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Making do with minimal lexica: Light verb constructions with make/do in pidgin lexica
Stockholm University.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8293-8382
2016 (English)In: The Lexical Typology of Semantic Shifts / [ed] Juvonen, Päivi and Koptjevskaja-Tamm, Maria, Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 2016, 223-248 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

One of the most characteristic features of pidgin languages is the small size of their lexica. Normally, a pidgin makes do with less than 2000 common lexical items. How can one make do with so few words? The present study focuses on how pidgin lexica may allow for a systematic expansion of their minimal lexica by using a light verb meaning ‘make’ or ‘do’, or both, and investigates the polysemy that arises as a result of semantic shifts in 32 mostly unrelated pidgin varieties. The main results of the semantic analysis show that 1) two thirds of the analysed varieties make use of the light verb construction studied and, 2) those that make use of it are distributed all over the world, represent different combinations of languages in contact, favour effect metonymies and context metonymies over other types of semantic shifts and, use the construction to different degrees. These results are discussed mainly in terms of grammaticalization: in some of the languages the light verb make/do is argued to have become a verbaliser, in others, the constructions (if attested) are best described as conventionalised idiomatic expressions, i.e. verb idioms.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 2016. 223-248 p.
, Cognitive Linguistics Research, 58
Keyword [en]
Typology, Pidgin languages, Lexical semantics
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-123658ISBN: 978-3-11-037767-5OAI: diva2:954202
Available from: 2016-08-21 Created: 2015-12-01 Last updated: 2016-08-30

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