LSLT 09: Case-Asymmetry

Product no.: ISBN 9783895863752
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A world-wide typological study on lexeme-class-dependent deviations in morphological case inventories
Oliver A. Iggesen
University of Bremen

It is common knowledge that in a number of European languages (e.g. English) certain case categories apply only to a subset of the overall stock of nominal lexemes, while being absent from the inflectional system of the rest. Thus, not all languages make use of their noun-inflectional potential in a consistent and generalized fashion. For this principled variation in morphological behavior Oliver A. Iggesen’s monograph introduces the terminological pair case-symmetry vs. case-asymmetry. Case-asymmetry has hitherto received hardly any attention in linguistic literature, neither from a theoretical nor from an empirical perspective. If ever, its occurrence in European languages has been dismissed as accidental, and extra-European instances are usually not known to scholars of linguistics.

Iggesen’s book closes this gap by exploring case-asymmetry from a typological perspective on the basis of a 260-language sample. The author demonstrates that this underestimated property is indeed manifested by a considerable number of languages. Following a discussion of the theoretical foundations and implications of this concept, Iggesen provides a detailed documentation of the identified instances of case-asymmetry and introduces a meaningful typological sub-classification of the phenomenon.

Furthermore, he shows that case-asymmetry is functionally motivated and integrated into the even broader domain of differential relational marking. The book is supplemented by typological maps.

ISBN 9783895863752 (Hardbound). LINCOM Studies in Language Typology 09. 660pp. 2005.

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