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A new typology of indefinite pronouns and adverbs.

The state of the art typology of indefinites (i.e. indefinite pronouns and adverbs) is Haspelmath (1997). Haspelmath proposes a semantic map with nine regions claimed to be identifiable on semantic grounds and hypotheses about how these regions are related to one another, synchronically and diachronically. After a decade and a half, it is time for a revision. There are 3 main reasons, which imply three research objectives. Firstly, detailed studies show aspects of the Haspelmath hypothesis to be wrong. Thus the corrections have to be integrated into a new account, together with what remains valuable from the original account. Secondly, his typology has a strong European bias. The project will be based on a truly world-wide sample. Thirdly, the map is built on shaky foundations: some regions seem to be defined in terms of the meanings of the indefinites, other regions in terms of the contexts. The project will come up with a new geometry and strictly separate meanings from contexts. The project will use the typological method for a survey account, based on a 179-language sample, as well as corpus-linguistic analysis, for a few restricted (diachronic) studies.
Date:1 Oct 2012 →  30 Sep 2014
Disciplines:Language studies, Linguistics