Foundations of body-part grammar

Ch. 2: Syntax

Christian Lehmann

Universität Erfurt

www.christianlehmann.eu

Introduction

Purpose

  • compile the set of grammatical constructions conditioned by body-part expressions
  • systematize these constructions on a functional basis
  • illustrate the variation from diverse languages

Focus on syntax.

Complete version:

http://www.christianlehmann.eu/publ/lehmann_body.pdf

Body part as a prototypical concept

  1. The whole for body parts is typically a human being, more precisely, a person.
    Secondarily, it may be an animal or even a plant.
    Parts of things may, in a language, be in the same grammatical class as these.
  2. A body part is typically a solid irreplaceable component of the body. Body parts which are typical on this dimension are vital.
    Secondarily, the concept comprises replaceable objects like feathers, and figures marked on the body like parting, wrinkles and scars.
  3. A body part is typically an individual object.
    Secondarily, masses like body liquids and excretions may count as body parts.
  4. A body part is a physical object.
    However, immaterial entities related to a person may be in the same grammatical class, like voice, breath, soul, life force, mind, name, shadow, footprint etc.

Differentiation along these dimensions leads to heterogeneity of the class.

Meronymy

The meronymic relation between P and W is susceptible to two interpretations:

  1. It may be interpreted as a possessive relation such that the person (or animal) is the possessor of the body part.
    This relation is asymmetric and typically coded in a possessed nominal with the body part as its head.
  2. It may be interpreted as a sympathetic relation such that whatever affects the part necessarily affects the whole, and what affects the whole necessarily affects one of its parts.
    This relation is almost symmetric and typically coded by a relation of syntactic phora between the person and its body part.

Empathy hierarchy

SAPNon-SAP
humannon-human
animateinanimate
individualmass
objectplace
entityproposition

Semantic properties

  • W is generally higher up on the empathy hierarchy than P.
  • Semantic relationality: relation to a possessor of a certain kind is inherent.
  • Possessor has control over possessum.
  • Body part is by itself sufficiently individuated in the discourse.

Structural reflections of inalienability

Derelationalization
E14a.n-wi’
TzutujilPOSS.1.SG-head
my head
 b.wii’-aaj
head-DEREL
(the/a) head
Relationalization
E15a.ake-’u
Mekeomouth-POSS.1.SG
my mouth
b.ake-mu
mouth-POSS.2.SG
your mouth
E16a.e-’ungaanga
MekeoREL-POSS.1.SGcanoe
my canoe
b.e-mungaanga
 REL-POSS.2.SGcanoe
your canoe

Structural reflections of inalienability

Possessive classes

E19a.k-hnyaʔs-aʔ-ke
MohawkA.1.SG-throat-NM-LOC
(on) my throat
 b.aw-eri
U.1.SG-heart
my heart
E21a.inchi'
YucatecPOSS.1.SGmouth
my mouth
 b.*lechi'=o'
DEMmouth=D2
that mouth
E22a.intaamn-el
YucatecPOSS.1.SGliver-REL
my liver
 b.letaamn=o'
DEMliver=D2
that liver

Spatial and instrumental functions

Typical body parts are essentially determined by two kinds of function:

  1. They bear a meronymic relation to their next inclusive whole and bear contiguous spatial relations to each other.
  2. They are controlled by their whole and may serve it as an instrument.

Body-part constructions

Basic construction types

  1. Constructions dedicated to the possessive relation:
    1. attribution of the possessive relation to the body part
    2. attribution of the possessive relation to its whole.
  2. Attribution of property to body part.
  3. Constructions involving a body part as participant
    1. whole is possessor
    2. whole is affected
    3. whole is local dependent
    4. whole is actor.

Attribution of possession

Constructions of attribution of possession
propositional function
possessive relation
attributed to    ╲
reference predication
possessum possessed nominal
W’s P
predication of belonging
P belongs to W
possessor proprietive nominal
W (provided) with P
ascription of possession
W has P
E27a.the professor’s beard
b.the beard is the professor’s
E28a.the professor with the beard
a.the professor has a beard

Part is bearer of possessive relation

E29uti'a'lkúulumlek'u'k'um=a'
Yucatec[POSS.3propertyPOSS.1.PLturkey]DEMfeather=D1
this feather belongs to our turkey
E30?inti'a'llepoolhe'l=o'
YucatecPOSS.1.SGpropertyDEMheadPRSV=D2
that head is mine

Whole is bearer of possessive relation

E31lemáakyaants'oyti'=e'
YucatecDEMperson[EXISTscarLOC]=D3
the man who has a scar
E34yaanuxikintuunichyaanuxikinche'
YucatecEXISTPOSS.3earstoneEXISTPOSS.3eartree
the stones have ears, the trees have ears (i.e. they can hear)
E35hachyaanuxikin
YucatecreallyEXISTPOSS.3ear
he has fine ears

Ascription of property to body part

  1. W's P is the bearer of the ascription
  2. W is the bearer of the ascription
E37a.Linda’s legs are long.
b.Linda has long legs.

Part is bearer of ascription

E38chowak-takumúuk'yooklex-ch'úuppaal=e'
Yucateclong-ADJ.PLPOSS.3strengthfootDEMF-girl=D3
‘the girl has long legs’ (lit.: long are the legs of that girl)

Ascription of property to body part

Whole is bearer of ascription

E41j'ailescheveuxnoirs
FrenchIhave\1.SGDEF:PLhair\PLblack:PL
I have black hair
E45Sylvieestjoliedesyeux
FrenchSylviaispretty:Fof:PLeye\PL
Sylvia has pretty eyes (lit.: is pretty of the eyes)

Ascription of property to body part

Condensation of property-bearing body-part term

E48lafilleauxcheveuxnoirs
FrenchDEF:F.SGgirl(F)DAT.DEF.PLhair\PLblack:PL
the girl with black hair
E47proséphēpódasōkùsAkhilleús
A.Greekproffer:AOR.3.SG[[foot(M):ACC.PLfast:NOM.SG.M]Achilles(M):NOM.SG]
‘swift of foot Achilles spoke’ (Homer Il. A, 84)
E49'ōkú+pous
A.Greekswift+foot(M):NOM.SG
swift-footed

Participant roles of body parts

Hierarchy of semanto-syntactic functions
levelfunction
1actor
2undergoer
3indirectus
4place ~ instrument | possessor
Functions of part and whole
part is
whole is   ╲
undergoerplaceinstrument
possessorsituation involves WP’s PUsituation happens on WP’s PL
indirectussituation affects PU to WIdsituation extends to WId on PL
undergoersituation affects WU, to wit PUsituation affects WU on PL
actorWA controls PUWA acts with PIs

Part and whole in analogous functions

E56malikikalaka-npakati-rningirntinyuntulu-rlu
WarlpiridogADMON-SBJ.2.SGtread-NPSTtailyou-ERG
thou art liable to step on the dog’s tail
E57kurdu-ngkuka-jurdaka-ngkupaka-rningaju
Warlpirichild-ERGPRS-OBJ.1.SGhand-ERGstrike-NPSTI(ABS)
the child is striking me with its hand
E58ngaju0-rna-rlardakamaliki-kiyarnka-jangirnti-ki
WarlpiriI(ABS)PRF-SBJ.1.SG-IO.3handdog-DATseize-PSTtail-DAT
I grabbed the dog by the tail with my hand

Incorporation

  1. Situation affects W, to wit P
    1. without actor: E59
    2. with actor: E60
  2. W controls P: E61
  3. W acts with P: E62
E59a-bikbik+bakme-ng
MayaliSBJ.1-rib+crack-PST.PFV
I cracked my ribs
E60bamurrua-godj+bo-m
Mayalimagpie.goose1>3-head+shoot-PST.PFV
I shot the magpie goose in the head
E61hhe’+chi’-nah-ih
YucatecPFVopen+mouth-CMPL-ABS.3
he nattered
E62t=ukoh+ho'l-t-ah
YucatecPFV=SBJ.3push+head-TRR-CMPL
he headed it [the ball]

Whole is possessor

Whole is possessive dependent of undergoer

(XA) [ PU WP ]

E64y-a’l-ahutabukal
C.YucatecSBJ.3-say-CMPLSBJ.3tie(SUBJ)POSS.3neck
he said he would hang himself

Whole is possessive dependent of local dependent

(XA) [ PL WP ]

E66there is pain in my heart
E67she stepped on my foot

Whole is affected

Sympathetic situation

Affectedness of part and whole
part is
whole is  ╲
undergoerplace
indirectussituation affects PU to WIdsituation extends to WId on PL
undergoersituation affects WU, to wit PUsituation affects WU on PL

Whole is indirectus

Whole is indirectus, part is undergoer

(XA) WId PU

E72thumòsmoiéssutaiḗdē
A.Greeksoul(M):NOM.SGhoweverI:DATyearn:MID.3.SGalready
ēd'állōnhetárōn
andother:GEN.PL.Mcompanion(M):GEN.PL
‘my mind is already yearning as well as my companions'’ (Hom. Od. 484f)
E73a.nízōsoi(tā̀s)kheîras
A.Greekwash:PRS.1.SGthou:DAT[ DEF:ACC.PL.Fhand(F):ACC.PL ]
I wash your hands
 b.nizō(tā̀s)kheîrassou
wash:PRS.1.SG[ DEF:ACC.PL.Fhand(F):ACC.PLthou:GEN ]
I wash your hands

Whole is indirectus

Whole is indirectus, part is local dependent

(XA) WId PL

E78mihi'stlanternainmanu
LatinI:DATislantern(F):NOM.SGinhand(F):ABL.SG
‘I have a lantern in hand’ (Pl. Am. 406)
E80sese ...Caesariadpedesproiecerunt
LatinRFL.ACCCaesar:DAT.SGatfoot(M):ACC.PLforward:throw:PRF:3.PL
‘they threw themselves at Caesar’s feet’ (Caes. BG 1, 31)

Whole is undergoer

Whole and part are undergoers

(XA) WU PU

Double subject construction

E82bidbid-gadyanga-nga-rnbilyurr(ngayu)
Yawuruthrob-INTNS1-be-IPFVheart(ABS)I.ABS
my heart is beating hard

Whole is subject, part is object

E87a.jemesuiscassélajambe
FrenchImeambrokenDEF:Fleg(F)
I broke a leg
 b.j'aicassémajambe
Ihave\1.SGbrokenmy(F)leg(F)
I broke my (peg) leg
E88kámnōtòusophthalmòus
A.Greeksuffer:1.SGDEF:ACC.PL.Meye(M):ACC.PL
I suffer from the eyes

Whole is undergoer

Whole and part are undergoers

Incorporation of affected body-part term

E89at-nabat-gamu-ji-yn
WarraySBJ.1.SG-hand-stiff-INCH-PST.PFV
‘my hand is stiff’ (lit.: I hand-stiffened)

Whole is undergoer

Double undergoer with actor

E90an-bamat-bu-mnal
WarrayCL.III-headSBJ.1.SG-hit-PST.PFVman
I hit the man on the head
E94nízōsetā̀skheîras
A.Greekwash:PRS.1.SGthou:ACCDEF:ACC.PL.Fhand(F):ACC.PL
I wash your hands

Incorporation of body-part noun

E95a.s-oβáa-yos-éy
TupinambáPOSS.3-faceA.1.SG-U.3.INAN-wash
I washed his face
 b.a-s-oβá-éy
A.1.SG-U.3.AN-face-wash
I face-washed him

Whole is undergoer

Whole is undergoer, part is local dependent

(XA) WU PL

E99doleoaboculis
Latinache:1.SGfromeye(M):ABL.PL
‘I have pain in the eyes’ (Pl. Cist. 58)
E99auribu'teneolupum
Latinear(F):ABL.PLhold:1.SGwolf(M):ACC.SG
‘I have a wolf by the ears’ (Ter. Phorm. 506)

Incorporation of body-part noun

E103gu-gunnga-mim-baba-ng
MayaliLOC-rightSBJ.1-eye-hurt-NPST
my right eye hurts

Whole and part are local dependents

(XA) WL PL

E106namakalanga-kurrayuka-mikurdu-kurra
WarlpiriantPRSear-ALLenter-NPSTchild-ALL
the ant is crawling into the child’s ear

Whole is actor

Whole is actor, part is undergoer

WA PU

E107oculosaperuisti
Latineye(M):ACC.PLopen:PRF:2.SG
‘you opened your eyes’ (Cic. Mil 85, 11)
E109nízomaitā̀skheîras
A.Greekwash:PRS.MID.1.SGDEF:ACC.PL.Fhand(F):ACC.PL
‘I wash my hands’ (lit.: I get washed w.r.t. the hands)

Incorporation of body-part noun

E110gat-gubal-nabat-dayny-mi-yi-n
WarrayIRR:SBJ.1.SG-nearly-hand-cut-AUX-RFL-PST
I nearly cut my hand

Whole is actor, part is instrument

Whole and part are actors

E57, E58 on slide 17.

Body part is local dependent

E113Gun-bid-benga-garrme-ngdaluk
MayaliCL.IV-hand-ABL1>3-grasp-PST.PFVwoman
I touched the woman with my hand

Incorporation of body-part noun

E116a.k=inlom-iklexibpaalyéetelink'ab=a'
YucatecIPFV=SBJ.1.SGprick-INCMPLDEMboywithPOSS.1.SGhand=D1
 b.k=inlom+k’ab-t-iklexibpaal=a’
IPFV=SBJ.1.SGprick+hand-TRR-INCMPLDEMboy=D1
I prick this boy with my hand

Conclusion1 1

  1. The relationality of a body-part term may be taken up in language structure in two opposite ways:
    1. It may be reflected in morphological structure by an obligatory indexing of the whole in a possessive construction.
    2. Since the whole is necessarily co-present in the situation, the relationality of the part may be taken as a sufficient basis to infer the whole.

Conclusions 2

  1. A body part bears a relation of consubstantiality to its whole. This determines its partaking in situations in which the whole is involved:
    1. If a property is attributed to a part, then the whole is characterized by this property of its part. Consequently, the property may be ascribed either to the whole or to the part.
    2. If the whole controls the situation, its part will typically serve as an instrument.
    3. If the part is affected by the situation, the whole is affected, too. This founds a sympathetic relation between them. There are various syntactic strategies of coding the two undergoer roles.
    4. If a component of the situation is located with respect to the part, it is also located with respect to the whole.
  2. The above are default roles of a body part in a situation. As a consequence, the grammatical strategies for coding the relevant functions may be less sumptuous than for other kinds of objects in the same functions.

References

Indications of the sources of the language data and bibliographical references are in the article:

Foundations of body-part grammar