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Rules and Exceptions

Using Exceptions for Empirical Research in Theoretical Linguistics


Christopher Beedham, Warwick Danks and Ether Soselia

This book assembles a collection of papers first presented at the Summer School and Conference on the Method of Lexical Exceptions held at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, 2-8 September 2007, which explored an area of linguistics now referred to as ‘the method of exceptions and their correlations’.
Recognition of the work of Saussure was impeded during his lifetime by the Junggrammatiker (Neogrammarians) and their view of exceptions, but this book incorporates exceptions into a Saussurean approach. Exceptions to rules are treated here not as something wilful and inexplicable, but as a clue to what has gone wrong in the original rule.
The topics covered are the passive, irregular verbs, morphology, transitivity, light verb constructions, resultative verbs, compound nouns, phonology, colour terms, historical-comparative reconstruction, language teaching, Saussurean structuralism and the approach of the Junggrammatiker to exceptions. The languages addressed are English, Arabic, Georgian, Turkish, Russian, the Cushitic languages and German. Grammar and linguistics are usually thought of as purely theoretical disciplines, but this book demonstrates how to use exceptions to conduct ‘experiments’ in the manner of the natural sciences, which leads empirically to better theory.


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Rusudan Asatiani 7 A Cognitive Approach to Exceptional Ditransitive Verb Forms in Georgian


Abstract Language is a system that is defined by general models of linguistic structuring of the world. Exceptions are outside such prototypical models. They are created by specific cog- nitive processes developed on the basis of the peculiar restrictions, hierarchical relations, competitive and/or alignment constraints which are characteristic for the language system (LS) as a whole. We assume: the restrictions, relations or constraints are important internal features of the LS; their combinations are complex and specific; this creates an illusion of the exception being ‘outside the LS’. In order to understand the logics of the exceptions it seems ef fective to employ a cognitive approach. We need to build clear conceptual struc- tures for every concrete exceptional pattern. Through such an analysis it can be clarified that the exceptions are regular elements of the LS. The paper examines such a theoretical approach on the analysis of so called exceptional ditransitive verb forms in Georgian. Introduction: The structure of the Georgian verb Georgian verb forms represent various grammatical categories. The prin- ciple of agglutination along with inf lexion builds a string of morphemes and morphology mirrors the system of very complex and complicated verb categories. Structurally a Georgian verb may incorporate the follow- ing elements: (1) PREVERB(S) (2) S/O AGREEMENT PREFIX (-v-/-m-/-g-/-gv-/-h-,-s-,-o-) (3) VERSION VOWEL (-a-/-i-/-u-/-e-) 126 Rusudan Asatiani (4) ROOT (5) PASSIVE FORMANT (-d-) or CAUSATIVE SUFFIX (-in-/-evin-) (6) THEMATIC SUFFIX (-eb-/-ob-/-av-/-am-/-op-/-i-/0) (7) IMPERFECT MARKER (-d-/-od-) (8) TENSE/MOOD VOWEL (-a-/-i-/-o-/-e-) (9) SIII AGREEMENT SUFFIX (-s-/-a-/-o-/-en-/-an-/-n-/-nen-/-es) (10) PLURAL...

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