lent faţă de Golf R) sunt cauzate de faptul că 1) este
cabrio, deci este mai greu şi 2) are doar tracţiune față. Împarte aceeaşi platformă cu
actualul Golf R (Golf VI), deci nu are minunăţia de MQB sub caroserie. Dar asta nu-l
împiedică, după cum am mai spus, să fie cel mai rapid Golf Cabrio creat până acum de
constructorul din Wolfsburg.“ (
agen-golf-r-cabriolet-6126.html); Scaunele prevăzute cu un sistem ranforsat de menţinere
laterală şi panourile portierelor sub forma unor «aripi de fluture» sunt specifice modelului
coupé-cabrio. (
e-cabrio/); „Ce naiba, îşi iei cabrio acum când vine iarna?? Ideea la cabrio e să mergi cu
top-ul lăsat, să te bucuri de soare, vânt şi alte musculiţe care-şi intră in ochi.“
einzigen Pferd gezogener Wagen‘ (< frz. cabriolet) / cabriolet ‚Autokarosserie mit
aufklappbarem Stoffverdeck; Auto mit einem solchen Verdeck‘ (< frz. cabriolet)52.
B. sprachinterne Wortspaltungen:
(29) emo53 Adj. (< engl. emo < engl. emotional) / emo Subst. / emo- (als Präfixoid) /
emoţional, Fall teilweiser interner Wortspaltung.
(30) fra54 Interj. (< frate, Interjektion; ugs.-salopp) / frate ‚Bruder‘.
(31) mess (< engl. „Messenger“; ugs.) / (Yahoo!) „Messenger“ (< engl. messenger <
afrz. messager) / mesager ‚Bote‘ (< frz. messager, it. messagero).
Die letzten vier Beispiele illustrieren die Fülle von apokopierten
Kurzwörtern, denen man in der rumänischen Gegenwartssprache begegnet und
die von der Forschung beobachtet und analysiert wurde55. Emo stellt nach
Stoichițoiu-Ichim (2010: 308) einerseits ein gebundenes Morphem56 mit
Präfixoidfunktion dar; sie zitiert aus Internetseiten und Blogs Beispiele wie
emobac, emoblog, emoglume, emoputeri, emo-tunsori. Mit diesem Status ist es
nicht sehr produktiv und die Bildungen, die es enthalten, ahmen englische
Wortbildungsmuster nach. Andererseits wird es auch als nachgestelltes
nichtdeklinierbares Adjektiv gebraucht; aus gleichen On-line-Quellen stammen
Fügungen wie stilul emo, poze emo, copii emo, rumänische Pendants englischer
Zusammensetzungen: emo-style, emo-pictures bzw. emokids. Schließlich kann
es auch als invariables Substantiv unbestimmten Genus mit den Bedeutungen
‚Emo-Phänomen‘ und ‚Emo-Anhänger‘ dienen: bancuri cu emo ‚Emo-Witze‘.
Insofern stellt emo ein Element mit einem schwer bestimmbarem morphosyntaktischen Status. Trotz dieser Ambiguität hat man meiner Meinung nach
auch hier eher mit einem Fall teilweiser sprachinterner Wortspaltung, zumal
( index.php/t889545.html); „Cum îşi alegi un
cabrio second hand?“ ( expert. ro/Stiri/Cum-%C3%AE%C8%9Bi-alegiun-cabrio-second-hand?-/1317/1/).
Vgl. Moroianu (2005: 214), ATILF unter Artikel cabriolet und Paraschkewow (2004:
154), nach dessen Angaben das Kopfwort dt. Kabrio eine im Deutschen erfolgte
Fragmentierung zu sein scheint. In englischen Nachschlagewerken sind nur cabriolet und
dessen Kurzform cab vorhanden.
Vgl. DCR. (S. 217).
Zwar konnte ich die umgangssprachliche Interjektion fra nicht mit Internetbelegen
dokumentieren, aber ich wage es zu behaupten, dass sie unter Jugendlichen mit etwas
geringerem Bildungsniveau im mündlichen Kommunikationsbereich relativ verbreitet ist.
Vgl. Stoichiţoiu-Ichim (2010: 307), die Folgendes anmerkt: „[Se constată] proliferarea în
limba actuală a formelor trunchiate prin apocopă (suprimarea părţii finale a unor cuvinte,
de regulă, substantive simple sau compuse cu prefixoide, precum şi adjective).”
Stoichiţoiu-Ichim (2010: 305, Fußnote 1): „Termenul morfem este utilizat aici cu accepţia
cea mai frecvent atestată în lingvistica românească (segment fonic independent / liber sau
dependent / legat, dotat cu semnificaţie, fie gramaticală, fie lexicală) (DSL: 327-328).”
emo – das im Englischen nur als Substantiv fungiert – im Rumänischen durch
Konversion mehrere Funktionen erfüllt.
Die oben angeführten Belege vermochten wohl zum Einen zu zeigen,
dass die Wortkürzung als lexikalisches Phänomen nicht nur zur Entstehung von
(häufig salopp-umgangssprachlichen) Varianten beliebiger Wörter, sondern –
bei semantischer Differenzierung von den Ausgangslexemen – auch von
eigenständigen Einheiten des Wortschatzes führt, welche aus dischronischer
Perspektive als etymologische Dubletten ihrer Vorlagen zu betrachtet sind. Zum
Anderen lässt sich beobachten, dass die Tendenz zur Bildung von Kurzwörtern
nicht besonders neu ist. Zwar hat sie sich in den letzten Jahren insbesondere
unter dem gewaltigen Einfluss der englischen Sprache verstärkt, aber als solche
kann sie bereits in älteren Sprachstadien und in unterschiedlichen stilistischfunktionalen Bereichen des Wortschatzes identifiziert werden. Wenn für die
deutsche Sprache die größte Mehrheit der Fragmentierungen enthaltenden
Dublettenpaare von der Forschung bereits ermittelt wurde, wurden die meisten
derartigen Wortspaltungsfälle aus dem Rumänischen bisher außer Acht
gelassen. Sie warten auf ihre Entdeckung und wissenschaftliche Verwertung.
DCR = Dimitrescu, Florica, Alexandru Ciolan, Coman Lupu (32013), Dicţionar de cuvinte
recente, Logos, Bukarest.
DDUW = Duden – Deutsches Universalwörterbuch (62006), hrsg. vom Wissenschaftlichen Rat
der Dudenredaktion, Bibliographisches Institut & Brockhaus, Mannheim. [CD-ROM]
DEX1 = Academia Republicii Socialiste România (11984), Dicţionarul explicativ al limbii
române (DEX), Editura Academiei R.S.R., Bukarest.
DEX2 = Academia Română, Institutul de Lingvistică „Iorgu Iordan – Al. Rosetti” (21998),
Dicţionarul explicativ al limbii române (DEX), Univers Enciclopedic, Bukarest.
ELR = Academia Română, Institutul de Lingvistică „Iorgu Iordan – Al. Rosetti” (2006),
Enciclopedia limbii române, Univers Enciclopedic, Bukarest.
Kluge, Friedrich (1989): Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache, 22. Aufl, völlig neu
bearb. v. Elmar Seebold, Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin · New York.
Küpper, H. (1993), PONS-Wörterbuch der deutschen Umgangssprache, Klett, Stuttgart/Dresden.
MDA = Academia Română, Institutul de Lingvistică „Iorgu Iordan – Al. Rosetti” (2010), Mic
dicţionar Academic, 2 Bände, Univers Enciclopedic Gold, Bukarest.
Paraschkewow, Boris (2004), Wörter und Namen gleicher Herkunft und Struktur. Lexikon
etymologischer Dubletten im Deutschen, Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin-New York.
Tiktin, Hariton (32000-2005), Rumänisch-deutsches Wörterbuch. 3., überarbeitete und ergänzte
Auflage von Paul Miron und Elsa Lüder. Bd. I (A-C) 2000; Bd. II (D-O) 2003; Bd. III (P-Z)
2005, Clusium, Cluj-Napoca.
Andere Werke
Behaghel, Otto (1878), „Die neuhochdeutschen Zwillingswörter“, in Germania, 23 (neue Reihe 11),
S. 257-292.
Hristea, Theodor (1968), Probleme de etimologie. Studii. Articole. Note, Editura Ştiinţifică, Bukarest.
König, Werner (1994), dtv-Atlas zur deutschen Sprache, Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, München.
Lăzărescu, Ioan (1999), Die Paronymie als lexikalisches Phänomen und die Paronomasie als
Stilfigur im Deutschen, Anima, Bukarest.
Moroianu, Cristian (2005), Dublete şi triplete etimologice în limba română, Editura Universităţii
din Bucureşti, Bukarest.
Stoichiţoiu-Ichim, Adriana (2006), „Neoconfixarea în româna actuală“, in G. Pană Dindelegan
(Hrsg.), Limba română – aspecte sincronice şi diacronice. Actele celui de-al 5-lea
Colocviu al Catedrei de limba română (8-9 decembrie 2005), Editura Universităţii din
Bucureşti, Bukarest, S. 313-325.
Stoichiţoiu-Ichim, Adriana (2010), „Două morfeme lexicale cu statut ambiguu în româna actuală:
emo, etno“, in R. Zafiu, A. Dragomirescu, Alexandru Nicolae (Hrsg.), Limba română:
controverse, delimitări, noi ipoteze. Actele celui de-al 9-lea Colocviu al Catedrei de limba
română, Editura Universităţii din Bucureşti, Bukarest, S. 305-316.
The present paper investigates the issue of attributive ethnonyms, that is ethnic names
which draw on some characteristic stereotypically associated with a given target group. When
looked upon from the cognitive linguistic perspective, such terms may be seen as examples of
metonymy based on various submodels of the idealised cognitive model (Lakoff 1987) of
American’, cloggy ‘Dutch person’, pepper belly ‘Mexican person’, bog-trotter ‘Irishman’). Not
infrequently attributive ethnonyms contain elements borrowed from the language of the target
group (cf. Ivan ‘Russian person’, crappo ‘French person’ etc.). Interestingly, while in some cases
these are items that describe things which are new to the source culture, in other cases they
replace native terms which could have been used instead.
Keywords: attributive ethnonym, borrowing, ethnicity, idealised cognitive model, metonymy.
1. Introduction
As is commonly known, language is one of the things which
distinguishes human beings from (other) animals. No other earthly species has
managed to develop a means of communication of equal efficiency and
potential. Yet the significance of language goes far beyond its communicative
function. As shown in a number of studies (see, for example, Edwards 1985,
Landau 1986, Skrzypiec 2001), it can contribute to the identity of a given
community. In such cases language usually serves as a boundary marker (Nash
1989) which facilitates the differentiation between us and them.
2. Sociological perspective on ethnic otherness
As a matter of fact, the division into the in-group and out-group lies at the
basis of every human society and – as demonstrated by numerous sociological
University of Rzeszów, Poland; [email protected]
studies (see Tajfel et al. 1971, Tajfel and Billig 1974, Turner 1975 etc.) –
usually leads to ethnocentrism. The term, coined in the early twentieth century
by the American anthropologist, sociologist and historian, William Graham
Sumner (1906: 13), refers to a “view of things in which one’s own group is the
center of everything, and all others are scaled and rated with reference to it”.
Consequently, any foreign traditions and customs which differ from those of the
in-group may be regarded as strange, silly, or even shocking.
While in extreme cases ethnocentrism may lead to violence, typically it
takes the form of a stereotype, that is, “[a] widely shared and simplified
evaluative image of a social group and its members” (Hogg and Vaughan 2002:
652). Importantly, stereotypes should not be equated with prejudice, although
the borderline between them does not appear to be thick. What is worth noting
is that stereotypes often find their way to language, which makes them fit for
analysis from the point of view of a linguist.
3. Cognitive linguistic perspective on ethnic otherness
The methodological frameworks developed within Cognitive Linguistics,
especially Lakoff’s (1987) theory of idealised cognitive models and conceptual
metaphor theory (see Lakoff and Johnson 1980, Lakoff 1993, Kövecses 2002,
Grady 2007 etc.), can offer valuable insights into the issue of linguistic
manifestations of stereotypes. In particular, while both theories lay stress on
different aspects of the interaction between the mind and language, both are
compatible with each other in – among other things – seeing metaphor and
metonymy as conceptual, rather than purely linguistic phenomena. In other
words, both should be viewed as cognitive instruments2 rather than stylistic
ornaments. Since they also have a linguistic side, it may be argued that they
provide a link between the mind and language (see Ungerer and Schmid 1996:
114ff), which – as will be seen below – is particularly relevant in the context of
the phenomena investigated in the present paper.
3.1. Ethnic stereotype as an idealised cognitive model
Among the types of idealised cognitive models (or ICMs), Lakoff (1987:
84-85) lists the social stereotype. In doing so, the author assumes that –
similarly to other types of ICMs – a stereotype is an imperfect interpretation of
Cf. Black (1962: 37).
reality that we have in our mind, rather than its direct reflection3. In particular,
according to Lakoff (1987: 79-82), social stereotypes are metonymic, as one
member of a category stands for the whole category.
In the present paper, drawing on Lakoff (1987) and Kudła (2012,
forthcoming), an ethnic stereotype is seen as a cluster of metonymic models (or
submodels). The analysis conducted in Kudła (forthcoming) allowed for the
identification of fourteen different submodels which have been active at some
point in the history of English. These include: BODY, CLOTHING, CUISINE,
OCCUPATION and EMBLEM. The submodels involve different criteria for
distinguishing between the in-group and various out-groups, yet each of them
can provide access to the whole ICM.
3.2. Attributive ethnonyms
The linguistic manifestations of the submodels of the ETHNICITY ICM
can be labelled as attributive ethnonyms4, since such terms ascribe an attribute
to a given target group. Examples for the first four submodels listed aobve
include redskin ‘Native American’ (OED), cloggy ‘Dutch person’ (DSUE),
pepper belly ‘Mexican person’ (BBBR, DSUE, SAE) and bog-trotter ‘Irishman’
(DSUE, BBBR).5 Typically, attributive ethnonyms follow one of the two
metonymic patterns, namely <ATTRIBUTE FOR ETHNIC GROUP> or <ATTRIBUTE
It appears that, like stereotypical thinking, attributive ethnonyms are a
widespread (possibly universal) phenomenon among human communities. They
can be found among ancient Greeks, mediaeval Arabs, sixteenth-century Native
Americans and twenty-first-century Europeans7. However, the choice of the
target group and the attribute depends heavily on the historical context. For
example, in Australia the English (or British) are known as lime-juicers (OED,
Obviously, Lakoff is by no means the only scholar to acknowledge the cognitive aspects
of stereotypes. Specifically, a similar reading can be seen in the above-mentioned
definition of the term in question provided by Hogg and Vaughan (2002: 652), who
describe it as a (mental) image, rather than attitude or behaviour. As a matter of fact,
already Lippmann (1922: 6), who introduced the term stereotype into social sciences,
defined it as a picture in the head.
The term was first used in Kudła (2010).
A more comprehensive discussion of the submodels, illustrated with various examples,
can be found in Kudła (forthcoming).
The former may be interpreted as a specific-level example of the pattern < SALIENT
PROPERTY FOR ENTITY > (see Radden and Kövecses 1999).
See Kudła (forthcoming) for details.
BBBR), while in France and Poland they may be described as les rosbifs8 (NPR)
and herbaciarze9 (Peisert 1992: 217), respectively.
It is worth pointing out at this juncture that as a rule attributive
ethnonyms are not neutral. The vast majority of the terms in question should be
treated as dysphemisms (see Allan and Burridge 1991), being perceived as
offensive both by their users and their targets. Indeed, it may be safely assumed
that attributive ethnonyms belong primarily to the realm of anti-language
(Halliday 1976), rather than standard language. Nonetheless, there are a few
cases which lost their negative axiological load for the former or the latter group
(or both) at some point10.
3.3. The role of language in attributive ethnonyms
As can be seen, among the submodels of the ETHNICITY ICM one can
find that of LANGUAGE, which refers to a situation when one’s native tongue is
seen as a boundary marker. Indeed, some attributive ethnonyms draw directly
on the language of the target group. Such is the origin of English barbarian,
barbaric and barbarous, all of which derive ultimately from Greek βάρβαρος,
an onomatopoeic expression playing on the unintelligibility of the speech of
ancient non-Hellenic tribes (OED). Some attributive ethnonyms which provide
access to the model of ETHNICITY through the submodel of LANGUAGE allude to
specific items of vocabulary taken from the language of the target group. For
instance, the late-nineteenth-century, originally Br.E. term Chink (also spelt
chink), as well as its derivative Chinkey (also spelt Chinkie or Chinky), come
from ching-ching, the now obsolete European corruption of a Chinese courtesy
(OED, DHS, DSUE). Similarly, two nineteenth-century English terms
describing the French, namely parleyvoo (also spelt parlay-voo) and oui-oui
(also spelt wee-wee, wi-wi and wewi), are based on French parlez vous... ‘do
you speak...’ and oui-oui ‘yes-yes’, respectively (BBBR)11. Sometimes the
lexical item which stands behind the formation of an attributive ethnonym has a
less innocent meaning. This can be seen in twentieth-century Am.E. psecrev
‘Polish person’ (SAE), which is an inaccurate rendering of a now archaic Polish
swearword, namely psia krew (literally ‘dog’s blood’)12.
Literally ‘roast beefs’ (the term itself is a borrowing from English).
Literally ‘tea-ers’ (-arz is an agentive suffix).
See Kudła (forthcoming) for details.
As can be seen, the terms in question display various degrees of integration into the
recipient language, both in terms of their pronunciation and spelling.
Cf. fifteenth-century French attributive ethnonym describing the English, namely Godon,
which is usually seen as originating from God damn (DMF), as well as its twentieth-century
equivalent, les fuckoffs (LGS).
Interestingly, some terms make an allusion to the language of the source
culture as used by the representatives of the target culture, rather than the native
language of the latter group. This can be seen in early-twentieth-century Am.E.
spiggoty and its later variant, namely spic, which refer to Latin Americans13
(OED, ODS, SAE, BBBR). In particular, according to one explanation, the origin
of these terms is connected with the construction of the Panama Canal in the
years 1904-1914 by the Americans, who – when trying to communicate with the
locals in English – would hear No spikee de English (see OED)14.
However, apart from examples of attributive ethnonyms in which the
submodel of LANGUAGE plays a major part, one can come across a number of
instances in which the role of the submodel in question is supplementary,
adding to the exoticness of the attribute. The submodel of NAME appears to be
its natural counterpart, since it is commonly known that various ethnic groups
often give culture-specific names to their members. Thus, Am.E. Mouchey (a
variant of Moses) ‘Jewish male’15 and originally Br.E. Fritz (a variant of
Frederick) ‘German male’,16 both in use since the nineteenth century, as well as
late twentieth-century Am.E. Abdul ‘Arab male’, come from the languages of
the target groups, that is, Hebrew, German and Arabic, respectively (see OED,
DSUE, FAE, BBBR). Yet some ethnonyms which belong to this group draw on
culture-specific variants of names which are familiar to the source culture. A
classic example is that of John, whose foreign equivalents, such as Russian
Ivan,17 German or Dutch Hans, and Sc.E. Jock served at various points of the
history of English as labels for male representatives of the ethnic groups in
which they were used (see OED, DSUE, DHS, FAE, BBBR).
Another submodel which often involves the co-activation of the submodel
of LANGUAGE is that of CUISINE. In some cases, as in Am.E. chilli, burrito and
taco, all describing Latin Americans, as well as spaghetti, goulash, pretzel and
bagel, describing Italians, Hungarians, Germans and Jews, respectively (see
OED, SAE, BBBR, DSUE, FAE, ODS), the contribution of the submodel of
LANGUAGE appears natural as the above terms draw on the names of dishes
which came to the U.S. together with the ethnic groups which they describe and
whose names had otherwise been unknown to Americans. It is also possible,
however, for a particular foodstuff to become associated with a particular target
group despite being present in the source culture. In some of these cases the
food in question is so exotic or so strongly connected with the target culture that
Also to Italians (see SAE).
ODS gives a slightly different interpretation of the origins of the ethnonym in question.
Cf. Polish Mosiek ‘Jewish male’ (SPW, Peisert 1992: 216), a variant of Mojżesz (Polish
equivalent of Moses).
Cf. Polish Fryc ‘German male’ (SPW, Peisert 1992: 215), which comes from the same source.
Cf. Polish Iwan and its variant Wania ‘Russian male’ (SPW, Peisert 1992: 215), both
derived from Russian; the native Polish equivalent of the personal name in question is Jan.
an ethnonym which draws on it does not have to include its original name. This
can be seen in the whole families of English terms alluding to frog legs, bean
and rice, describing the French, Latin Americans (mainly Mexicans) and East
Asians (mainly the Chinese) in various dialects of English (mainly Am.E. and
Br.E.).18 Interestingly, in the former two cases speakers of English did come up
with lexical items containing elements borrowed from the languages of the
target cultures, as can be seen in nineteenth-century Br.E. crappo ‘French
person’ (literally ‘toad’)19 and in twentieth-century Am.E. frijole-eater
‘Mexican person’ (literally ‘bean-eater’), reported by BBBR. Nevertheless, the
appearance of the two terms seems to be somewhat incidental when compared
to the much more prolific and better documented counterparts with the items
frog and bean. The converse is true for English attributive ethnonyms alluding
to a foodstuff strongly associated with German cuisine (especially in the U.S.),
namely sour cabbage. Specifically, while there are terms like cabbage-eater and
cabbagehead (see RDI, SAE, BBBR, DSUE),20 most other terms are derived
from German sauerkraut ‘sour cabbage’. These are suerkraut, suerkraut-eater,
kraut (also spelt Kraut), kraut-eater, kraut-head and kraut stomper, which were
in use at various points between the nineteenth century and the twenty first
century (see OED, RDI, DSUE, BBBR, SAE, HES, UD). It needs to be stated
that the nineteenth century saw the appearance of the anglicised form sourcrout
(also spelt sour-crout and sour crout), which, however, did not match the
popularity of its more German-sounding equivalents (OED, BBBR). It may be
the case that although cabbage was familiar to the Americans, the way of
serving it in German cuisine turned it into an almost different foodstuff.
Similarly, Am.E. kielbasa brain ‘person of Polish descent’ (literally ‘sausage
brain’), in use in the late twentieth century and early twenty-first century
(O’Rourke 1980: 63, UD), clearly distinguishes between ordinary sausage and
the Polish delicacy, even if the latter is used as an insult.
English contains two more examples of attributive ethnonyms which
involve a simultaneous activation of the submodels of CUISINE and LANGUAGE,
the difference being that a third submodel is also involved, namely that of
RELIGION. The items in question are twentieth-century Am.E. kosher-cutie
‘Jewish female’ (Allen 1983: 61) and twenty-to-twenty-first-century halal,
which refers to a Pakistani immigrant – in Br.E. – or an Arab or Muslim of
These are frog, froggie, frog-eater and frog-swallower (see the OED, BBBR, DSUE);
bean, beano, beaner, bean-eater, bean-choker, beanbag and bean bandit (see the OED,
BBBR, DSUE, SAE, FAE, UD); riceman, rice-eater, rice muncher, rice gobbler, rice-picker,
rice-belly, rice ball and ricer (see DSUE, SAE, BBBR, FAE, UD).
Curiously enough, towards the end of the twentieth century the term crappo appeared on
Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands, as a label for an inhabitant of Jersey, which lies
closer to France (DSUE).
The former could also refer to a Russian immigrant, while the latter to a Dutch person.
Middle Eastern descent – in Am.E. (UD). Both terms allude to dietary regulations
observed by religious Jews and Muslims, respectively, and may be interpreted
as cases when the use of a foreign term captures the essence of the intended
meaning much more precisely and concisely than a potential native equivalent.
A similar motivation might have stood behind the formation of a set of
nineteenth-to-twentieth-century Am.E. terms describing Mexico, namely the
land/kingdom of mañana (OED) and Mananaland (DIS). While the lexical
items in question are – technically speaking – toponyms, rather than ethnonyms,
they evidently draw on the lifestyle (stereotypically associated with the target
group in question) which can hardly be expressed in any other language than
Spanish and thus appear to activate the submodel of CHARACTER (besides that
of LANGUAGE). Another attributive ethnonym which belongs to this group is
twentieth-century originally Am.E. wop, which denotes an Italian or other
Southern European (OED). While its etymology is not entirely clear, it appears
to be derived from Italian guappo ‘bold, showy’ (ODS).
There are two more submodels of the ETHNICITY ICM which were
activated together with the submodel of LANGUAGE and thus give rise to
attributive ethnonyms in English. These are CLOTHING and NATURAL
ENVIRONMENT, while the terms in question are twentieth-century Br.E. Kiltie
‘Scottish man’ (DIS), an obvious allusion to Scottish traditional costume, as
well as mid nineteenth-century Am.E. kangaroo (BBBR) and early twentiethcentury Au.E. and N.Z.E. Kiwi (OED, DIS, DSUE), which denote an Australian
and a New Zealander, respectively, and come from the languages of native
peoples inhabiting the countries in question.
4. Conclusions
The aim of the present paper has been to carry out a systematic
investigation into the role of language in the context of ethnicity, with a focus
on the linguistic manifestations of ethnic stereotypes held by native speakers of
various dialects of English. While the analysis is far from exhaustive, it allows
for the formulation of a few observations. First, while in a number of cases the
submodel of LANGUAGE is treated as the only boundary marker, in many other
cases it plays a supportive role towards another submodel of the ETHNICITY
ICM, from which a particular attribute is drawn. Among the remaining
submodels, those which have been most often co-activated with the submodel
of LANGUAGE in the history of English include NAME and CUISINE, though there
are also attributive ethnonyms which involve the co-activation of the submodels
worth noting is that in some cases the co-activation of the submodel of
LANGUAGE could have been hardly avoided, since a term taken from the
language of the target group many a times conveys the intended message more
accurately and efficiently. In other cases, however, the motivation behind the
use of a foreign item has been to add to the strangeness of the attribute (and,
consequently, the ethnic group in question).
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This article aims at illustrating the current status quo of the presence of everyday Welsh
words and phrases that are ethno-linguistic exponents of attachment to the Welsh language. All
the collected material comes from the author’s field work (2010-2014). The first set of acquired
data (the outcome of 2010-2013 doctoral research) will be juxtaposed with ongoing 2014 research
results based on feedback received from Cardiff area informants. The author divided the collected
material into thematic categories to show the range of spheres of life in which ethno-linguistic
exponents exist. The proposed interpretation of the material is a further contribution to the
discussion of the subject at issue.
Keywords: the Welsh language, Welshness, ethnolinguistics, culture, identity.
1. Introduction
A Country’s Crown is her Mother Tongue – undoubtedly the motto of
Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Glantaf Welsh-Medium Comprehensive School – appears to
be well inscribed in everyday use of the Welsh language. It is no mystery that
every nation – even the tiniest – has a certain set of words and phrases that
appear to be privileged and, therefore, more willingly and widely used by
members of a given society. It is vital to state that the set (or sets) change over
time and constant research within this particular linguistic area is needed.
This article aims at illustrating the current status quo of the presence of
everyday Welsh words and phrases that are ethno-linguistic exponents of
attachment to the Welsh language. All the collected material comes from the
author’s field work (2010–2014). The first set of acquired data (the outcome of
2010–2013 doctoral research) will be juxtaposed with ongoing 2014 research
results based on feedback received from Cardiff area informants. The author
divided the collected material into thematic categories to show the range of
Committee for Philology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Wroclaw Branch,
[email protected]
spheres of life in which ethno-linguistic exponents exist. The proposed
interpretation of the material enables further discussion in the subject at issue.
The above presented idea will allow further synchronic and diachronic
approaches on a larger scale.
2. The Welsh language
As far as Welsh is concerned, there are numerous initiatives helping to
foster language development from early childhood. These include the “Words
into Action Conference” and the “Welsh Language in Health, Social Services
and Social Care Awards 2014”, which aim to find the best examples of
bilingual service provision as a natural part of everyday care. Bangor University
has been recognized at the prestigious Inspire Wales Award ceremony for
promoting and facilitating the use of Welsh in the workplace. Merthyr Tydfil
County Borough Council offers its visitors the choice of communicating in both
English and Welsh. Menter Iaith1 excogitated the Cymraeg yn y Cartref ‘Welsh
at Home’ initiative, which is part of a broader national project called
Rediscovering your Welsh. In the light of the above, Jones (2005: 5) claims that
“today Welsh is holding its own. Although it has been still migrating
westwards, it is spoken with pride and vigour by young and old. The streets of
Llangefni, Porthmadog, Lampeter and Caramarthen are full of the musical
echoes of an ancient and beautiful tongue”. Jobbins (2011: 2017) is of the
opinion that “the moral purpose of the Welsh state is to promote the Welsh
language and Welsh culture through the medium of Welsh and English” and
that “the morality of our state is to overturn centuries of discrimination against
the indigenous language”. It is vital to note that the Welsh language is the key
exponent of Cymreictod ‘Welshness’ and there are certain words and phrases
within the Welsh language that are more frequently used due to personal
choices of the Welsh language users. One recalls Geertz (1995: 243): “culture is
public because meaning is”. People tend to use their own language – meaning
the official language, i.e. Welsh in this case – and their particularly cherished
words and phrases within their Welsh language in numerous situations.
However, potential restrictions as far as using their most favourite Welsh words
and phrases come down to personal choices and situations. Using a given language
appears to be meaningful on, at least, three levels: (i) the general use of language
(everyday situations – formal and informal use of Welsh); (ii) specific use of
language (for instance ‘a microwave’ is frequently called popty ping2 instead of
A community-based organisation which works towards a specific objective – to upgrade
Welsh in a specific area.
It appears to be onomatopeic.
popty meicrodon); (iii) emotional use of language where there are no logically
structured rules and personal choices, various linguistic whims and sheer
linguistic idiosyncrasy come into play.
Simultaneously, language is present in the public sphere. The meaning of
produced texts in contexts is available to anyone who is willing and able to
participate in public discourse. Producing texts in a given language means
creating and participating in culture and it can be illustrated as follows3:
(1) Individuals are part of culture
to admire it → I can notice beauty in it.
to experience it → I am surrounded by different objects of culture.
to participate in it → I feel that I am a part of culture.
to create it → I extend existing culture and, most probably, I create new meaning
(also verbally).
3. Data collected in 2010-2013
In order to show that actions speak louder than words, a linguistic poll for
77 teenage and adult Welsh informants was prepared and named: Words as
discursive exponents of ethno-linguistic identity of the Welsh. Selected issues.
Of particular interest to us here are the answers to question 5: Do you have any
favourite and/or important words or phrases in Welsh? Write them down (and
translate into English), please: The answers acquired from male and female
teenage Welsh participants are presented collectively in Table 1:
Table 1
Favourite and/or important words or phrases
in Welsh (Welsh teenagers)
Welsh words and phrases
wastraff amser*4
hufen iâ
popty ping
Rydw i’n hoffi coffi
O, diddorol!
Dwi’n cytuno
Rydw i’n meddwl ei bad
With gwrs
Paid a siarad dwl!
English translation
‘waste of time’
‘ice cream’
‘a microwave’
‘I like coffee’
‘O, interesting!’
‘I agree’
‘I think that it’s bad’
‘Of course’
‘Do not talk stupid!’
Author’s own reflections.
Words and phrases tagged with asterisks in Table 1. are discussed further in the text.
Ych a fi!***
Cau dy geg!
Babl bach!
Ich dien**
Wedi blino
Sut wyt ti?
Cariad ti
Diolch yn fawr iawn
Bore da
Pnawn da
Prynhawn da
Nos da
Hwyl am dro
Diolch yn fawr
Llawer o hwyl
ffrind gorau
Cymru am byth!****
‘Yuck! (urggh)’
‘Shut up!’
‘A small table’
‘I serve’
‘How are you’
‘Love you’
‘Thank you very much’
‘Good morning’
‘Good afternoon’
‘Good afternoon’
‘(Good) bye’
‘Good night’
‘By for no’
‘Thank you’
‘Thank you very much’
‘Lots of fun’
‘best friend’
‘Wales forever!’
This table shows some intriguing facts. Teenagers tend to use
Wenglish – a mixture of Welsh and English. Wenglish is used in informal
situations, especially when talking to associates, friends and family. The speakers
are advised to be fluent in Welsh. Examples from the author’s archives include:
(2) OMG – I got totally wast* last night. (wast is an abbreviated form of wastraff amser,
however it is the linguistic code of the young to indicate willingness to get wasted/get drunk).
(3) Mae fy computer’n breakio trwy’r amser*, mae’n really annoying.
Furthermore, Welsh teenagers are keen on the Wales National Rugby
Team, and team supporters have the phrase ich dien** on their shirts. This is
a contraction of the German phrase ich diene and a near-homophone for the
Welsh phrase Eich dyn ‘Your man’. This phrase can also be found on the
heraldic badge of the Prince of Wales (see below, the author’s archives). They
are also willing to use Welsh phrases accompanied by slang expressions such as
the following mixture: Ych a fi! – urggh*** – normally it should be written
urgh – meaning annoyance or displeasure. However, according to the unwritten
rules of sms’s and online communicators, the more single letters one adds to
a given phrase, the stronger it appears to be. Finally, they use patriotic
expressions, such as: Cymru am byth!****, which means ‘Long live Wales!’. It
is usually shouted when the National Rugby Team leaves the field victorious.
The list of words and phrases delivered by Welsh teenagers differs
considerably from that of adults and the initial assumption of certain linguistic
unpredictability is proved (see: emotional use of language and idiosyncrasy).
The data acquired from Welsh teenagers can be divided into four categories:
(i) food related vocabulary and phrases; (ii) vocabulary expressing opinions (the
majority of collected words and phrases); (iii) greetings; (iv) vocabulary and
phrases related to patriotism (Cymru am byth – only one phrase). The data
acquired from Welsh adults are almost entirely limited to the patriotic category.
The answers from adult female and male informants to question 5 are
presented in Table 2:
Table 2
Favourite and/or important words or phrases
in Welsh (Welsh informants aged 24-72)
Welsh words and phrases
English translation
‘belonging (to belong)’
‘local community (a neighbourhood)’
‘to know someone or something intimately (to recognise)’
It is striking that only one Welsh word, bendigedig, appears on both lists.
The phrase Ich Dien5 can also be found on the heraldic badge of the
Prince of Wales.
Author’s archives.
4. Ongoing 2014 research results
An intensive search for favourite words and phrases in Cardiff and its
hinterland turned out to be a really challenging endeavour as far as the most
prioritized lexical entries are concerned. The data collected across Wales (20102013) and the Cardiff area (2014), share only a few words and phrases. The
common lexical ground is mainly based on words and phrases such as: cwtch,
bendigedig, and various salutations.
To my surprise, quite a large number of words and phrases were peculiar
to Cardiff and the Cardiff area. Cwtch ‘an affectionate hug’ can also mean a ‘small
outdoor store for coal’; occasionally it might also be a ‘crèche’, and the
‘cupboard built into some houses beneath the staircase’ (cwtch dan star). It is
also the name of a gift shop. The word bosh appears to be the name for a ‘large
kitchen sink’. If one wants to say somebody is foolish, words like twp and dwp6
are the right appellatives, giving us twpsyn/dwpsyn.
In the culinary7 category, small cakes are called teisen/teisennau. If one
wants to ask for ‘bacon’, cig moch is the key lexical entry. ‘Laverbread’ is
almost always called bara lawr, whereas ‘cockles (shellfish)’ are translated as
cocos. Disgust is expressed using the ach y fi phrase. Relations between people
from the North and the South are encapsulated in two words: gog ‘slightly
disapprobatory expression for a person from North Wales’8 and hwntws, a mild
insult meaning ‘person from South Wales’. The words that denote microwave
are popty ping. Having agreed that one is talking nonsense, one faces the malu
cachu expression (it is also the name of a Welsh language help website). It is
obvious that many things and initiatives are simply new. Therefore the word
newydd enjoys high frequency as well. My Cardiff and Cardiff area informants
also highlighted the word ambiwlans, meaning an ambulance. Undoubtedly,
office workers and university staff and students prefer Rydw i’n hoffi coffi,
meaning I like coffee. Finally, chwarae teg is a unique phrase that is used
exclusively to introduce a fact which the speaker thinks might have been
otherwise overlooked. It could be exemplified in the following way: “I am
aware of the fact that it’s unusual to have R&B music at a funeral, but chwarae
teg, ‘Relapse’ was a smart choice”.
Radical mutated form of a twp noun and a soft mutated form of a dwp noun → (i.e. stupid).
As it is claimed by one of the members of the Cardiff writing circle.
Cardiff (Caerdydd) is situated in the South of Wales. There are some linguistic and
sociolinguistic differences between the Welsh of the South and the Welsh of the North.
The South is more urbanised. The word gog is derived from the Welsh word gogledd
(North). Lexical differences between North and South can be seen in, for instance, the
word ‘now’: nawr – the South Welsh word and rwan – the North Welsh word.
5. Conclusions
The collection of words is not finite and is undergoing constant and
surprising changes. Why a given language is used is not always clear. Perhaps
the best summary related to the language was expressed by Milewski (1965: 5),
who divided the understanding of language into three simultaneous stages,
namely: “that which is simultaneously social, lasting and abstract in speech, is
called a language”. One needs to remember that the Welsh language is currently
under revival9 and various lexical shifts connected with the favourite words and
expressions are possible. I hope the juxtapositions illustrated above as well as
the most recently collected data will allow open discussion and become a good
starting point for a solid intellectual debate concerning the dynamic
phenomenon of language change and the various faces of Welshness.
Map 1. A modified map of Wales (on the basis of
[Locations where research was conducted in 2010-2013 are highlighted, e.g. Cardiff]
English influences Welsh. Therefore, a vivid association with the contact linguistics is
seen. The increase of bilingualism in Wales has strengthened contacts between English
and Welsh. It is frequently observed that English dominates Welsh. This is especially
visible young learners, where Welsh is the minority language (author’s Aberystwyth 2005
and Cardiff 2009 fieldwork observations).
Geertz, Clifford (1995), “Thick Description: Toward an Interpretative Theory of Culture”, in
J. Muns and G. Rajan (eds.) A Cultural Studies Reader: History, Theory, Practice, 236-256,
Longman, Longman
Jobbins, Sion T. (2011), The Phenomenon of Welshness or ‘How Many Aircraft Carriers Would
an Independent Wales Have?’, Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, Llanrwst.
Jones, John ([1977] 2005) Speak Welsh. An Introduction to the Welsh Language Combining
a Simple Grammar, Phrase Book and Dictionary. Llanbadarn: Cambrian Printers Ltd.
Milewski, Tadeusz (1965), Językoznawstwo, Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, Warsaw.
Appendix 1
A poll used in the research conducted in 2010-2103.
Be so kind as to help me with my research by answering a few simple questions.
Words as discursive exponents of ethnolinguistic identity of the Welsh. Selected items
Diarmuid Ớ Néil, (2005: 94) rightly notes that: The diffusion of Welsh as a subject in all schools
makes it more likely that all children will have experience (and, for many, some real competence)
of the language as they enter adulthood. In the light of the above, answer the following questions
(Respond in English, – it would be very kind if you could write in capitals and give English
translations of everything you write in Welsh – Thank you very much):
0. Male /Female – Age
1a. Are you Welsh by birth? Yes/No
1b. Is your name Welsh? If yes, do you know it’s meaning?
2. Do you remember your first contacts with the Welsh language? If yes, describe the
situation, please.
3. How many years have you been learning Welsh?
4a. How would you describe Wales in Welsh?
4b. How would you describe Wales in English?
5. Do you have any favourite and/or important words or phrases in Welsh? Write them
down (and translate into English), please:
6. Do you talk to your classmates/flatmates/workmates in Welsh?
a) never, b) rarely, c) sometimes, d) often, e) very often, f) almost always, g) always
7. Do you talk to your friends in Welsh?
a) never, b) rarely, c) sometimes, d) often, e) very often, f) almost always, g) always
8. Do you talk to your parents in Welsh?
a) never, b) rarely, c) sometimes, d) often, e) very often, f) almost always, g) always
9. Do you talk to your grandparents in Welsh?
a) never, b) rarely, c) sometimes, d) often, e) very often, f) almost always, g) always
10. Do you use Welsh in situations in public places (libraries, in the street, in the shop, etc)?
a) never, b) rarely, c) sometimes, d) often, e) very often, f) almost always, g) always
11. How do you understand the revival of the Welsh language?
12. Are you familiar with: Hen wlad fy nhadau or another similar texts? Be so kind to write their titles:
Thank you very much for your time and effort ☺ Diolch yn fawr !
Ớ Néil, Diarmuid (2005). Rebuilding the Celtic Languages – Reversing Language Shift in the
Celtic Countries. Talybont, Ceredigion: Y Lolfa Cyf.
In China sending blessing texted messages has become a prevalent practice on festive occasions
to extend their wishes among people. In this article the types of language memes in Chinese blessing
texted messages were analyzed under the framework of Dawkins’ (1976) Meme Theory and the
socio-psychological motivations behind these language choices were explored to shed light on the
characteristics of texted messages as a kind of written computer-mediated communication.
Keywords: Chinese Blessing Texted Messages, language meme, socio-psychological motivations.
1. Introduction
Since the year 2000 text messaging as one kind of written computermediated communication such as email, instant messaging, discussion forums
or written communication on social networks has become an ordinary part of
millions of people’s lives around the world (Crystal 2008). In China, with the
constant escalation of information technology in the modern era, mobile phone
has already emerged as the “fifth media” complementary to such traditional
medias as television and radio and sending texted messages becomes one of the
common modes of communication among the Chinese people today particularly
on festive occasions. It is universal in China that people send blessing messages
to realize their relational functions (Thurlow and Brown 2003) by extending
their wishes, strengthening affiliation and thus striving for more wholesome
interpersonal relationships. In this process of sending and receiving blessing
messages in holidays many phrases and expressions inevitably gain popularity
and are spread among crowds of people, thus becoming language memes.
The exploration of the forms of language memes in blessing texted messages
and the socio-psychological motivations behind their popularity could shed light
Supported by “the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities”,
No.30915013113 and NJUSTWGY 14001.
College of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Fudan University College of Foreign
Studies, Nanjing University of Science and Technology, [email protected]
on the linguistic features of communication mediated by mobile devices and
thus how it constitutes a written-communication register of its own (Ravid and
Tolchinsky 2002). Thus this paper aims to analyze the types of language memes
in Chinese blessing texted messages and the socio-psychological motivations
behind them under the framework of the Meme Theory by Dawkins (1976).
2. The Meme Theory and language memes
The Meme Theory was proposed in the Selfish Gene by Dawkins from
Oxford University in 1976. With its epistemological origin in Greek “mimeme”,
meaning “imitated things”, Dawkins (1976) considered meme as any idea,
behavior, or skill that can be transferred from one person to another by
imitation: stories, fashions, inventions, recipes, songs and ways of plowing a
field or throwing a baseball or making a sculpture. Brodie (1996) holds that
meme is a contagious idea which duplicates like a virus, transmitted from mind
to mind. In The Meme Machine Susan Blackmore (1999) holds that just as the
design of our bodies can be understood only in terms of natural selection, so the
design of our minds can be understood only in terms of memetic selection.
Memes are closely related to language. As cultural genes, memes rely on
various carriers for its existence. Language is one of its carriers and the replication
and transmission of memes and the linguistic variations generated during this
process would enrich and develop language vice versa since the replication of language
memes is not merely a repetition of their forms and meanings but rather the
reproduction of language users which results in variations and deviations in memes.
In modern society, the production and proliferation of language memes is
greatly facilitated by the aid of mobile technology which is of dual traits of private
and massive communication. In this asynchronous remote communication
language users could conveniently edit or revise and transfer the messages they
receive to the next receiver instantly which renders the memes and their
variations possible. In the following part the forms of language memes in
Chinese blessing texted messages will be explored.
3. Forms of Language memes in Chinese blessing texted messages
The process of language choice and use is filled with the competition
among memes. The constant transmission of texted messages among people
would result in the appearance of numerous language memes competing with
each other for their survival. However, only those vigorous memes could
survive and persist. He (2005) holds that there are two ways for memes to be
replicated and transmitted: the same core content being inherited in various
forms and the identical set pattern being followed by different contents. The
former is called memetic genotype and the latter memetic phenotype.
3.1. Genotypes
Genotype memes could mainly be found in phonemes and lexicon.
Language users would transform the original words by replacing them with
other homonyms to make it novel and humorous. These expressions are
impressive and thus more likely to become strong memes.
(1) 家里的老人好“九”不见,我心里“九九”想念,问候直上“九”霄,祝福依然
Jiālǐ de lǎorén hǎo “jiǔ” bújiàn, wǒ xīnlǐ “jiǔjiǔ” xiǎngniàn, wènhòu zhí shàng
yúnxiāo, zhùfú yīrán “jiǔ” yuǎn. Zài Chóngyáng jiājié jìjiāng dàolái zhījì, yùzhù
tiānxià lǎorén Chóngyáng jié kuàilè, xìnfú cháng “jiǔ”.
‘I have not seen the elderly family members for a long time and have always been
missing them. My profuse regards for them soar high while my wishes extend afar.
On the advent of the “Double Ninth” Festival I wish in advance all the senior citizens
a happy festival and everlasting happiness.’
In the above example, 九 jiǔ ‘nine’ is the homonym of the character 久
jiǔ ‘for a long time, always’ which establishes a connection between the specific
date of the Double Ninth Festival in China (traditional Chinese festival for the
elderly members on the ninth of September of Lunar Calendar) and the meaning
of durability of time. Hence the language meme jiǔ endues the Chinese
character a special lexical connotation: both the particular date of the festival
and wishes for the health and longevity of the senior members of the society.
Another genotypes are lexical memes stored in human brain in the form
of “frame” (Minsky 1975; Fillmore 1982) which can be activated at any time.
Language users would appeal to the encyclopedic knowledge of the receiver by
using household names such as celebrity’s names, place names or product
brands in the receiver’ mind. By making these proper names salient in the
receiver’ memory, these memes become potent and liable to be replicated.
(2) 新年快到了,我怕我的祝福没有悍马的力度,奔驰的速度,宝马的气度,奥迪的
Xīnnián kuài dàole, wǒ pà wǒde zhùfú méiyǒu Hànmǎ de lìdù, Bēnchí de sùdù,
Bǎomǎ de qìdù, Aodi de fēngdù, Línkěn de dàdù, jǐ búshàng duǎnxìn de gāosù
gōnglù, suǒyǐ ràng zhùfú tíqián shànglù, tíqián zhù nǐ xīnnián kuàilè!
‘The New Year is coming. I would like to wish you a happy New Year in advance in
case that my blessing message fail to get onto the text-message highway since it is
not as strong as Hummer, as speedy as Benz, as grand as BMW, as elegant as Audi
and as imposing as Lincoln.’
In the parallelism of example (2) many familiar brands of automobiles
(Hummer, Benz, BMW and so forth) are used and their specific associations are
aroused in the minds of the receiver, distinguishing them as the more powerful memes.
3.2. Phenotype
Phetotypes are mainly memes produced by copying specific sentence
patterns or formats of specific passages. Language users may adopt specific
sentence patterns or layout of passages to achieve emphasis and salience in the
receiver’s mind.
(3) 牛在新年告全国人民书》:值此改革辉煌民族坚强祖国强大之际,赋诗一首:轻
Niú zài xīnnián gào quánguó rénmín shū: zhí cǐ gǎigé huīhuáng mínzú jiānqiáng
zǔguó qiángdà zhī jì, fùshī yìshǒu: qīngqīng de wǒ lái le, zhèngrú Shǔ qīngqīng de
zǒu, wǒ huīyihuīniútí, yángqǐ mǎntiān zhùfú!
‘Address to All national citizens in the coming New Year (By the Ox): On the
occasion of the glorious reform, powerful nation and formidable motherland, I hereby
compose a poem: gently I come, just as the Mouse left gently/ I wave my
hoofs/sprinkle my wishes in all the sky!’
In the above example, the famous lines of Saying Goodbye to Cambridge
Again by the modern Chinese poet Xu Zhimo is a rather productive meme. The
event that the poet was leaving Cambridge University and returned to China is
here replaced by “the lapse of the Mouse Year and the coming of the Ox Year in
Chinese calendar” which could actually be applied to the advent of every New
Year. It also gives the message a poetic touch and create a lasting impression on
each ordinary Chinese people by appealing to the literary knowledge stored in
their mind.
Apart from the sentence pattern, language users also replicate the whole
format of poems, advertisements, or even political documents to bring certain
pragmatic effects.
(4) (新春《论语》:短信拜年,不亦乐乎?不送红包,不亦君子乎?情谊时习之,问候
Xīnchūn Lùnyǔ: duǎnxìn bàinián, búyì lè hū? Búsòng hóngbāo, búyì jūnzǐ hū? Qíngyì
shí xí zhī, wènhòu cháng dázhī, búyì zhìyǒu hū? Zǐ yuē: shǒujī yì xiǎng, shèngguò
huángjīn wànliǎng, cǐ zhì jìnlǐ!
‘The Analects on the New Year: How happy we are to pay New Year visits to you by
texting messages?/Is it not a gentleman that you do not give red packet as gifts? /Is it
a good friend to miss a lot and send regards to each other? /Confucius said: A ringing
cell phone is more precious than gold. With my best wishes’
(5) 以想念我为荣,以忽略我为耻;以关心我为荣,以不理我为耻;以赞美我为荣,
Yǐ xiǎngniàn wǒ wéi róng, yǐ hūluè wǒ wéi chǐ; Yǐ guānxīn wǒ wéi róng, yǐ bùlǐ wǒ
wéi chǐ; yǐ zànměi wǒ wéi róng, yǐ pīpíng wǒ wéi chǐ; yǐ qǐngwǒ chīfàn wéi róng, yǐ
zhànwǒ piányi wéi chǐ. Jǐn jì “bāróng bāchǐ”, yuándàn kuàilè!
‘Think of me, do not neglect me; Care about me, do not ignore me; Compliment me,
do not criticize me; Treating me to dinners, do not take advantage of me. Always
keep the doctrine “Eight Honors and Eight Disgraces” in mind. Happy New Year!’
Example (4) borrows the layout of Confucius’ classic the Analects and
Example (5) adopts the whole format of the political document “Eight Honors
and Eight Disgraces” proposed by the Chinese government advocating the
morality in modern Chinese society, forming a sharp contrast by merging the
grave and serious academic or political style with the casual and merry New
Year wishes to achieve a humorous effect. This is particularly obvious when
language users replicate the expressions in popular cultures with their
distinctive linguistic features. For example,
(6) 亲,到龙年了哦!本店所有商品一律免费送你哦!亲,本店赠送您的有温馨与如
Qīn, dào Lóng nián le o! Běndiàn suǒyǒu shāngpǐn yílv miǎnfèi sòng nǐ o! Qīn, běndiàn
zèngsòng nínde yǒu wēnxīn yǔ rúyì, yǒu kuàilè hé jiànkāng, yǒu bùbù gāoshēng
cáiyuán gǔngǔn o! Huò yǐjīng fā gěinǐ le o, qīn, zhùyì cháshōu o! Jì kě shōucáng, yě
kě zhuǎnfā o, yílv miǎnfèi qiě bāoyóu o, qīn! Quán 5 fēn o! Gěi hǎopíng o!
‘Dear, the Dragon Year is coming! You could have all the commodities in our shop
for free! Dear, what you can get from our shop includes coziness and contentment,
happiness and health, constant success as well as enormous wealth! All the
commodities have already been dispatched to you, dear, please check and receive
your package. And all of them were send to you without extra delivery charge on
you. Dear! Please give us all five stars and favorable comment in your online
evaluation of our service!’
In Example (6) 亲 qin ‘dear targets the buyers and “five stars” is the
shoppers’ request for the customer’s favorable online evaluation of their service.
Online shopping becomes a mundane part in the majority of the Chinese
people’s lives in the recent two decades and these expressions are reminiscent
of the Taobao (one of the most well-known online shopping websites in China)
style of promoting their commodities which arouses the receivers’ experience of
shopping online and hence quickly becomes a meme in communication.
4. The socio-psychological motivations for language memes
in Chinese blessing texted messages
As a factor of replication, the existence of linguistics memes conforms to
the principle of “natural selection” in which memes compete with one another
and those more adapted to the psychological demands of the receivers would
become potent to be copied and spread. Thus the socio-psychological
motivations behind the strong memes in Chinese blessing texted messages will
be explored as follows.
4.1. Humorous effects
In modern Chinese society, with the faster pace of living people are more
and more vulnerable to the pressure of industrialization and modernization.
Thus people need a relaxing atmosphere especially on holidays to ease the
intensive pressure in various aspects of life. The language memes in blessing
texted messages convey the wishes to the receiver and bring them joy and relaxation.
(7) 圣旨到,奉天承运,皇帝诏曰:秋天来到,气爽天高,特赐发短信一条,预祝爱
Shèngzhǐdào, fèngtiān chéngyùn, huángdìzhào yuē: qiūtiān láidào, qìshuǎng tiāngāo,
tècǐfā duǎnxìn yìtiáo, yùzhù àiqīn zài dānguìpiāoxiāng de rìzi lǐshēntǐ kāngjiàn,
fánnǎo quánxiāo, měitiān bǎochí lètáotáo! Qīncǐ!
‘Here is the Imperial Edict for you. In compliance with Heaven’s decree, the Emperor
said: in the forthcoming autumn with its crispy air and clear sky, I thereby send you,
my dear Subordinate, a message wishing you in advance healthy, carefree, and happy
every day in these autumn days full of osmanthus scent! By the emperor himself.’
Dǎjié, bùxǔ dòng, jǔqǐ shǒu lái! Bù jiécái, bù jiésè, fánnǎo tōngtōng ná guòlái; Bùxǔ
hǎn, bùxǔ jiào, bēishāng tòngkǔ liú xiàlái. Wǒde yòngyì nǐ míngbai, mùdì jiùshì yào
nǐ tiāntiān lè kàihuái.
‘Robbery! Freeze! Hands up! We don’t need your money or women. Give us all your
troubles. Don’t cry! Keep quiet! Leave all your grief and agony. You know my
intention: I need you to be happy and laugh every day.’
Example (7) replicates the format of the empirical edict by the Emperor
in feudal China with the sender’s wishes in it. It violates the maxim of quality
yet the receiver will not be offended by the condescending tone of the sender. In
example (8) the sender adopts the tone of hijacker with the illocutionary force
of wishing. The memes combine two contrasted speech acts to create the
humorous effect to dispel the receiver’s troubles and annoyance in their lives.
4.2. Constructing a modern identity
Gao and Yuan (2005) argued that the use of Chinese Internet language is
not only to serve the purpose of information communication, but also, perhaps
more importantly, to construct a modern identity. In today’s China festivals are
more and more westernized and many which are usually celebrated in the west
are now very popular among Chinese particularly youngsters who are more
receptive to new things. They want to establish their identities as more
modernized and open-minded social members. For example people especially
young people opt to make their messages more westernized by integrating
English letters or words, numbers, symbols and graphics on the internet.
(9) 祝你:兜儿里装满 money,心情总是 happy,每天都很sunny 快乐得像个baby,
Zhùnǐ: dōu’er lǐ zhuānmǎn money, xīnqíng zǒng shì happy, měitiān dōu hěn sunny,
kuàilè de xiàng gè baby, yìshēng yíshì dōu nàme lucky, xīnnián kuàilè!
‘My wishes for you: full of money in the pocket, always happy in the mood, sunny
every day, joyful as a baby, lucky for all your life. Happy New Year!’
(10) ((-~-)生气会长皱纹,(^_^)开心才会变年轻,(#-#)熬夜工作很伤身,
Shēnqì huì zhǎng zhòuwén, (^_^)kāixīn cái huì biàn niánqīng, (#-#)áoyè
gōngzuò hěn shāngshēn, (-。-)chōngzú shuìmián yìshēn qīng, yuàn nǐ gōngzuò
zhī yú, búwàng hǎohǎo xiūxi!‘(-~-)
you will get wrinkles when angry, (^_^)you will be younger when happy, (#-#)
your health will suffer if you work overnight, (-。-)sufficient sleep will make
you vigorous. So don’t forget to have a good rest after work!’
With the westernization of Chinese society code-mixing of Chinese and
English languages is prevalent in blessing texted messages especially among
youngsters illiterate of English to establish their image as modern individuals as
in Example (9). In Example (10) there are emoticons compensating for the lack
of paralinguistic information in communication with only written text as media.
By adopting these symbols and graphics the sender intends to construct their
identity of a capable internet user.
4.3. Revering traditional culture
According to Blackmore (1999) in memetic theory culture is an aggregate
of many different meme sets or memeplexes shared by the majority of a
population. The copying and spread of memes related to cultural elements
would contribute to its transmission and preservation. In China the universal
demand of rejuvenating the traditional culture constitutes another mindset for
replicating the language memes in texting messages on festivals which are an
integral part of Chinese culture.
(11) 日照元旦生紫烟,遥看幸福挂前方,飞流直下三千尺, 疑是快乐落九天。横看
Rì zhào Yuándàn shēng zǐyān/yáokàn xìngfú guà qiánfāng/fēiliú zhíxià sānqiān chǐ/
yíshì kuàilè luò jiǔtiān/héngkàn jiànkāng shù píng’ ān/yuánjìn gāodī gè hǎoyùn/
bùshí Yuándàn zhēn miànmù/zhǐ yuán wèi shōu wǒ duǎnxìn/Yuándàn kuàilè!
‘Sunlight streams on the New Year Day/From high above felicity hanging above/The
river steadily plunges/three thousand feet of sparkling water/Happiness pouring down
from heaven//Looking from front it looks like health/Looking from back it looks like
security/And looking from all distances it looks like luck/You could not understand
what the New Year is about /unless you receive my message/Happy New Year!’
(12) 偷得王母的玉液琼浆,盗来财神的财源兴旺,拐得寿星老的万寿无疆,劫来菩萨
Tōudé Wángmǔ de yùyè qiǒngjiāng, dàolái Cáishén de cáiyuán xīngwàng, guǎidé
Shòuxīnglǎo de wànshòuwújiāng, jiélái Púsa de xìngfú ānkāng, yòng zhēnchéng
hōngbèi chéng xīshì yuèbǐng, sòngyǔ jìng’ àide kèhù péngyǒu, yuàn Zhōngqiūjié kuàilè.
‘I stole the nectar from the Heavenly Queen, embezzled the abundant riches from the
God of Wealth, abducted a long life from the God of Longevity and robbed
happiness and health from Buddha to bake in all sincerity a rare moon cake for all my
dear clients to wish them a happy Mid-Autumn Festival!’
Example (11) is the combined memes of two Chinese poems: Waterfall at
Lushan by Li Bai and Inscription on the Wall of Xilin Temple by Su Shi. This
ancient seven-character poems are featured by antithesis and tonal rhymes
which exalts the joyous atmosphere of the traditional festival. Example (12) the
mythological figures in Chinese folk culture are mentioned to highlight how
special the moon cake is to wish the clients wealthy and prosperous and thus
ensuring their effective communication.
4.4. Expressing emotions
Heath (2001) holds that the reason why some memes could be replicated
is they could illicit common emotional reactions among people. This is
especially true for a typical oriental culture as China where the relations
between social members is largely dependent on the emotional bond. In China
one major aim of sending messages on festivals is to convey the sender’s
feelings and establish harmonious interpersonal relationships. Thus those
expressions which could arouse the receiver’s emotions and strengthen their ties
are impressive and will survive and be transferred from one to another.
(13) 送你一份特制美食,成分:真心、思念、快乐。营养:温馨、幸福。制造商:你
Sòng nǐ yífèn tèzhì měishí, chéngfèn: zhēnxīn、 sīniàn、 kuàilè. Yíngyǎng: wēnxīn、
xìngfú. Zhìzào shāng: nǐde péngyǒu. Yǒuxiào qī: yìshēng. Zhù nǐ wànshì rúyì!
‘Send you a dish especially made for you. Ingredients: sincerity, yearning, and
happiness. Nutrient: sweetness and benevolence. Manufacturer: your friend. Date of
expiration: the whole life. Wish you all the best!’
(14) 衷心的祝福你:就在那不经意的每一天里,请接受我最真诚的祝贺,并祝福你前
Zhōngxīn de zhùfú nǐ: jiù zài nà bùjīngyì de měi yìtiān lǐ, qǐng jiēshòu wǒ zuì
zhēnchéng de zhùfú. Wèi nǐ gānbēi! Fēngyǔ de jiētóu, zhàopái néng guà duōjiǔ,
àiguò de lǎogē, rújīn jìdé de yǒu jǐshǒu, jiāoguò de péngyǒu zài wǒ shēngmìng
zhōng, zhīxīn de rén yǒu nǐ…
‘My heartfelt wishes for you: please accept my sincerest wishes in every leisurely day.
Wish you a most promising future. A toast for you! How long can the signboards last
in the weather-beaten street? How many beloved old songs could still be remembered by
people? And you are still my bosom friend in my life among all my acquaintances…’
The format of Example (13) is strong meme among people which is a
food specification which elaborates on the manufacturing of a delicately made
dish for the receiver. Example (14) replicates the words of an old popular song
which build a nostalgic ambience which strikes a chord in the receiver’s mind
and thus feel the care and consideration of the sender.
5. Conclusions
There is no denying that there are many problems with the language
memes in Chinese blessing texted messages. Sometimes certain expressions are
transmitted too many times that the language lose its originality and novelty and
the receiver even have doubts on the sincerity of the sender by reading similar
or even the same messages. Yet it is undeniable that the compiler of the texted
messages becomes an active participator involved in this process which
enhances the creativity of the communicators and thereby language in the
society is enriched to a large extent.
Blackmore, Susan (1999), The Meme Machine, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Brodie, Richard. (1996), Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme, Integral Press, Seattle.
Crystal, David (2008), Txtng: The gr8 db8, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Dawkins, Richard (1976) The Selfish Gene, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Fillmore, Charles J. (1982), “Frame Semantics”, in The Linguistic Society of Korea (ed.)
Linguistics in the Morning Calm, Hanshin Publishing Co, Seoul, pp. 117-137.
Gao, Liwei. and Rong Yuan. 2005. “Linguistic Construction of Modernity in Computer-Mediated
Communication”, in Q. Gao (ed.) Proceedings of the 17th North American Conference
on Chinese Linguistics (NACCL-17), East Asian Studies Center, The Ohio State University,
Columbus, pp. 66-83.
Heath, Chip, Chris Bell and Emily Sternberg (2001), “Emotional Selection in Memes: The Case
of Urban Legends”, in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81, 6, pp. 1028-1041.
He, Ziran (2005), “Memes in Language”, in Language Science, 4, 6, pp. 54-64.
Minsky, Marvin (1975), “A Framework for Representing Knowledge”, in P.H. Winston (ed.) The
Psychology of Computer Vision, McGraw-Hill, New York, pp. 211-277.
Ravid, Dorit and Liliana Tolchinsky (2002), “Developing Linguistic Literacy: a Comprehensive
Model”, in Journal of Child Language, 29, 2, pp. 417-447.
Thurlow, Crispin and Brown, Alex (2003), Generation Txt? The Sociolinguistics of Young People’s TextMessaging.
This article is concerned with the phenomenon of language change and how it is currently
reflected in German based on the example of Kiezdeutsch, seen from both perspectives: as an
ethnolect and as youth language. The main characteristics of Kiezdeutsch cover all language areas
such as: phonetics, morphology, syntax and vocabulary and may be seen as possible changes in
the German language. The examples provided in the article are relevant for the inovative
character and originality of this new language form. However it is difficult to predict if these
changes will remain on a long term in the language system.
Keywords: Kiezdeutsch, youth language, ethnolect, language change, innovation.
1. Einleitung
In dieser Arbeit beschäftige ich mich mit dem Sprachwandel in Deutschland
und zwar mit Kiezdeutsch als eines der umstrittenen sprachlichen Phänomenen.
Zuerst möchte ich aber das Phänomen des Sprachwandels kurz darstellen.
Die Sprache ist ein lebender Organismus, der die Änderung einer Gesellschaft
widerspiegelt. Deutsch ist keine Ausnahme dafür. Heutzutage stellt man eine
Reihe von Abweichungen von der Standardsprache fest. Zimmer (2007: 383)
stellt die heutige Situation folgenderweise dar:
Im immer intensiveren Kontakt mit anderen Sprachen – im Zuge einer
Art sprachlicher Globalisierung – und getrieben, gehetzt von omnipräsenten und
mit elektronischen Geschwindigkeit operierenden Medien macht die deutsche
Sprache, und nicht nur sie, zurzeit den größten und schnellsten
Veränderungsschub ihrer Geschichte durch.
Warum gibt es aber einen ständigen Wandel in allen sprachlichen
Bereichen von der Phonologie, der Morphologie und der Syntax bis zur
Lexikologie und Semantik? Eine Erklärung dafür bieten die Sprachforscher
Universität Bukarest, Fremdsprachenfakultät Germanistikabteilung, Doktorandin an der
Doktoratschule „Sprachen und kulturelle Identitäten”, [email protected]
Schmidt/Herrgen (2011: 20): „Sprachliche Veränderungsprozesse entstehen, weil
Sprecher (-Gruppen) in Interaktion mit anderen Sprechern bzw. Sprechergruppen,
die über andere linguale System – und Register – Kompetenzen zielen
kognitive, in der Regel unbewusste Optimierungsstrategien anwenden.“
Für den Sprachforscher Keller (2000: 4) ist eine Sprache „ein komplexes
System konventioneller Regeln. Er beschreibt den Sprachwandel
folgenderweise. Jede Veränderung einer Konvention beginnt notwendigerweise
mit deren Übertretung; und Übertretungen sprachlicher Konventionen nennt
man «Fehler». Wenn der Fehler schließlich zum allgemeinen Usus geworden
ist, dann hat er aufgehört, ein Fehler zu sein und eine neue Konvention ist
entstanden. Anders formuliert: „Die systematischen Fehler von heute sind die
neuen Regeln von morgen“ (Keller 2000). Unter den heutigen Fehlern, die
große Chancen haben, künftige Regeln zu werden, erwähnt Keller (2000: 5-6)
folgende Beispiele.
Verbzweitstellung nach der Konjunktion «weil»:
(1) Ich muss jetzt gehen, weil die Geschäfte machen gleich zu.
(Keller 2000: 5)
Die Zusammenziehung von so ein zu der Form son (sone – weibliche
Form oder im Plural):
(2) Sone Dinger hab ich auch.
(Keller 2000: 5)
Dürscheid (2003: 327) nennt auch folgende Fehler.
Wegfall der Kasusmarkierung am Substantiv:
(3) Ich kenne den Student schon lange.
Dürscheid (2003: 327)
Ausklammerung von Satzgliedern:
(4) Paul hat Physik und Chemie studiert in München.
Dürscheid (2003: 327)
Solche Beispiele sind auch im Falle des Kiezdeutschen anzutreffen, von
dem ich im zweiten Teil dieser Arbeit schreiben werde, und das ich als
mögliches Beispiel für einen künftigen Sprachwandel darstelle. Auf Grund der
oben erwähnten Beispiele erklärt Keller (2000: 10) den Mechanismus des
Sprachwandels. Dieser besteht in einer Handlung nach bestimmten Strategien
oder Maximen wie die Maxime der Energieersparnis, die die Regelmäßigkeit
des Verhaltens erzeugt oder eine Maxime, die das Verständnis beim
Kommunizieren versichert.
Die Ökonomiemaxime besteht in der Auswahl sprachlicher Ausdrucksformen,
um mit geringem Aufwand Einfluss auf den Gesprächspartner auszuüben. So
entsteht der Sprachwandel laut Keller (2000). Für den Sprachforscher riskiert
jede innovative Abweichung das Verständnis, aber wer „auffallen will, muss
innovativ sein“. Bei den Jugendlichen sieht man vielleicht am besten das
innovative Potenzial der Sprache. Sie sind „mit Hilfe sprachlicher Mittel wahre
Meister“ (Keller 2000)
2. Die Jugendsprache in Deutschland
Die Jugendsprache ist für den Sprachwandel repräsentativ, denn diese
Sprachform beruht sich vor allem auf der Innovation. Die wesentlichen
Funktionen der Jugendsprache sind die Abgrenzung gegenüber den
Konventionen der dominanten Gruppe in einer Gesellschaft und die soziale
Identitätsbildung, das heißt die Bekräftigung der Zugehörigkeit zu einer
bestimmten Gruppe. Sowohl die Abgrenzung als auch die Identifikation haben
demzufolge einen sozialen Aspekt.
Die Abgrenzungsfunktion kann durch mehrere Formen ausgedrückt
werden wie: „Kritik, ironische Distanzierung, provozierende Norm – und
Tabubrüche“ (Neuland 2003: 139). Die Abweichungen der Jugendsprache
gegenüber der Norm sind Ausdruck der Kreativität und der Innovation ihrer
Sprecher. Das gehört auch zur ludischen Funktion der Jugendsprache2. Man
kann diese Funktion als ein Experiment „mit Themen, mit sprachlichen Regeln
und Konventionen [...] ein Erproben der sozialen und diskursiven Kompetenz“
betrachten (Schlobinski u.a. 1993: 211-212.).
Die Originalität erweist sich auch durch die „Herstellung einer
erwünschten Unverständlichkeit für die Nichtdazugehörigen“ (Zimmermann
2003: 28). Die Innovationen auf dem sprachlichen Gebiet werden von den
Jugendlichen selbst als „normabweichend, normdurchbrechend oder
normverletzend begriffen“ (Zimmermann 2003: 29). Viele solche Innovationen
können aber schnell wieder verschwinden.
Weiter spricht Zimmermann von zwei Arten von Innovationnen: „die
Veränderung einer Regel und die Anwendung eines in der Sprache etablierten
Innovationsverfahrens“, das zu etwas Neuem führt (Zimmermann 2003). Die
Innovation ist der erste Schritt zum Sprachwandel, denn „ohne Innovation kein
Wandel“ (Zimmermann 2003: 31). Aber damit diese neuen Elemente auf
längerer Dauer in der Sprache auch bleiben, braucht man außer Innovation auch
Vgl. Sinner (2014: 155).
Akzeptanz und Verbreitung von einer jugendlichen Gruppe eines Stadtteils oder
einer Stadt aus bis zu einer nationalen Erscheinung (Zimmermann 2003).
Unter den Funktionen der Jugendsprache, die von der Innovation gebunden
sind, nennt Zimmermann (2003) das Spielerische und das Soziolinguistische, das
auch zwei weitere Aspekte bedekt: Sybolisierung einer Generationenidentität
und die Provokation gegenüber den Erwachsenen. Eine Aufzählung der
Merkmale der Jugendsprache ist nicht leicht, weil es, wie schon erwähnt, keine
homogene Sprache der Jugendlichen gibt, sondern geht es eher um ein
„vielschichtiges Feld des Sprachgebrauchs“ (Androutsopoulos 2001: 58). Man
kann aber einige wichtige Merkmale dieses sprachlichen Phänomens feststellen,
die auf verschiedenen Gebieten der Sprache wie: Phonologie, Wortschatz und
Wortbildung, Phraseologie und Syntax auftauchen.
Typisch für die Jugendsprache sind auch folgende Merkmale.
Vereinfachung auslautender Konsonanten:
(5) a. nich(t)
b. sin(d)
c. ma(l)
Verschmelzung und Anpassungen im Wortinneren3:
(6) a. [e:m] eben
b. [san] sagen
Verwendung von Neubildungen, z.B. Ausdrucksverkürzungen4:
(7) Alk Alkohol
Verwendung von Anglizismen5:
(8) a. Powern
b. relaxen
c. eine coole Sache
Vorliebe für die Intensivpräfigierungen:
(9) a. mega-geil
b. ultra-kurz
(Androutsopoulos 1998: 107)
Vgl. Altmann 1986: 310).
Als auch Ausdruckserweiterungen (auf Grund der Komposition, der Präfigierung, oder
der Suffigierung (vgl. Hoppe u.a. 2003: 464)
Vgl. Reinke (1994: 298) und Schlobinski u.a. (1993: 27).
Akkusativ-Nominativ-Zusammenfall beim unbestimmten Artikel:
(10) nen bisschen
(Bachofer 2003: 63)
Determinierer so und so ein:
(11) So’n Typ, so’n paar Pausen
(Bachofer 2003: 63)
Konjunktionen weil und obwohl ohne Verbendstellung:
(12) Obwohl, die sind jetzt auch in Mode
(Hoppe u.a. 2003: 467)
Präpositionen wegen und während mit Dativrektion statt Genitiv:
(13) Das ist nur wegen dem Geld
(Hoppe u.a. 2003: 467)
Doppeltes Perfekt:
(14) Der hat mich gerade angerufen gehabt.
(Hoppe u.a. 2003: 467)
Verwendung von Intensivierungen:
(15) Es war echt einfach nur geil.
(Androutsopoulos 1998: 344)
Wegfall der Verben:
(16) Na ja, nicht mein Geschmack
(Androutsopoulos 1998: 296)
Verwendung von Ellipsen:
(17) Echt übel das Teil!
(Androutsopoulos 1998: 296)
Alle diese Merkmale können als Sprachwandelprozesse angesehen
werden. Heutzutage ist die Jugendsprache ein internationales Phänomen und
dank zahlreicher Studien kann man behaupten, dass die Jugendsprachen in
verschiedenen Ländern ähnliche Merkmale haben: Entlehnungen aus dem
Englischen, Vorliebe für neue Wörter und Ausdrücke, Verwendung von
Sprachspielen (wie das französische Verlan) und von Ironie.
Außerdem sind Begriffe wie: Dynamik, Originalität, Authentizität, Direktheit,
Flexibilität und nicht zuletzt Innovation Schlüsselwörter für die Jugendsprache
im Allgemeinen. Innovation ist besonders wichtig, weil kein Sprachwandel
ohne sie möglich ist und das führt zur ständigen sprachlichen Bereicherung.
3. Kiezdeutsch
Die Jugendsprache überschneidet sich aber nicht nur mit der
Umgangssprache, sondern auch mit einem neuen sprachlichen Phänomen,
Kiezdeutsch, das sich in den urbanen Wohngebieten Deutschlands entwickelt
hat. Es wird besonders von den Jugendlichen mit Migrationshintergrund gesprochen,
aber auch von denjenigen deutscher Herkunft. Es ist also auch ein Ethnolekt.
Da die deutsche Gesellschaft sich immer mehr mit dem Migrationsphänomen
konfrontiert, ist es leicht vorstellbar, warum das Interesse an verschiedenen
Sprachformen wie Kiezdeutsch, Kanaksprak oder Türkendeutschen, also an
Ethnolekten im allgemeninen dauernd steigt.
Viele Charakteristika der Jugendsprache sind auch im Falle von
Kiezdeutsch anzutreffen.
Ausfall von Artikel und Präposition:
(18) Ich bin Schule.
(Keim 2012: 130)
Ausfall der Personalpronomina:
(19) soll zu Erlenhof gehen.
(Keim 2012: 130)
(20) oh mann
(Keim 2012: 130)
Elliptische Formulierungen:
(21) über uns gehetzt
(Keim 2012: 130)
(22) voll die Fische (totale Idioten)
(Keim 2012: 130)
Die Partikel so:
(23) Da gibt’s so Club...für Jugendliche so.
(Keim 2012: 130)
Eine große Rolle sowohl für die Jugendsprache als auch für Kiezdeutsch
spielt das innovative Potential beider Phänomene, indem neue Wörter,
Ausdrücke in der Sprache entstehen.
(24) Ich mach dich Messer. (Ich greife dich mit dem Messer an.)
Die Innovationen können sich allmählich auf die gesamte Gesellschaft
ausbreiten und betreffen alle sprachlichen Gebiete, nicht nur den Lautwandel,
sondern auch den lexikalischen Wandel und die Grammatikalisierungsprozesse6.
Für Wiese (2012: 10) sind die Merkmale des Kiezdeutschen „keine willkürlichen
Fehler”, sondern „systematische sprachliche Entwicklungen”. Wiese (2012: 17)
ist der Meinung, dass Kiezdeutsch nichts Exotisches und Fremdes ist, und dass
„die sprachlichen Eigenheiten von Kiezdeutsch fest verankert im System der
deutschen Grammatik” sind.
Hinrichs (2013) widerspricht Wieses Theorie, indem er als Hauptfaktor zur
Entstehung der Merkmale des Kiezdeutschen die Einflüsse der Migrantensprachen
nennt. Er betont mehrmals, dass eine gründliche Analyse des Kiezdeutschen
ohne die Berücksichtigung der Elemente der Migrantensprachen nicht
durchgeführt werden könne. Außerdem ist für ihn auch die Annäherung des
Kiezdeutschen zu den Pidginsprachen sehr wichtig: „den Pidgincharakter muss
man nicht nachweisen, er ist überall bezeugt (Hinrichs 2013: 222).
Die Jugendlichen mit Migrationshintergrund sind die Nachkommen
derjenigen, die Gastarbeiterdeutsch gesprochen haben. Man kann also behaupten,
dass Kiezdeutsch das Gastarbeiterdeutsch als Ausgangspunkt hatte, und zwar
weist Kiezdeutsch viele Merkmale der Pidgin-und Kreolsprachen auf, aber diese
Varietät hat „sich vom reinen Pidgin emanzipiert“ (Hinrichs 2013: 204)
Entlehnungen sind für Kiezdeutsch typisch, es gibt natürlich Anglizismen
in Gesprächen über Musik oder Mode, aber beim Kiezdeutschen stellt man fest
vor allem eine Vorliebe für Wörter aus dem Arabischen oder Türkischen: lan
(aus dem Türkischen: Typ, Kerl), wallah (aus dem Arabischen, wörtlich bei
Gott), yallah (aus dem Arabischen, los!), moruk (aus dem Türkischen: Alter)
sind für die Kiezdeutschsprecher charakteristisch7. Und das ist der wesentliche
Unterschied zwischen dem Kiezdeutschen und der Jugendsprache: der ethnische
Charakter des Kiezdeutschen im Vergleich zu der Jugendsprache.
Vgl. Androutsopoulos (2001: 62).
Vgl. Wiese 2012: 39).
Was die Phonetik betrifft, hat Kiezdeutsch folgende Besonderheiten
unter anderem.
Die Koronalisierung des stimmlosen palatalen Frikativ [ç] zu [∫]:
(25) a. [ɪʃ] ich
b. [d ɪʃ] dich
Die Reduktion des [ts] zu [s] in wortinitialer Position8:
(26) [svaɪ] zwei
Der sch-Laut in den Personalpronomen wie isch oder disch, aber auch in
Wörtern wie natürlisch ist „das akustische Erkennungszeichen des
Kiezdeutsch“ (Hinrichs 2013: 206). Dieses Merkmal sch statt ch wurde nicht
von den deutschen Dialekten übernommen, obwohl das auch für das Rheinische
und das Hessische spezifisch ist, sondern es ist im Rahmen des Sprachkontaktes
erschienen. So ist der Laut [ç] in vielen Migrantensprachen wie im Türkischen,
im Arabischen oder im Bosnischen nicht zu treffen, es gibt aber in diesen
Sprachen [ʃ] als Laut. (Hinrichs 2013: 207)
Ein anderes Merkmal im lautlichen Bereich ist das „emphatische“
Kiezdeutsch: die Art der Artikulation ähnelt dem Arabischen, der Muttersprache
vieler Jugendlichen, die Kiezdeutsch verwenden. Im Arabischen gibt es
expressive Laute und diese „prägen das Lautbild des Kiezdeutsch entscheidend“
(Hinrichs 2013: 207f.).
Unter den grammatischen Merkmalen, die Kiezdeutsch aufweist, sind
folgende zu erwähnen.
Die Reduktion, das heißt: die Verwendung von bloßen Nominalphrasen
als Direktional- und Lokalangaben
(27) Morgen ich geh Arbeitsamt.
und die Ausweitung, die sich auf neue Funktionsverbgefüge bezieht, wie:
(28) a. Ich mach dich Messer. (d.h. Ich greife dich mit dem Messer an)
b. Hast du U-Bahn? – Nee, ich hab Fahrrad.
(Wittenberg/Paul 2008: 99)
Was die Verwendung von bloßen Nominalphrasen als Direktional- und
Lokalangaben betrifft, behauptet Hinrichs (2013: 208), dass dieses Merkmal
kein deutsches Modell sei, sondern dass es in Verbindug mit den Kreol- und
Pidginsprachen gesetzt werden sollte. Die Ortsangaben ohne Präposition sind
Vgl. Freywald (2011: 3).
für das Türkische typisch, weil das Türkische Postpositionen hat. Auch im
Arabischen gibt es Angaben zu Ort oder Richtung ohne Präpositionen, auch
wenn die Sprache sonst viele Präpositionen hat. Im Persischen ist dieses
ähnliche Modell zu treffen, deshalb kann dieses Merkmal des Kiezdeutschen als
ein Einfluss der Migrantensprachen, neben dem Pidgin-Modell, angesehen
werden (Hinrichs 2013: 209f.).
Die neuen Funktionsverbgefüge werden meistens mit Hilfe des Verbs
„machen“ gebaut. Typische Ausdrücke für Kiezdeutsch sind folgende:
(29) a. Machst du rote Ampel. (Gehst du bei Rot über die Straße)
b. Ich mach dich Krankenhaus (Ich schlage dich zusammen)
(Wiese 2012)
Die Vereinfachung besteht im Ersetzen eines komplexen Verbs durch das
Allzweckverb machen, um einen Ausdruck zu bilden und laut Hinrichs (2013:
218) ist das „Sache der Ökonomie“. Er fügt hinzu, dass dieses Model auch im
Türkischen, Persischen und Kurdischen zu treffen sei.
Die Verbzweitstellungskonstruktion wird im Kiezdeutschen in eine Adv
SVO-Stellung umgewandelt:
(30) dann die sind zur Ubahn gerannt
(Wiese u.a. 2012: 114)
Hinrichs (2013: 220) erklärt dieses Merkmal des Kiezdeutschen dadurch,
dass fast alle Migrantensprachen über das oben erwähnte Muster verfügen, d.h.
nach dem allgemeinen Rahmensetzer gibt es einen normalen Hauptsatz. „Dieses
Modell kann man mit Recht als eine Kopie aus solchen Migrantensprachen
interpretieren, in denen diese Wortfolge normal ist“ (Hinrichs 2013).
Außerdem gibt es als neue Wortfolge im Kiezdeutschen auch die
Voranstellung des Verbs, also die Wortfolge VSO:
(31) a. Gesehen hab’ ich mein’ Kumpel gestern
b. Hab’ isch gesehen mein’ Kumpel gestern
(Hinrichs 2013: 219)
Da diese Wortordnung sowohl im schriftlichen als auch im mündlichen
Arabischen die normale ist, kann das als einen Grund zur Entstehung dieses
Merkmals des Kiezdeutschen verstanden werden (Hinrichs 2013).
Man stellt auch eine Lockerung grammatischer Restriktionen fest. Der
Wegfall der Flexionsendungen besonders im Falle des Possessivpronomens
wird von Wiese (2012) als eine sprachliche Vereinfachung angesehen, während
Hinrichs (2013) der Meinung ist, es sei eher ein Zeichen einer „orientalischen
Methode“, die einen Einfluss auf Kiezdeutsch übte.
(32) Ich frag mein Schwester.
(Hinrichs 2013: 213)
Der Ausfall des Artikels ist ein anderes Merkmal des Kiezdeutsch, das
auch den Pidginsprachen entspricht.
(33) a. Hast Du Handy?
(Wiese 2012: 60)
b. mit Auto
(Wiese 2012: 70)
Eine Ähnlichkeit mit den Pidginsprachen ist auch der Wegfall der Kopula
beim Prädikat im Präsens:
(34) er – guter Kollege
(Hinrichs 2013: 211)
Dieses Merkmal ist auch bei dem Gastarbeiterdeutsch zu finden, aber laut
Hinrichs (2013: 212) ist das beim Kiezdeutsch „kein produktives Merkmal
mehr, sondern eher auf dem Rückzug.“
Ein produktives Muster des Kiezdeutschen ist die Verwendung neuer
Aufforderungspartikeln wie: lassma (sprecherexklusiv) und musstu (sprechinklusiv)
(Androutsopoulos/Lauer 2013: 84):
(35) a. lassma licht ausmachen
(Urban 2007: 61)
b. musstu doppelstunde fahren
(Wiese 2012: 64)
Typisch für Kiezdeutsch sind auch Assimilationen wie:
(36) a.
(Androutsopoulos/Lauer 2013: 89)
Als innovatives Merkmal des Kiezdeutschen erwähnt Wiese (2012)
die Partikel so, die eine neue Rolle im Gespräch spielt, und zwar als Artikel
oder Fokusmarker:
(37) Ich bin mehr so Naturtyp für Natur, Dorf.
(Paul u.a. 2009: 203)
In diesem Fall ersetzt die Partikel so den Artikel ein. Für Auer (2013) ist
aber diese Partikel kein typisches Merkmal des Kiezdeutschen, sondern ein
allgemein verbreitetes Merkmal der gesprochenen deutschen Sprache. Er gibt
dazu Beispiele von der Verwendung der Partikel so von deutsch-monolingualen
Sprechern, die keine ethnischen Marker benutzen9:
(38) bin isch bestimmt ganz still so
(Auer 2013: 29)
Zum Kiezdeutschen gehört auch die Verwendung lexikalischen Materials
mit jugendsprachlichem Charakter10:
(39) a. Mies
b. Alter
Man kann also behaupten, dass Kiezdeutsch ein interessante Varietät ist,
„weil es Merkmale einer Jugend- und einer Kontaktsprache in sich vereint“
(Wiese 2011: 150).
Im Unterschied zu Sprechern von Lernvarietäten sind die Sprecher des
Kiezdeutschen imstande, auch eine Standardvarietät in einem bestimmten
sprachlichen Kontext zu verwenden. Kiezdeutsch hat eigene Regeln, die nicht
arbiträr, sondern stabil sind, es ist also ein System, so wie andere Sprachvarietäten11.
Aus diesem Grund definiert Wiese (2012) Kiezdeutsch als Dialekt.
Für Hinrichs ist Kiezdeutsch aber nur „ein Slang“ (2013: 203) und den
Slang definiert man als „die Gesamtheit allgemeinverständlicher und
weitverbreiteter Wörter und Ausdrücke [...], die bewusst als Ersatzwörter für die
üblichen literarischen Ausdrücke verwendet werden“ (Domaschnev 1987: 311).
Der Slang kann durch seine Verwendung zur Bereicherung des
gemeinsprachlichen Wortschatzes beitragen12.
Bei Auer (2013) geht es aber um keinen neuen Dialekt, weil diese
Sprechweise nicht diatopisch definiert ist, sondern ethnisch oder sozial. Er
betrachtet Kiezdeutsch eher als eine Varietät oder ein Stil. Was aber auch Auer
betont, ist dass es bei diesen ethnolektalen Merkmalen meistens um systematische
Abweichungen von der Standardvarietät des Deutschen geht, denn Kiezdeutsch
ist „keine Ansammlung von individuellen Fehlern ausländischer Sprecher“, die
Deutsch nicht beherrschen können (Auer 2013: 22).
Vgl. Auer (2013: 29).
Vgl. Auer (2013: 89).
Vgl. Wittenberg/Paul (2008: 99).
Domaschnev 1987: 311)
4. Schlussbemerkungen
Eine Sprachform wie Kiezdeutsch ist schwer zu definieren und von
anderen sprachlichen Phänomenen abzugrenzen. Es gehört zur Jugendsprache,
aber es ist auch ein Ethnolekt und darf auch als Soziolekt angesehen werden.
Was man neulich als Tendenz feststellt, ist die Tatsache, dass die
Ethnolekte allmählich auch von anderen sozialen Gruppen übernommen werden
können, vor allem von Jugendlichen, die keine Kenntnisse über die Sprache der
Migrantenjugendlichen haben, und das führt zu der Verbreitung dieses
sprachlichen Phänomens. Diese Sprechweisen sollten nicht als eine Bedrohung
für die deutsche Standardsprache betrachtet werden, sondern als eine
sprachliche Bereicherung. Vorteil dieser Phänomene ist die Aktivierung
mehrerer Sprachen, was dazu führt, die Ausdrucksweise der Sprecher zu
bereichern. Diese „kreolisierten“ Formen „bilden einen Teil des zu
alternierenden und vermischenden Reservoirs“ (Hinnenkamp 2003: 396)
Wichtig zu erwähnen, ist auch, dass Kiezdeutsch kein isoliertes
Sprachphänomen in Europa ist. Ähnliche Sprachformen sind auch in anderen
Ländern Europas mit hohem Migrantenanteil anzutreffen, und so wie
Kiezdeutsch werden von Jugendlichen verwendet. Einige Beispiele davon sind:
„Rynkebysvenska“ (Rinkeby-Schwedisch) in Stockholm, kebabspråk (KebabSprache) in Malmö und Göteburg, perker-stil (Niggerstil) in Kopenhagen, Straattal
(Straßensprache) in den Niederlanden und Byvankerpråk (Straßensprache) in
Norwegen (Keim 2012: 121).
Mit einem so großen Migrantenanteil werden Zeichen von gegenseitigem
kulturellem Einfluß überall gesehen. Bei der jüngeren Generation, die zu einer
kulturellen Integration offener ist, sind die Mischungen von kulturellen
Elementen öfter anzutreffen, deshalb sind auch viele Studien über
Multikulturalität den Jugendlichen gewidmet13.
Eine oft gestellte Frage ist, in wie fern diese sprachlichen Mischformen
durch interkulturelle Kontakte das heutige Sprachsystem beeinflussen, und ob
diese als kurzfristige Moden oder stabile Wandelprozesse betrachtet werden können.
Ob diese Sprachformen auf die Standardsprache einen Einfluß üben
werden, ist es schwer festzustellen, denn man kann die aktuellen Tendenzen
analysieren, aber die Veränderungen können nur aus der Retrospektive
erkennbar sein, also nur wenn der Entwicklungsprozess abgeschlossen ist. 14In
dieser Hinsicht ist die Meinung von Haspelmath (2002: 271) sehr relevant:
„Jede Generation trägt ihren Teil zu den großen Schwingungen des Rades der
Sprachgeschichte bei, aber für die einzelnen Sprecher sind diese Veränderungen
Vgl. Vermeij (2001: 73).
Vgl. Dürscheid (2003: 12).
praktisch nicht wahrnehmbar. Die wirklichen Regularitäten erkennt nur der
Sprachhistoriker aus seiner weiten Perspektive.“
Altmann, Hans (1986), “Jugendsprache heute”, in Engagement: Zeitschrift für Erziehung und
Schule. Sprache in der modernen Welt, 4, S. 304-321.
Androutsopoulos, Jannis (1998), Deutsche Jugendsprache. Untersuchungen zu ihren Strukturen
und Funktionen, Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main.
Androutsopoulos, Jannis (2001), “Von fett zu fabelhaft: Jugendsprache in der Sprachbiographie”,
in Osnabrücker Beiträge zur Sprachtheorie, 62, S. 55-78.
Androutsopoulos, Jannis, Katharina Lauer (2013), “Kiezdeutsch in der Presse: Geschichte und
Gebrauch eines neuen Labels im Metasprachdiskurs”, in Ş. Ozil, M. Hofmann, Y.
Dayıoğlu (Hrsg.), Jugendbilder. Repräsentationen von Jugend in Medien und Politik,
V&R unipress, Göttingen, S. 67-94.
Bachofer, Wolfgang (2003), “Charakteristika der deutschen Jugendsprache(n) – Charakteristika
der gesprochenen deutschen Umgangssprache”, in E. Neuland (Hrsg.), Jugendsprachen –
Spiegel der Zeit. Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main, S. 61-75.
Domaschnev, Anatoli I. (1987), “Umgangsprache/Slang/Jargon”, in U. Ammon, N. Dittmar, K.J.
Mattheier (Hrsg.), Soziolinguistik. Ein internationales Handbuch zur Wissenschaft von
Sprache und Gesellschaft, vol. 1, De Gruyter, Berlin-New York, S. 308-315.
Dürscheid, Christa (2003), „Syntaktische Tendenzen im heutigen Deutsch“, in Zeitschrift für
germanistische Linguistik, 31, S. 327-342.
Haspelmath, Martin (2002), “Grammatikalisierung: von der Performanz zur Kompetenz ohne
angeborene Grammatik”, in S. Krämer, E. König (Hrsg.), Gibt es eine Sprache hinter dem
Sprechen? Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main, S. 262-286.
Hinrichs, Uwe (2013), Multi Kulti Deutsch. Wie Migration die deutsche Sprache verändert.
Beck, München.
Hoppe, Almut, Katharina Romeikat, Susanne Schütz, (2003), “Jugendsprache: Anregungen für
den Deutschunterricht”, in E. Neuland (Hrsg.), Jugendsprachen - Spiegel der Zeit. Peter
Lang, Frankfurt am Main, S. 463-483.
Keim, Inken (2012), Mehrsprachige Lebenswelten. Sprechen und Schreiben der türkischstämmigen
Kinder und Jugendlichen. Narr, Tübingen.
Keller, Rudi (2000), „Sprachwandel. BDÜ 2000: Faszination Sprache – Herausforderung Übersetzung“.
Neuland, Eva (Hrsg.) (2003), Jugendsprachen – Spiegel der Zeit, Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main.
Reinke, Marlies (1994), “Jugendsprache“, in H.J. Heringer, G. Samson, M. Kaufmann, W. Bader (Hrsg.),
Tendenzen der deutschen Gegenwartssprache, PIA, Asnière.
Schlobinski, Peter, Gaby Kohl, Irmgard Ludewigt (1993), Jugendsprache. Fiktion und Wirklichkeit,
Westdeutscher Verlag, Opladen
Schmidt, Jürgen Erich, Joachim Herrgen (2011), Sprachdynamik. Eine Einführung in die moderne
Regionalsprachenforschung, Erich Schmidt Verlag, Berlin.
Sinner, Carsten (2014), Varietätenlinguistik. Eine Einführung. Narr, Tübingen.
Vermeij, Lotte (2001), „The Mutuality of Cultural Influence Amongst Dutch Youth: An Exploration of
Pilot Data“, in A. Hvenekilde, J. Nortier (Hrsg.), Meeting at the Crossroads. Studies of
multilingualism and multiculturalism in Oslo and Utrecht, Novus Forlag, Oslo, S. 73-90.
Wiese, Heike (2012), Kiezdeutsch. Ein deutscher Dialekt entsteht, Beck, München.
Wiese, Heike, Ulrike Freywald, Sören Schalowski, Katharina Mayr (2012), „Das KiezDeutschKorpus. Spontansprachliche Daten Jugendlicher aus urbanen Wohngebieten“, in Deutsche
Sprache 2, S. 97-123.
Wittenberg, Eva/Kerstin Paul, (2008), „«Aşkım, Baby, Schatz...» Anglizismen in einer
multiethnischen Jugendsprache“, in F. Pfalzgraf (Hrsg.), Englischer Sprachkontakt in den
Varietäten des Deutschen/Englisch in Contact with Varieties of German. Lang, Frankfurt
am Main, S. 95-122.
Zimmer, Dieter E. (2007), „Gutes Deutsch“, in A. Burkhardt (Hrsg.), Was ist gutes Deutsch?
Dudenverlag, Mannheim, S. 381-392.
Zimmermann, Klaus (2003), „Jugendsprache, Generationsidentität und Sprachwandel“, in E.
Neuland (Hrsg.), Jugendsprachen - Spiegel der Zeit. Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main, S. 27-41.
Olivia N. Petrescu, Estudios de traducción y lenguajes de especialidad,
Risoprint, Cluj-Napoca, 2014, 210 pp.
Olivia Narcisa Petrescu est professeur d’espagnol au Département de Langues Modernes
Appliquées de l’Université « Babeş-Bolyai ». Dans son livre elle nous propose une vision
complexe sur les problèmes multiples que le processus de la traduction incorpore. D’une part,
l’auteur expose les points de convergence et de divergence des traductions spécialisées, et d’autre
part, elle met en avant l’importance des traductions littéraires pour la connaissance de la culture
de l’Autre. Dépassant le concept d’intraduisible, le livre a comme but d’offrir aux traducteurs une
voie par laquelle ils peuvent arriver à des réponses pour l’un des dilemmes du champ de la
traduction. Le travail est divisé en deux parties: la première, constituée de sept chapitres, est
dédiée à l’analyse de la traduction spécialisée; la deuxième, plus restreinte, présente en trois
chapitres quelques aspects de la traduction de textes littéraires.
La première partie met en question la traduction spécialisée à partir des aspects les plus généraux
jusqu’à ceux plus particuliers. Dans le premier chapitre, « Metodología y técnicas actuales de la
traducción especializada », l’auteur postule le concept de traducteur comme lecteur qui a pour première
tâche la compréhension du texte à traduire. À partir de ce point, l’auteur souligne les étapes nécessaires
pour la recréation du texte traduit, parmi lesquelles le travail de documentation et le travail lexical. Le
traducteur devient ainsi une instance impérieuse de la traduction dans laquelle il se révèle dès le début.
L’importance de la recherche du traducteur est mise en évidence dans les chapitres II, « El
papel de los latinismos en la terminología jurídica », et IV, « Herramientas del portal de la Unión
Europea utilizadas para la traducción de sentencias judiciales ». Tout en accentuant la dimension
diachronique des maximes latines et le caractère synchronique de la terminologie juridique
actuelle, les deux chapitres analysent les conséquences de l’évolution des traductions en roumain
pour le domaine de la traduction spécialisée.
Le troisième chapitre, « Aspectos de neología en el lenguaje jurídico. Marco europeo y
especificidades rumanas, españolas y catalanas », s’occupe d’un problème beaucoup plus
particulier, à savoir celui des néologismes appartenant au langage juridique. Dans ce but, l’auteur
utilise une analyse comparative des termes juridiques néologiques de trois langues néo-latines: le
roumain, l’espagnol et le catalan. Si dans le langage spécialisé roumain on a beaucoup fait recours
à l’emprunt et au calque pour remplir un trou conceptuel ou terminologique, l’espagnol et le
catalan utilisent beaucoup plus la nominalisation et les terminologies parallèles. De toute façon,
l’auteur rappelle la nécessité que les traducteurs s’adaptent aux demandes de la globalisation.
Dans « Dificuldades lingüísticas y culturales en la traducción jurídica », le cinquième
chapitre, deux exigences sont identifiées comme indispensables au traducteur de tout texte, y
compris de texte juridique: comprendre et interpréter le texte-source et reconstruire, dans la
langue-cible, l’acte de communication à travers les moyens offerts par la langue du traducteur.
Même connaissant sa tâche, le traducteur se heurte à de nombreuses difficultés d’ordre
linguistique (polysémie, homonymie, paronymie etc.), terminologique et/ou conceptuel
(confusions, trous conceptuels etc.) et extratextuel (même si le Droit n’est pas un domaine fermé,
les différences existantes d’un système à l’autre impliquent la capacité du traducteur de s’adapter
et de diversifier ses stratégies de traduction pour mieux comprendre les systèmes étrangers).
Le sixième chapitre, « En torno a la argumentación y a las estrategias discursivas y de traducción »
est constitué de quatre parties dans lesquelles sont analysées les mécanismes d’argumentation et
leur rôle dans le processus de traduction. Il s’agit ici d’un rôle important, le texte traduit n’étant
que la reproduction, dans la langue d’arrivée, d’un discours appartenant à une langue et culture
étrangères. Ce serait spécialement le cas des traductions de discours politiques, là où la dimension
pragmatique de l’acte de traduire est fortement liée au contexte et à la culture du texte-source.
Le dernier chapitre dédié à la traduction spécialisée, « Estrategias actuales de la
comunicación profesional multilingüe y especializada y su uso en la inserción laboral », est plutôt
orienté vers la place de la traduction spécialisée et de ceux qui la pratiquent dans le contexte
européen actuel. La société en permanente évolution n’est pas un environnement stable pour les
jeunes traducteurs, et l’auteur se propose de leur donner quelques conseils pour qu’ils puissent s’y
adapter mieux. La rapidité du monde globalisé a fait que le concept de formation continue soit
marginalisé, cela menant à la diminution du nombre de candidats idéals. Et, compte tenu du
temps de formation réduit, l’auteur arrive à la conclusion que sur le marché du travail gagnent
ceux qui sont capables de se présenter le mieux possible devant leurs employeurs. Le chapitre
s’achève par avec quelques conseils concernant une éventuelle entrevue.
La deuxième partie englobe trois études sur la traduction littéraire, fondées sur la
perspective du texte traduit comme un produit de son époque.
La première étude (chapitre VIII), « Cultura y Literatura en la traducción. Los culturemas
mexicanos », introduit la problématique de l’Autre dans la traduction; traduire un texte signifie
traduire une mentalité et une culture étrangères, différentes, constituées d’une manière distincte de
celle du traducteur. Entre ce que l’on peut et ce que l’on ne peut pas traduire, le traducteur a deux
missions: respecter la culture de l’original et l’identité de l’auteur et rétablir la fonction de ce texte dans
sa propre langue; un véritable défi. Tout en admettant le caractère instable des culturèmes, l’auteur
propose une analyse des modalités de traduction utilisées dans la version roumaine de l’œuvre Un
dulce olor a muerte de Guillermo Arriaga. L’analyse comparative proposée a révélé comme
procédés préférés l’emprunt et l’adaptation, ce qui montre la grande distance qui existe entre les
deux cultures. L’auteur souligne qu’il est possible qu’en quelques années la version roumaine
nécessite d’être renouvelée de façon qu’elle respecte les tendances socioculturelles.
La deuxième étude, « Borges en el espejo de las traducciones. Una perspectiva rumana »,
fait une incursion dans les traductions en roumain du grand écrivain argentin Jorge Luis Borges.
Ce n’est pas seulement la place de Borges dans la littérature universelle, considère l’auteur, qui
lui a offert les motifs pour réserver un chapitre aux traductions roumaines de l’écrivain, mais
aussi l’apport de la création et de la richesse linguistiques de son œuvre aux études de traduction.
Par l’utilisation de la langue vernaculaire, tout comme par l’emploi de celle des écrivains
espagnols du Siècle d’Or, par l’admiration pour la culture arabe, et également pour la culture
bouddhiste, l’œuvre de Borges est un défi pour le traducteur, car elle unit des obstacles de langue
et de culture. Le grand nombre de traductions en roumain, toutefois, est l’épreuve que le discours
borgésien est universel et qu’on peut comprendre l’Autre par le biais de la traduction.
Le dernier chapitre du livre, « Arte contemporáneo y lenguajes de especialidad », analyse
un domaine complètement opposé à celui du discours juridique. Mais en laissant de côté cette
distinction, l’auteur y trouve en analysant les deux types de discours un élément commun:
l’emprunt, cette fois à l’anglais, de mots et structures qui vivent, dans le langage artistique, en
symbiose avec le lexique espagnol. Après une présentation des traits spécifiques du langage
spécialisé et leur application au langage artistique dans la première partie de ce chapitre, on passe
par une description des processus socioculturels qui ont facilité la pénétration du lexique anglais
dans les arts. Les moyens de communication modernes ont eu un grand apport à cette
transformation, notamment les réseaux sociaux apparus après 1990. Dans la dernière partie de ce
chapitre, l’auteur donne quelques exemples de lexèmes de ce genre et de processus linguistiques
appliqués dans leur formation: la composition (claroscuro), le calque sémantique (pattern),
l’emprunt lexical (grafiti) etc.
Dans sa conclusion, l’auteur souligne qu’elle souhaite que son livre soit un point de départ
pour de nouveaux débats; débats qui pourraient enrichir le vaste domaine de la traductologie d’un
côté interdisciplinaire. L’importance du traducteur, comme elle a essayé de la présenter, fait que
l’on arrive à comprendre le besoin (mais aussi le défi) de former de jeunes traducteurs. Dans cette
idée se révèle, bien sûr, la formation de professeur que l’auteur elle-même a.
De notre côté, on tient à apprécier le caractère théorique et appliqué du livre, qui ne
s’arrête pas à une énumération des problèmes spécifiques des différents types de traductions; les
analyses comparatives ont le rôle d’offrir des solutions ou au moins des propositions pour
résoudre ces problèmes. Tous ses commentaires peuvent être considérés comme des
enrichissements apportés au champ des études de la traduction, champ si vaste et encore instable.
Mária Medveczká, Neología de forma en la terminología de las tecnologías
de la información, Editura Universităţii din Bucureşti, Bucarest, 2013, 152 pp.
El libro es una introducción al estudio de la terminología de las tecnologías de la
información. Se centra en la creación de los nuevos términos de este campo, excluyendo por lo
tanto aquellos aparecidos por la atribución de un significado nuevo a una unidad léxica ya
existente o bien mediante el cambio de la categoría gramatical.
El libro se compone de introducción, tres capítulos, conclusión, bibliografía y un extenso
anexo. En el primer capítulo se indica el corpus que será analizado, los criterios de selección y el
modelo teórico utilizado. El corpus se basa en dos obras de referencia, publicadas con dos años de
diferencia: el Diccionario de Informática e Internet de Microsoft (2005) y el banco de datos
Terminology Data (2007), publicado por la misma empresa. Según ya lo hemos apuntado arriba,
el corpus analizado está compuesto solamente por nuevos términos entrados en la lengua, su
número exacto siendo 794, lo que, según los cálculos de la autora, representa un 79% de los
términos que pertenecen al ámbito de las tecnologías de la información.
El segundo capítulo se dedica al estudio de la estructura formal de estos neologismos. La
autora distingue dos grandes grupos, los neologismos univerbales y pluriverbales. De los
neologismos univerbales, el grupo más numeroso (43%) lo representan los préstamos directos, sin
cambios de forma significativos, como por ejemplo applet, cookie, web, byte, etc. Otro grupo
importante (32%) lo constituyen los derivados (desfragmentación, digitalizar, subárbol,
coprocesador, etc.). Menos frecuentes son la recomposición (15%), la abreviación (7%) o la
composición (4%). Cabe notar en cuanto a la recomposición (composición donde se usan
semiprefijos (= pseudoprefijos) o semisufijos (= pseudosufijos) de origen latino o griego) que no
se encuentran compuestos con semisufijos, por un lado, y que la lista de los semiprefijos es una
muy corta (incluye, por ejemplo, auto-, giga-, kilo-, mega-, uni-, etc.). A continuación sigue el
análisis de los términos pluriverbales, cuyo número alcanza 547, es decir un total de 69% de los
términos analizados. La autora examina estos neologismos a partir del número de constituyentes y
distingue entre neologismos de dos, tres o cuatro constituyentes. Los neologismos bimembres se
analizan luego desde el punto de vista de los componentes pertenecientes: dos sustantivos (sitio
web, menú en cascada, etc.) o bien sustantivo más adjetivo (cable cruzado, memoria expandida, etc.)
y según el modo de unión, sin preposición o con ella. Dentro de los términos trimembres se
Université de Bucarest, Faculté des Langues et Littératures Étrangères, daniela.
[email protected]
analizan además las diferentes combinaciones que se pueden dar entre el núcleo y sus adyacentes:
C1←(C2←C3), por ejemplo cifrado de clave pública o proveedor de servicios criptográficos;
C1←(C2→C3), como serían memoria de solo lectura o hacer doble clic y otras variantes. De
manera idéntica se analizan los neologismos formados por cuatro constituyentes, que presentan
mayor variedad de posibilidades de combinación, debido al número de constituyentes.
En el tercer capítulo se analizan los cambios formales que sufrieron algunos de estos
neologismos en el transcurso de dos años, entre 2005, fecha de publicación del Diccionario de
Informática e Internet de Microsoft y 2007, cuando parece Terminology Data. En algunos casos
se sustituye el adjetivo mediante una estructura preposicional; así, árbol temático se convierte en
árbol de temas, o correo vocal llega a ser correo de voz. Otros casos suponen la supresión del artículo
(placa del sistema → placa de sistema) o de la preposición de (estilo de base → estilo base).
También se puede añadir algún elemento, para eliminar la posibilidad de ambigüedad; de este
modo la nueva estructura de reconocimiento de escritura será reconocimiento de escritura a
mano; bomba de correo se convierte en bomba de correo electrónico.
El libro concluye con unas conclusiones generales y una extensa bibliografía. Sigue
después, como anexo, una lista completa de todos los términos que han constituido el corpus de
este trabajo junto a su equivalente inglés, siguiendo los criterios de ordenación ejemplificados en
el análisis.
La obra de Mária Medveczká, escrita de una manera asequible y amena, puede resultar de
real interés para un público amplio: estudiantes de español, profesores, especialistas y traductores,
así como a cualquier persona interesada en los lenguajes especializados y la terminología.
Alessandro Zuliani, Politiche e pianificazioni linguistiche in Bessarabia:
romenità, russificazione, moldovenismo, Editura Universităţii din Bucureşti,
Bucarest, 2014, 128 pp.
Por su carácter fuertemente polémico, la cuestión de la “lengua moldava” ha atraído, a lo
largo del tiempo, el interés de muchos estudiosos rumanos y extranjeros. A partir del año 1812,
durante la época de la ocupación rusa y soviética, la así llamada “lengua moldava” fue propagada
como lengua de la población de Moldavia y Besarabia, por obvias razones políticas, ideológicas y
propagandísticas. El “moldavo” fue inventado por los lingüistas rusos para servir los intereses
políticos del Imperio ruso y, luego, de la Unión Soviética, que querían ahondar las diferencias
culturales y lingüísticas que existían entre la población de Rumania y la de Moldavia. Cabe
mencionar que el término se emplea en las obras de los cronistas moldavos, pero para referirse al
rumano y no a una variedad distinta de éste. La estructura gramatical y el léxico fundamental del
rumano y del “moldavo” son iguales.
En su obra Le origini delle lingue neolatine, al hablar del rumano, en una nota muy
amplia, el romanista Carlo Tagliavini se refiere a la cuestión de la lengua “moldava” y afirma que
no se puede hablar de dos lenguas romances distintas, es decir el rumano y el moldavo, en el
espacio balcánico-oriental y que el moldavo es sólo una variedad del dacorrumano. Tras pasar
revista a la bibliografía más representativa en la época sobre el moldavo, el romanista italiano
Universidad de Bucarest, Facultad de Lenguas y Literaturas Extranjeras, Departamento de
Lingüística Románica, Lenguas y Literaturas Ibero-románicas e Italiano,
concluye de manera terminante que el moldavo es, en realidad, la lengua rumana escrita con
caracteres cirílicos. Además de Tagliavini, la unidad lingüística de los idiomas hablados en el
espacio oriental ha sido defendida por muchos lingüistas, que apoyan su teoría en las similitudes
estructurales y en la descendencia del rumano común.
El presente estudio de Alessandro Zuliani es su tesis doctoral que defendió en 2013 y
reitera la cuestión del “moldavo”, “problema complesso, spinoso, a tutt’oggi irrisolto e oggetto di
dibattiti e polemiche nella società moldava contemporanea”, como afirma el mismo autor (p. 9).
Además, el volumen constituye una lectura al día muy provechosa sobre las políticas de
planificación lingüística desarrolladas por las autoridades zaristas y, después, soviéticas.
Como se puede desprender de la introducción del volumen, el autor se propone analizar
las políticas sociales y lingüísticas desarrolladas en Besarabia a partir de 1812, en que la provincia
pasó al Imperio Ruso, hasta el año 1989. El carácter plurilingüe y multicultural de la región que se
encuentra entre los ríos Prut y Dniéster, como también las aspiraciones actuales de la República
de Moldavia de adherirse a las estructuras euro-atlánticas fueron los motivos por los que Zuliani
se dedicó en su tesis a escribir sobre este asunto lingüístico.
El volumen se compone de una introducción y tres partes complementarias. Cada capítulo
se refiere a los tres períodos distintos de la historia de Besarabia: “La Bessarabia tra Russia e
Romania: storia, società e politiche linguistiche dal 1812 al 1918”, “La Repubblica Autonoma
Socialista Sovietica Moldova: politiche e pianificazioni linguistiche nel periodo interbellico”,
“Le politiche linguistiche nella Repubblica Socialista Sovietica Moldava”. El autor dedica su
primer capítulo a la época zarista (1812-1918), en la que tuvo lugar un proceso de desvinculación
cultural y lingüística del Principado de Moldavia. Este proceso coincide con la modernización de
la lengua rumana literaria y con la creación del estado rumano. Las autoridades zaristas trataron
de imponer la cultura y la lengua rusa con el propósito de integrar la población de Besarabia en el
Imperio. Zuliani proporciona datos y descripciones amplias y detalladas sobre las políticas de
rusificación, que tenían como propósito, entre otras, mantener un analfabetismo elevado y
deportaciones de población.
El segundo capítulo del libro se refiere al período de entreguerras, durante el cual la
provincia vuelve al Reino de Rumania. No obstante, la población rumana que aún vive en los
territorios ocupados por la Unión Soviética hará parte de la República Autónoma Socialista
Soviética Moldava. Este período se caracteriza por el intento de los soviéticos de crear la así
llamada “lengua moldava”. Aunque durante este período a las repúblicas que formaban la Unión
Soviética se les concedía el derecho de emplear su lengua, Zuliani muestra que el derecho era sólo
formal y representaba un instrumento que servía para imponer la ideología comunista.
Igualmente, los bolcheviques intentaron ahondar las diferencias entre el idioma hablado por la
población de la República Autónoma Socialista Soviética Moldava y el hablado en Rumania para
crear una lengua “moldava” literaria. Para conseguirlo, las autoridades adoptan varias medidas
sociales, culturales y lingüísticas, pero que afectan a la lengua de manera superficial. Así pues, el
idioma hablado en Moldavia dejó de escribirse con caracteres latinos y volvió a utilizar el alfabeto
cirílico. Esta situación se mantuvo hasta el 1989, cuando las autoridades decidieron volver al
alfabeto latino. La reforma de la norma ortográfica, la edición de una nueva gramática, los
préstamos rusos, ucranianos, etc. que se adoptaron, no alteraron la esencia y la estructura
gramatical de la lengua rumana hablada por la población moldava. Para que lector se percate de
los cambios léxicos, Zuliani enumera unos cuantos calcos que mencionamos a continuación:
slovari, sîngurzburător, limboştiinţî, anoscriiri, acrunăscător, unofelnic, etc. Además, en lo que
concierne al contexto social e histórico de estos cambios, el autor apunta datos significativos,
explicaciones, textos, documentos y mapas.
La siguiente parte, el último capítulo del estudio, aborda el período posterior a la segunda
conflagración mundial hasta el 1989, pero describe, igualmente, la situación social y lingüística
actual de la República de Moldavia, caracterizada por el mismo autor como “complessa e non
priva di problemi”. La polémica a la “lengua moldava” aún se mantiene viva, ya que la
Constitución adoptada en 1994 consagra como lengua oficial del Estado el “moldavo”. Eso
muestra claramente la línea de la política nacional, que conlleva “prese di distanza dalla Romania,
al nuovo processo di moldavizzazione della società a tutti i niveli, al mancato riconoscimento
della corrispondenza etnolinguistica romeno-moldava” (p. 118). El autor concluye que “la
definizione di lingua moldava è in concreto sparita dal resto della Romania ed è utilizzata solo in
dialettologia per individuare le parlate orientali di dacoromeno” (p. 119) y que la “lingua moldava
inventata dai linguisti di Stalin negli ani Venti di secolo scorso” es un “idioma artificiale […]
uscito dagli ambiti strettamente burocratici dell´amministrazione statale” (p. 119).
El trabajo de Zuliani se destaca por el material ilustrativo muy amplio, incluyendo mapas,
documentos, fotos y tablas, que completan los argumentos lingüísticos. Además, al final del
volumen, el lector tiene una bibliografía extensa y variada, en la que se basa el análisis de Zuliani.
Se trata de más de 130 estudios y libros recientes que abarcan áreas como historia, geografía,
lingüística, etc.
En conclusión, además del asunto tratado, la rigurosidad científica recomienda el estudio
de Alessandro Zuliani como una lectura imprescindible tanto para los lingüistas y los estudiosos
de la cuestión del “moldavo”, como para los apasionados por la lengua rumana y su evolución, en
general, y por la cuestión del “moldavo”, en especial. La lectura de este volumen puede resultar
fascinante y útil y, además, representa un importante punto de partida tanto para los demás
investigadores que se propongan adentrarse en este asunto que implica polémicas lingüísticas,
históricas y, sobre todo, políticas.
Universidad de Bucarest, Facultad de Lenguas y Literaturas Extranjeras, Departamento de
Lingüística Románica, Lenguas y Literaturas Ibero-románicas e Italiano,
[email protected]
CRISTINA BĂLAN holds a PhD in philology from the University of Bucharest. Her
dissertation, “Adaptarea împrumuturilor în limba japoneză”, focuses on the phonology of
Japanese loanword adaptation. Her research interests include phonology, optimality theory,
feature geometry, sociolinguistics and Japanese linguistics. She has published several papers in
Bucharest Working Papers in Linguistics and in conference proceedings.
VLAD-VICTOR CUCU-OANCEA received his PhD in Philology from the University
of Bucharest in 2015, with the thesis entitled “Etymological doublets in German and Romanian.
Aspects of a contrasting analysis”. His research is primarily concerned with lexicology and
etymology. He is the author of papers published in Zeitschrift der Germanisten Rumäniens and of
contributions to conference proceedings and edited volumes.
FLAVIA FLOREA is Lecturer in the Department of French language and literature at the
University of Bucharest, where she teaches French morpho-syntax, the history of the French
Language and Old French. She defended her PhD dissertation entitled “Anaphore et ellipse – un
phénomène à la croisée de la syntaxe, de la sémantique et de la rhétorique” in 2007. Her research
interests include theoretical and applied linguistics, philosophical logic and epistemology. She is
the author of Manual de limba engleză pe texte biblice, patristice şi liturgice (2003, Bucharest).
She has also published papers in Revue Roumaine de Linguistique, Analele Universităţii
Bucureşti. Limbi şi literaturi străine, Studia Universitatis Babeş-Bolyai Philologia, has
contributed to several edited volumes, and has co-edited three volumes.
JING DENG is Lecturer of English and Linguistics at Nanjing University of Science and
Technology in Nanjing. She is currently conducting post-doctoral research at Fudan University in
Shanghai. Her research focuses on cross-cultural pragmatics, pragmatics of the Chinese language,
the grammar-pragmatics and sociolinguistics interface. Her publications include articles in
Linguistica Atlantica, Bucharest Working Papers in Linguistics and Analele Universităţii din
Bucureşti. Limbi şi literaturi străine.
MARCIN KUDŁA received his PhD degree in linguistics from the University of
Rzeszów in 2015. He is Lecturer in the Chair of Theoretical Linguistics and History of Language
at the University of Rzeszów. He is the author of several contributions to conference proceedings
as well as of the monograph A Study of Attributive Ethnonyms in the History of English with
Special Reference to Foodsemy (forthcoming). His academic interests are diachronic linguistics,
anthropological linguistics and cognitive semantics. His current research focuses on ethnic
otherness and stereotypes.
COSTIN-VALENTIN OANCEA is Assistant Professor of English linguistics at
“Ovidius” University in Constanta. He holds a PhD in English Linguistics from the University of
Bucharest. His main research interests include variationist sociolinguistics, interactional
sociolinguistics, sociophonetics, and varieties of English. His publications include Language and
gender-related variation in English and Romanian (2010, Saarbrücken), articles in Ethnologia
Balkanica, Bucharest Working Papers in Linguistics, Studii de ştiinţă şi cultură, Analele
Universitatii Ovidius. Seria filologie, and contributions to conference proceedings.
MARCIN R. ODELSKI defended his PhD dissertation in the area of ethnolinguistics at
the University of Humanities and Economics in Łodz. As a member (since 2011) of the Committee
for Philology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Wrocław Branch, he has been engaged in numerous
initiatives connected with the revitalization of the Kashubian language. In 2014 he organized an
‘Art & Language Contest’ entitled “Fall with the Kashubian word in the background” in which over two
hundred fifty primary school students took part (nine primary schools in the Kashubian region).
He has authored several contributions to conference proceedings, on Kashubian and on Welsh.
ANDRADA PĂRCHIŞANU is currently enrolled in the Doctoral School “Languages and
Cultural Identities” of the Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, University of Bucharest.
She is writing a dissertation on Kiezdeutsch in relation to other different speech forms in Germany. Her
publications include contributions to edited volumes and to conference proceedings.
SABINA POPÂRLAN is Lecturer at the University of Bucharest, Department of Oriental
Languages and Literatures, where she teaches courses on Hindi language and culture. She
received her PhD in philology in 2009 from the University of Bucharest. Her research focuses on
Hindi linguistics, mostly from a typological perspective and comparing Hindi to French and
Romanian, but also on Indian culture. Her publications include L’anaphore verbale. Domaine
typologique: français, hindi, roumain (2010, Bucharest) and articles in Revue roumaine de
linguistique and Analele Universităţii din Bucureşti. Limbi şi literaturi străine.
IRINA STOICA is currently enrolled in the Doctoral School “Language and Cultural
Identites” of the Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, University of Bucharest. The
focus or her PhD dissertation is the syntax and the semantics of Manner of Speaking Verbs in
English and Romanian. Her research interests also include tense-aspect morphology. She has
published several contributions to conference proceedings.
Pentru o cooperare eficientă între editori, autori şi casa editorială, autorii de articole şi
de recenzii sunt rugaţi să respecte următoarele norme:
• Articolele pot fi trimise în engleză, franceză, română, italiană, spaniolă, germană.
• Articolele trebuie să fie trimise pe suport electronic (e-mail sau CD) în format
WORD (.doc or .rtf).
• Articolele trimise trebuie să conţină numele şi afilierea instituţională a autorilor, ca şi
adresa de e-mail. Autorii sunt rugaţi să predea şi o scurtă prezentare auto-bio-bibliografică
(cca. 10-15 rânduri).
• Articolele trebuie să fie însoţite de un rezumat (10-15 rânduri), urmat de 5-7
cuvinte-cheie, ambele în engleză (font Times New Roman, corp 9, la un rând).
• Toate articolele şi recenziile vor fi redactate cu diacritice; dacă sunt folosite fonturi
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cuvintele-cheie (Times New Roman, corp 9, italic) urmează rezumatului.
• Notele trebuie să apară în josul paginii (cu font Times New Roman, 9, la un rând).
• Trimiterile bibliografice, indicarea sursei pentru citate – se vor indica în text, după
următoarea convenţie: (Autor an:(spaţiu)pagină) − (Pop 2001: 32); (Pop/Ionescu 2001: 32).
• Se pot utiliza în text abrevieri, sigle (SMCF, vol. II, p. 20) care vor fi întregite la
bibliografia finală, după cum urmează:
SMCF – Studii şi cercetări privitoare la formarea cuvintelor în limba română, vol. II,
Bucureşti, Editura Academiei Române, 1961.
LR – Limba română etc....
RITL – Revista de istorie şi teorie literară etc....
RRL – Revue roumaine de linguistique
• Bibliografia va fi indicată după următorul model:
(1) Pentru cărţi, volume, monografii se indică numele autorului, prenumele, anul apariţiei,
titlul cu italice, editura, oraşul (eventual volumul sau numărul de volume). În cazul în
care una dintre componentele trimiterii bibliografice lipseşte, se vor folosi normele
consacrate − [s.l.], [s.a.]. La volumele colective se va indica îndrumătorul/coordonatorul/
editorul prin (coord.) sau (ed.)/(eds.) după nume şi prenume (prescurtat). În cazul
în care există mai mulţi autori/coordonatori/editori, doar primul nume va fi inversat
(Zafiu, R., C. Stan...).
Coteanu, Ion, 1982, Gramatica de bază a limbii române, Editura Albatros, Bucureşti.
Riegel, Martin, Jean-Claude Pellat, René Rioul, 1999, Grammaire méthodique du
français, Presses Universitaires de France, Paris.
Zafiu, R., C. Stan, Al. Nicolae (eds.), 2007, Studii lingvistice. Omagiu profesoarei Gabriela
Pană Dindelegan, la aniversare, Editura Universităţii din Bucureşti, Bucureşti.
(2) Pentru articole din volume colective se indică numele autorului, prenume, an, titlu
între ghilimele, urmat de in + prenume (prescurtat), numele editorului/editorilor
(ed./eds.), titlul volumului în italice, editura, oraşul, pagini
Zamboni, A., 1998, „Cambiamento di lingua o cambiamento di sistema? Per un
bilancio cronologico della transizione”, in J. Herman (ed.), La tranzitione
dal latino alle lingue romanze. Atti della Tavola Rotonda di Linguistica
Storica, Università Ca’Foscari di Venezia, 14-15 giugno 1996, Tübingen,
Niemeyer, pp. 99-127.
Portine, Henri, 2012, « De la synonymie à la reformulation », in S. Berbinski, D. Dobre,
A. Velicu (éds.), Langages(s) et traduction, Editura Universităţii din Bucureşti,
Bucureşti, pp. 47-62.
(3) Pentru articole din reviste se indică numele autorului, prenumele autorului, anul,
titlul articolului între ghilimele, urmat de in + numele revistei cu italice (neabreviat),
volumul/tomul, numărul, pagini. În cazul în care există mai mulţi autori, doar
primul nume va fi inversat.
Fischer, Iancu, 1968, « Remarques sur le traitement de la diphtongue au en latin
vulgaire », în Revue roumaine de linguistique, XIII, nr. 5, pp. 417-420.
Cornea, Paul, 1994, „Noţiunea de autor: statut şi mod de folosinţă”, în Limbă şi
literatură, vol. III-IV, pp. 27-35.
Sorea, Daniela, Alexandra Stoica, 2011, “Linguistic Approaches to Verbal and Visual
Puns”, in Analele Universităţii Bucureşti. Limbi şi Literaturi Străine,
anul LX-2011, nr. 1, pp. 111-127.
Toate referinţele bibliografice din text trebuie să apară în bibliografia finală; pentru
mai multe detalii despre normele de editare (“Guidelines for authors”), se poate consulta
adresa :
Articolele trimise vor fi discutate de o comisie de specialişti în domenii filologice:
lingvistică, literatură, studii culturale, studii de traductologie.
Articolele trebuie trimise la următoarele adrese de e-mail: [email protected],
[email protected]
The authors of the articles and book reviews are requested to observe the following
publication guidelines:
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• The articles should be submitted electronically (by e-mail or CD) in a WORD format
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author’s e-mail address. The authors are requested to supply an auto-bio-bibliographical
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• The articles should contain an abstract (10-15 lines), followed by 5-7 Keywords
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SMCF – Studii şi cercetări privitoare la formarea cuvintelor în limba română, vol. II,
Bucureşti, Editura Academiei Române, 1961.
LR – Limba română etc....
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1. Books
Basic Format: Author: last name, first name (only the name ofthe first author is
inverted), year of publication, Title of Work, publisher, location.
Coteanu, Ion, 1982, Gramatica de bază a limbii române, Editura Albatros, Bucureşti.
Riegel, Martin, Jean-Claude Pellat, René Rioul, 1999, Grammaire méthodique
du français, Presses Universitaires de France, Paris.
2. Edited Books Basic Format: last name of the editor, first name, (ed./eds.), year of
publication, Title of Work, publisher, location (only the name of the first editor inverted).
Zafiu, R., C. Stan, Al. Nicolae (eds.), 2007, Studii lingvistice. Omagiu profesoarei
Gabriela Pană Dindelegan, la aniversare, Bucureşti, Editura Universităţii
din Bucureşti.
3. Articles or Chapters in Edited Book
Basic Format: last name of the author, first name, year of publication, “Title of
article/chapter”, in name of the editor/ editors (ed./eds.), in Title of Work, publisher,
location, pages of chapter.
Zamboni, A., 1998, „Cambiamento di lingua o cambiamento di sistema? Per un
bilancio cronologico della transizione”, in J. Herman (ed.), La tranzitione
dal latino alle lingue romanze. Atti della Tavola Rotonda di Linguistica
Storica, Università Ca’Foscari di Venezia, 14-15 giugno 1996, Tübingen,
Niemeyer, pp. 99-127.
Portine, Henri, 2012, « De la synonymie à la reformulation », in S. Berbinski, D. Dobre,
A. Velicu (éds.), Langages(s) et traduction, Editura Universităţii din Bucureşti,
Bucureşti, pp. 47-62.
4. Articles in Journals
Basic Format: last name of the author, first name (only the name of the first
author is inverted), year of publication, “Title of the article”, in Title of Periodical,
volume number (issue number), pages.
Fischer, Ion, 1968, «Remarques sur le traitement de la diphtongue au en latin
vulgaire », in Revue Roumaine de Linguistique, XIII, nr. 5, pp. 417-420.
Cornea, Paul, 1994, „Noţiunea de autor: statut şi mod de folosinţă”, în Limbă şi
literatură, vol. III-IV, pp. 27-35.
Sorea, Daniela, Alexandra Stoica, 2011, “Linguistic Approaches to Verbal and Visual
Puns”, in Analele Universităţii Bucureşti. Limbi şi Literaturi Străine,
anul LX-2011, nr. 1, pp. 111-127.
All the bibliographical references should appear in the final bibliography. For some more
details (Guidelines for authors), visit also:
All the papers will be peer-reviewed by a committee of specialists in different
philological fields: linguistics, literature, cultural studies, translation studies.
The first version of the articles should be submitted to the e-mail addresses:
[email protected], [email protected]
Tiparul s-a executat sub c-da nr. 947 / 2016 la
Tipografia Editurii Universităţii din Bucureşti