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Book launch: Grammaticalization & the Rise of Configurationality in Indo-Aryan, 8 June 2016

Australian National University

Date: 12 May 2016

When: 8 June 2016, 5pm

Introduction: Prof Nick Evans, CoEDL Director

Where: Engma Room (5019), HC Coombs Building, ANU


Join Uta Reinöhl as she launches her new book at ANU CoEDL Node on June 8th:

Uta Reinöhl. 2016. Grammaticalization and the Rise of Configurationality in Indo-Aryan. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

This book examines historical changes in the grammar of the Indo-Aryan languages from the period of their earliest attestations in Vedic Sanskrit (around 1000 bc) to contemporary Hindi. Uta Reinöhl focuses specifically on the rise of configurational structure as a by-product of the grammaticalization of postpositions: while Vedic Sanskrit lacks function words that constrain nominal expressions into phrasal units - one of the characteristics of a non-configurational language - New Indo-Aryan languages have postpositions which organize nominal expressions into postpositional phrases. The grammaticalization of postpositions and the concomitant syntactic changes are traced through the three millennia of Indo-Aryan attested history with a focus on Vedic Sanskrit, Middle Indic Pali and Apabhramsha, Early New Indic Old Awadhi, and finally Hindi. Among the topics discussed are the constructions in which the postpositions grammaticalize, the origins of the postpositional template, and the paradigmatization of the various elements involved into a single functional class of postpositions. The book outlines how it is semantic and pragmatic changes that induce changes on the expression side, ultimately resulting in the establishment of phrasal, and thus low-level configurational, syntax.

Uta Reinöhl studied General Linguistics, Philosophy, and English Literature at University College Dublin and at Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster. She has been affiliated with the University of Cologne since 2010, and has been Assistant Professor in the Department of General Linguistics there since 2013. She wrote her dissertation on the rise of configurationality in Indo-Aryan, for which she received the Wilhelm von Humboldt Award 2015 of the German Linguistic Society as well as an award from the German National Academic Foundation. Currently, Uta is a visiting researcher at CoEDL sponsored by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation as well as CoEDL. Uta has started a fieldwork project of Kera'a (Idu Mishmi), a Tibeto-Burman language of Northeast India, which she integrates into her research of Southasian languages as well as into her cross-linguistic research into a-hierarchical complex nominal and verbal expressions.

  • Australian Government
  • The University of Queensland
  • Australian National University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • Western Sydney University