Institute of English Linguistics (IfLA)

DFG-Project Zero-derived Nouns

DFG-funded research grant IO 91/1-1

Zero-derived nouns and deverbal nominalization: An empirically-oriented perspective, (DFG-funded research grant IO 91/1-1)

Beginning

Sept. 2018

Funding Period

Sept. 2018 - Aug. 2021

Principal investigator and researcher

Dr. Gianina Iordăchioaia

Student assistants

Gioia Baldissin, María Camila Buitrago Cabrera, Anastasiia Iurshina, Prisca Piccirilli, Susanne Schweitzer, Yaryna Svyryda

External collaborators

Dr. Chiara Melloni (University of Verona)

Dr. Lonneke van der Plas (University of Malta)

Prof. Dr. Rochelle Lieber (University of New Hampshire)

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This project aims to investigate deverbal zero-derived nouns (henceforth, ZNs: e.g., to climba climb-Ø) as a type of deverbal nominalization, by looking at two main aspects: i) how their morphosyntax and interpretation are influenced by the lexical semantics and event structure properties of the base verb and ii) to what extent, if at all, their zero-suffix Ø makes them different from suffix-based nominals (SNs: e.g., the climbing).

Much of the generative literature that discusses ZNs argues that, unlike SNs, ZNs in English are semantically idiosyncratic and morphosyntactically plain, which suggests that they cannot be given a compositional analysis derived from the base verb of the kind that SNs receive, especially when these realize arguments (e.g., John’s breaking of the glass < John broke the glass). This view is supported, among others, by the unsystematic realization of verbal arguments in ZNs (e.g., *John’s break-Ø of the glass). ZNs have thus been treated as idiosyncratic formations or ‘creative coinages’. Various empirical facts, however, challenge this analysis: for instance, some ZNs can realize arguments (cf. his climb-Ø of Kilimanjaro). Moreover, the idiosyncrasy claims are based on sporadic data, especially since the literature on zero derivation has usually focused on the more productive denominal verbs rather than on ZNs.

 This project brings a major contribution to this debate by offering an integrative study of the lexical classes and morphosyntactic patterns of ZNs, guided by the rich corpus data easily accessible today and by previous insightful studies on verb classes in English. The project starts with the assumption that, like SNs, ZNs receive both compositional and idiosyncratic readings. To determine the interplay between the two, it aims to answer the following three questions, which will also lead to the first insights into the theoretical modeling of the morphosyntax and semantics of ZNs:

  1. How do different semantic verb classes correlate with compositional and idiosyncratic ZNs?
  2. Which verb classes derive ZNs that realize verbal arguments?
  3. How do ZNs semantically and morphologically differ from SNs (if at all)?

The focus is English, whose ZNs are especially productive and offer a rich empirical basis. To further delineate the profile of ZNs from possibly interfering typological properties of one language, the study of English will be complemented by insights from Romance languages, especially from Italian – which offers two patterns of ZNs – and Romanian – which has no productive ZNs. This comparison will help to determine i) the specific verb classes that typically derive ZNs across languages and ii) how the broader meaning domain of ZNs in English is compensated for in languages with a restricted use of ZNs, especially via the use of SNs.

  • Rochelle Lieber will be visiting us from June 19 until June 24. She will give a talk within the JENom 8 workshop (see below) and another one on Monday, June 24, 2-3:20pm, room: 17.92.
  • Our project is organizing the 8th edition of the international Workshop on Nominalizations/ Journées d'Etude sur les NOMinalisations (JENom 8) on June 21-22, 2019.

For more information, see here: https://sites.google.com/view/jenom-nominalizations/home?authuser=0

  • Iordachioaia, G., C. Buitrago-Cabrera, Y. Svyryda & S. Schweitzer. Deverbal zero-nominalization and verb classes: An empirical investigation. Poster at the 8th International Workshop on Nominalizations (Jenom 8), Stuttgart, June 21-22, 2019.
  • Iordachioaia, G. Event and argument structure in English zero-derived nominals. 34th Comparative Germanic Syntax Workshop (CGSW 34), Konstanz, June 14-15, 2019.
  • Iordachioaia, G. Root-derived psych nominals. Wroclaw University, April 1, 2019.
  • Iordachioaia, G. D and N are different nominalizers. Workshop New Horizons in the Study of Nominal Phrases, 41st Annual Conference of German Linguistic Society, Bremen, March 6-8, 2019.
  • Iordăchioaia, G. Zero derivation and word formation: The case of deverbal nouns in English. Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, January 17, 2019. 
  • Iordăchioaia, G. Zero-derived nouns and deverbal nominalization. Humboldt University, Berlin, November 12, 2018.

Further information

Dieses Bild zeigt Iordăchioaia
Dr.

Gianina Iordăchioaia

/ˌdʒʲa-ˈni-na ˌjɔr-də-ˈkʲʊa-ja/ Research Associate