John Haiman

John Haiman
Macalester College · Department of Linguistics

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81
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3,177
Citations
Citations since 2017
1 Research Item
918 Citations
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2017201820192020202120222023050100150
2017201820192020202120222023050100150
2017201820192020202120222023050100150

Publications

Publications (81)
Book
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Ideophones have been recognized in modern linguistics at least since 1935, but they still lie far outside the concerns of mainstream (Western) linguistic debate, in part because they are most richly attested in relatively unstudied (often unwritten) languages. The evolution of language, on the other hand, has recently become a fashionable topic, bu...
Article
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Iconicity is a constant factor in generating linguistic ‘pantomimes’ of thought. Its never less constant enemies are the limitations imposed by the medium of sound itself, and the working of ritualization: routinization (or grammaticalization in the broad sense, which includes both analogy/systematization and sound change/erosion) and decorative bu...
Chapter
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This book examines the issue of competing motivations in grammar and language use. The term “competing motivations” refers to the conflicting factors that shape the content and form of grammatical rules and which speakers and addressees need to contend with when expressing themselves, or when trying to comprehend messages. For example, there are on...
Article
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Proceedings of the Tenth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society (1984), pp. 510-523
Article
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Introduction*: It is a commonplace belief in the Western linguistic tradition that language exists for packaging information as clearly and as economically as possible. Major accounts of competing motivations of speakers and hearers (Gabelentz 1891) and of the distinction between utterance meaning and sentence meaning are predicated on the ‘ articu...
Article
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Exaptation (Lass 1990) is the recycling of meaningless linguistic "junk'', which may be recycled to create entirely new words. Two cases are examined here: - There are two auxiliary verbs do in modern English. The first (Chomskyan do) has the distribution that is famously outlined in Syntactic structures. The second, a homophonous auxiliary, occurs...
Chapter
This article first addresses the drive for non-referential symmetry in Cambodian, and comparable decorative frills in other languages. The evidence within Cambodian favours the 'whole cloth' theory. A striking property of the symmetrical Khmer compounds is that they alliterate much more often than they rhyme. It has always been stated that the fina...
Article
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A number of iconically motivated grammatical distinctions, among them that between alienable and inalienable possession in Japanese and Korean, are graded Haspelmath's Zipfian frequency hypothesis may be able to accommodate these facts (lowest bulk is most frequent, middle bulk is less frequent, and maximal bulk is maximally infrequent), but until...
Chapter
In spite of the relative autonomy of grammar, there are many ways in which the structure of language directly reflects the structure of thought.
Article
One of the difficulties in parsing Khmer is that morphosyntactic clues about the category membership of words are either lacking or misleading. In particular, words which seem to have the status of deverbal nominalizations because of a derivational infix - Vm(n)- are in fact “still”functioning as verbs. It may be that this phenomenon of “syntactic...
Article
One of the design features of language is its systematicity: to a considerable extent, the rules of grammar relate not to the world outside, but only to other rules. They exist in autonomy from external motivations. Subject-verb inversion in the Germanic languages as a marker of interrogatives is a well-known example of such an externally unmotivat...
Article
Binomial coordinate compounds like English give and take are frequent in Khmer. Once the semantic motivation of these is opaque, the ones that survive are predominantly those which manifest some formal symmetry in the structure of their conjoined roots. The result is that Khmer has an enormous number of words like pell mell or zigzag , but, unlike...
Article
Exclamations, manners of speaking, performative verbs, and vocal gestures such as laughter frequently cannot be "translated" into propositional language without losing their identity as actions in some way. But not all exclamations, performatives, and vocal gestures are alike in this respect. Some can be translated, and some lie somewhere in betwee...
Article
From a typological perspective, the most striking — and perhaps the only noteworthy — feature of the auxiliation of the main verb baan 'get' in Khmer is that it migrates from V2 to V1 position, contravening the general tendency for grammatical morphemes to remain frozen in the same position where the words from which they originate are found. It ma...
Article
The existence of infixation in Austroasiatic has always been treated as a given: one of such antiquity that it has been proposed as a possible index of genetic affiliation with Austronesian. Nor does the comparative method allow the reconstruction of a typologically more plausible set of prefixes from which the attested infixes could have been deri...
Article
It is well known that the identity of recurrent partials is an indispensable prerequisite for every kind of linguistic analysis, including the analysis involved in learning one's own language. But these concepts are vital in many other areas also.In the following pages, I would like to review some of the varieties of repetition, and some conception...
Article
The arbitrariness of linguistic categories is almost as much a given as the arbitrariness of individual linguistic signs—one has only to consider the language-specificity of such familiar constructs as the phoneme, gender or the notion of ‘subject’ to be reminded of this fact, which supplies the major premiss of the Sapir—Whorf hypothesis.Given suc...
Article
BorerHagit (ed.), The syntax of pronominal clitics. (Syntax & Semantics, 19.) New York: Academic Press, 1986. Pp. xii + 380. - Volume 26 Issue 1 - John Haiman
Article
Sarcastic messages in general are those whose producer intends to mean the opposite of what his message would normally mean. Accompanying his behavior (which need not be verbal), and “keying” it as fictive, is a metamessage which may be paraphrased as “I'm not serious”. This metamessage is codified in a number of unrelated languages in three ways,...
Article
Leiv Egil Breivik. Existential There: A Synchronic and Diachronic Study. (Studia Anglistica Norvegica 2). Bergen: Department of English, University of Bergen. 1983. Pp. xiv + 458. NKr. 135,-. - Volume 31 Issue 1 - John Haiman
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Ray Jackendoff. Semantics and Cognition. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. 1983. Pp. xiii + 283. US $27.50. - Volume 30 Issue 1 - John Haiman
Article
Brian Joseph. The Synchrony and Diachrony of the Balkan Infinitive: A Study in Areal, General, and Historical Linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1983. Pp. xiv + 341. US$39.50 (hardcover). - Volume 30 Issue 4 - John Haiman
Article
The distance between linguistic expressions may be an iconically motivated index of the conceptual distance between the terms or events which they denote. But the length of an utterance may also correspond to the extent to which it conveys new or unfamiliar information. Reduced form may thus be an economically motivated index of familiarity. Much o...
Article
In a number of unrelated languages with a rich conditional morphology, the structure S1, (and) S2 may be interpreted as If S1. S2. The systematic homonymy of such paratactic or conjoined structures arises not from any definitional properties that coordinate clauses and if-clauses may share, but from “accidental” similarities which are apparently mi...
Article
Stephen A. Wurm, editor. New Guinea and Neighbouring Areas: A Sociolinguistic Laboratory. Contributions to the Sociology of Language, 24. The Hague: Mouton, 1979. Pp. viii + 289. - Volume 27 Issue 1 - John Haiman
Article
Although linguistic signs in isolation are symbolic, the system or grammar which relates them may be diagrammatically iconic in two ways: (a) by isomorphism, a bi-unique correspondence tends to be established between signans and signatum; (b) by motivation, the structure of language directly reflects some aspect of the structure of reality. Isomorp...
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Conditional clauses and topics are marked identically in a number of unrelated languages. This is a surprising fact, since they are not usually considered to be related categories. Nevertheless, if formal similarity reflects similarity in meaning, they must indeed be related. A review of analyses of conditionals (in the philosophical literature) an...
Article
A morphological peculiarity of Hua, a language of Papua New Guinea, is that object and possessive pronouns with a certain class of verbal and nominal roots are infixed rather than prefixed. This is shown to result from a combination of two reinterpretations, Watkins' Law and the analytic leap, both identifiable as instances of abductive reasoning....
Article
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Article
Three ablaut rules affect verb-stem-final vowels in Hua, a Papuan language of New Guinea. These rules are described and evidence is presented that the environments in which they apply can be characterized only by means of a derivational constraint in which reference is made to syntactic history. This solution is necessitated by the fact that phonol...
Article
Three formally unrelated conditions in the phonology of Turkish ensure that no non-initial syllable in native words will have the nuclear vowel o or ö. Far from being arbitrary, this constraint, a phonological target in Turkish, produces a result that is compatible with a target in a number of unrelated languages, among them Russian and Romantsch....
Article
Recent work in generative grammar has demonstrated the relationship between surface structure constraints and transformational rules. In some cases, various unrelated rules have been found to interact, and, in so doing, to satisfy a given constraint, characterized as a target. Evidence is presented that Vallader, a Romantsch dialect, has a phonolog...
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Questions

Question (1)
Question
Dear all:
In ASL, BSL, Catalan SL, and Italian SL, direct speech is signalled by the suspension of eye contact with one's interlocutor. This makes sense, as the signer is playacting and in the role s/he plays is addressing other people.
I am wondering if any other sign languages do the same.

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