By Regina Pustet
Copulas (in English, the verb to be) are conventionally outlined functionally as a way of referring to parts of clause constitution, specifically topic and supplement, and thought of to be semantically empty or meaningless. Dr Pustet provides an research of grammatical descriptions of over a hundred and sixty languages drawn from the language households of the realm. She indicates that a few languages have a unmarried copula, others numerous, and a few none in any respect. She hyperlinks the distribution of copulas to adaptations in lexical categorization and syntactic constitution. She advances a accomplished concept of copularization which she pertains to language class and to theories of language swap, particularly grammaticalization.
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Extra info for Copulas: Universals in the Categorization of the Lexicon
Thus, a full verb which is homonymous with a copula is treated as an independent lexeme. ) usage of the term copularization, which refers to the grammaticalization process which turns full verbs or other non-copular elements into copulas. (4) For a possible explanation of this latter fact, see Thompson (1988). The distribution of copularizing versus non-copularizing lexemes in the lexicon of individual languages is also considered, along with a universal hierarchy of copularization. The basic question underlying this research is about the ways in which languages differ with respect to the use of copulas with various types of lexical items.
In Croft’s matrix, various well-known construction types are listed which serve to code the respective combinations of semantic concepts and pragmatic functions. 19) Some combinations can be represented by more than a single construction type. In addition, the analysis predicts the structural markedness of the constructions in the marked combinations of lexical class and pragmatic function: that is, that those constructions will be structurally more complex, or at least as complex, as the morphosyntax for the core category types.
In some languages the copula can be skipped in the third person singular only. Thus, past tense must also be included in the list of grammatical categories which may trigger copula dropping. 37. 38. gín dúg⋅ê 3PL naked ‘they are naked’ (Tucker 1993: 255) The Swahili copula ni can be dropped in a similar set of contexts: ‘If the subject is an independent pronoun or demonstrative, ni may be omitted’ (Welmers 1973: 325). 39. 40. In all other contexts, the copula is either obligatory or optional.