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Rules and Exceptions

Using Exceptions for Empirical Research in Theoretical Linguistics


Edited By 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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Манана Каркашадзе 8 Грузинский медиоактивный глагол


Abstract The Georgian Medioactive Verb. Manana Karkashadze, Tbilisi State University, Georgia Georgian medioactives are intransitive, atelic verbs which express a process or action which has no other perspective than that of continuous progression. The tense paradigms of Georgian medioactives are usually regarded as transitive ref lexive verbs, and the possessive prefix i- present in the morphological structure of medioactives and transitive ref lexives is likewise regarded as a ref lexive prefix. In the present article the structural-semantic fea- tures of Georgian medioactives and transitive ref lexives are defined by criteria of Diathesis Theory. It is shown that medioactives and transitive ref lexives are functionally dif ferent linguistic units because of their dif ferent relations with lexically correlated active construc- tions, and that the prefix i- is not a ref lexive prefix. Data from dif ferent languages show that one way to represent an atelic process in the verb is to use a possessive marker to indicate that the process belongs to the subject. Languages in which adjectives do not constitute an independent lexical class express attributive meaning by means of an atelic intransitive verb. In such languages the same constructions have sometimes predicative, sometimes attributive meaning, and only by looking at the context is it possible to define which meaning it is. If a language expresses an atelic process and attributive meaning by means of an intransitive verb, then the subject is to the atelic process as the possessor is to the quality possessed. Therefore the function of the possessive...

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