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The Grammatical Monophonemes of Standard Italian A Structural Isomorphism between Phonological and Semantic Oppositions? a Luca Nobile Université de Paris 3 “Sorbonne Nouvelle” UMR 7597 “Histoire des théories linguistiques” 10th International Cognitive Linguistic Conference Krakow july 15th-20th 2007
S ubject ,[object Object],[object Object]
S ummary ,[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object]
R emark ,[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object]
1.   The vowel system of Italian
1.   The vowel system of Italian ,[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],The Italian vowel system is relatively simple. It is a symmetric triangular vowel system.
2.  The “monophonemes” Each one of these phonemes, except /u/, form a complete Italian grammatical word. I call these seven grammatical lexemes the “monophonemes” of standard italian.
2.  The “monophonemes” ,[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object]
2.  The “monophonemes” ,[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object]
3.  The isomorphism between  phonology and morphology ,[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],If we write the  morphological features  on the image representing the phonological features, we can notice that their distribution is not merely random.
3.  The isomorphism between  phonology and morphology ,[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],If we write the  morphological features  on the image representing the phonological features, we can notice that their distribution is not merely random.
3.  The isomorphism between  phonology and morphology ,[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],If we write the  morphological features  on the image representing the phonological features, we can notice that their distribution is not merely random.
3.  The isomorphism between  phonology and morphology Where we had three different  degrees of aperture ... ... now we have three different  grammatical categories To sum up, all the morphological oppositions on the horizontal axis follow the structure of the phonological oppositions.
3.  The isomorphism between  phonology and morphology And where we had three pairs of  opposite articulation places ... ... now we have three pairs of  opposite morphological values . To sum up, all the morphological oppositions on the horizontal axis follow the structure of the phonological oppositions.
3.  The isomorphism between  phonology and morphology ,[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],That’s not all. Also  the central position of /a/  has some important morphological similarities.
3.  The isomorphism between  phonology and morphology ,[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],That’s not all. Also  the central position of /a/  has some important morphological similarity.
3.  The isomorphism between  phonology and morphology ,[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],That’s not all. Also  the central position of /a/  has some important morphological similarity.
3.  The isomorphism between  phonology and morphology Notably, the [central] phonological position of /a/ can be recognized... ... in three different aspects of the morphological position of  ha  and  a. To sum up, also on the vertical axis, the morphological oppositions show some important similarities with the phonological ones.
4.   Physiology & Semantics Until now, we considered the similarity between  the axis  of the morphological oppositions and  the axis  of the phonological ones. We can now complete our analysis considering  the semantic orientation of each pair on its axis .  For instance, we can ask why we have: [front] : [back] =  [definite] : [indefinite] And why we don’t have  the contrary : [front] : [back] #  [indefinite] : [definite] I would respond that  the physiological gestures   are semantically oriented , and that this orientation is used by the Italian language to build semantic oppositions between the words.
4.   Physiology & Semantics The  [front : back]   tongue  position means a  [forward/convex : backward/concave]  physiological gesture.  This gesture produces a  [high F2 : low F2]  sound, perceived in an  [external : internal]  region of the  cochlea  and in a  [high : low]  region of the  thorax . The opposite pairs  [forward : backward]  and  [high : low]  are currently used as  popular metaphors  to signify a  [positive : negative]  opposition. The opposite pairs  [convex : concave]  and  [external : internal]  can be considered  [positive : negative]  in a “localist”,  topological perspective . So, the general  semantic orientation  of  [front : back]  can be described as a  [positive : negative]  spatial opposition. The [front : back] physiological gesture. + - + - + - + -
4.   Physiology & Semantics In fact, among the Italian monophonemes, the  [front : back]  phonological feature always corresponds to a  [positive : negative]  semantic feature. POSITIVE NEGATIVE [definite] [indefinite] [plural] [singular] [copulative] [disjunctive] [3rd P]  (forward) [1st P]  (backward) [ essere ]  (convex) [ avere ]  (concave) Please note that the  [verbs]  require a “localist”,  topological perspective. Altogether, the  [positive : negative]  physiological feature corresponds exactly to a  [positive : negative]  semantic feature. + - The [front : back] semantic value.
4.   Physiology & Semantics The  [open : close]   mouth  makes the body  [related : unrelated]  to its environment (eating, breathing, talking). This gesture produces a  [high F1 : low F1]  sound, perceived in an  [external : internal]  region of the  cochlea  and in a  [high : low]  region of the  thorax . The opposite pairs  [open : close]  and  [external : internal]  are currently used in  popular metaphors  to mean someone or something  [related : unrelated] . To be bodily  [open]  and  [related]  means often to create a  [complex]  “content-container”  topological structure  (like eating an apple). So, the general  semantic orientation  of  [open : close]  can be described as a  [related/complex : unrelated/simple]  spatial opposition.  The [open : close] physiological gesture.
4.   Physiology & Semantics In fact, among the Italian monophonemes, the  [open : close]  phonological feature always corresponds to a more  [related/complex : unrelated/simple]  semantic feature. + RELATED + UNRELATED /complex   /simple [verb]   [conjunction] [article] A  [verb]  can imply 3 arguments placed in 3 different physical places (like “I have you there”): it is more  [related/complex]. A  [conjunction]  can imply 2 arguments placed in 2 different physical places (like “Me and you”). An  [article]  just implies its noun.
4.   Physiology & Semantics CLOSE UNRELATED To sum up, the semantic orientation of the morphological oppositions seems to follow the semantic orientation of the physiological gestures. + - FRONT  POSITIVE BACK NEGATIVE OPEN RELATED
5.   Conclusions ,[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object]
L inks ,[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object],[object Object]

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Nobile - Grammatical Monophonemes

  • 1. The Grammatical Monophonemes of Standard Italian A Structural Isomorphism between Phonological and Semantic Oppositions? a Luca Nobile Université de Paris 3 “Sorbonne Nouvelle” UMR 7597 “Histoire des théories linguistiques” 10th International Cognitive Linguistic Conference Krakow july 15th-20th 2007
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  • 5. 1. The vowel system of Italian
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  • 7. 2. The “monophonemes” Each one of these phonemes, except /u/, form a complete Italian grammatical word. I call these seven grammatical lexemes the “monophonemes” of standard italian.
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  • 13. 3. The isomorphism between phonology and morphology Where we had three different degrees of aperture ... ... now we have three different grammatical categories To sum up, all the morphological oppositions on the horizontal axis follow the structure of the phonological oppositions.
  • 14. 3. The isomorphism between phonology and morphology And where we had three pairs of opposite articulation places ... ... now we have three pairs of opposite morphological values . To sum up, all the morphological oppositions on the horizontal axis follow the structure of the phonological oppositions.
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  • 18. 3. The isomorphism between phonology and morphology Notably, the [central] phonological position of /a/ can be recognized... ... in three different aspects of the morphological position of ha and a. To sum up, also on the vertical axis, the morphological oppositions show some important similarities with the phonological ones.
  • 19. 4. Physiology & Semantics Until now, we considered the similarity between the axis of the morphological oppositions and the axis of the phonological ones. We can now complete our analysis considering the semantic orientation of each pair on its axis . For instance, we can ask why we have: [front] : [back] = [definite] : [indefinite] And why we don’t have the contrary : [front] : [back] # [indefinite] : [definite] I would respond that the physiological gestures are semantically oriented , and that this orientation is used by the Italian language to build semantic oppositions between the words.
  • 20. 4. Physiology & Semantics The [front : back] tongue position means a [forward/convex : backward/concave] physiological gesture. This gesture produces a [high F2 : low F2] sound, perceived in an [external : internal] region of the cochlea and in a [high : low] region of the thorax . The opposite pairs [forward : backward] and [high : low] are currently used as popular metaphors to signify a [positive : negative] opposition. The opposite pairs [convex : concave] and [external : internal] can be considered [positive : negative] in a “localist”, topological perspective . So, the general semantic orientation of [front : back] can be described as a [positive : negative] spatial opposition. The [front : back] physiological gesture. + - + - + - + -
  • 21. 4. Physiology & Semantics In fact, among the Italian monophonemes, the [front : back] phonological feature always corresponds to a [positive : negative] semantic feature. POSITIVE NEGATIVE [definite] [indefinite] [plural] [singular] [copulative] [disjunctive] [3rd P] (forward) [1st P] (backward) [ essere ] (convex) [ avere ] (concave) Please note that the [verbs] require a “localist”, topological perspective. Altogether, the [positive : negative] physiological feature corresponds exactly to a [positive : negative] semantic feature. + - The [front : back] semantic value.
  • 22. 4. Physiology & Semantics The [open : close] mouth makes the body [related : unrelated] to its environment (eating, breathing, talking). This gesture produces a [high F1 : low F1] sound, perceived in an [external : internal] region of the cochlea and in a [high : low] region of the thorax . The opposite pairs [open : close] and [external : internal] are currently used in popular metaphors to mean someone or something [related : unrelated] . To be bodily [open] and [related] means often to create a [complex] “content-container” topological structure (like eating an apple). So, the general semantic orientation of [open : close] can be described as a [related/complex : unrelated/simple] spatial opposition. The [open : close] physiological gesture.
  • 23. 4. Physiology & Semantics In fact, among the Italian monophonemes, the [open : close] phonological feature always corresponds to a more [related/complex : unrelated/simple] semantic feature. + RELATED + UNRELATED /complex /simple [verb] [conjunction] [article] A [verb] can imply 3 arguments placed in 3 different physical places (like “I have you there”): it is more [related/complex]. A [conjunction] can imply 2 arguments placed in 2 different physical places (like “Me and you”). An [article] just implies its noun.
  • 24. 4. Physiology & Semantics CLOSE UNRELATED To sum up, the semantic orientation of the morphological oppositions seems to follow the semantic orientation of the physiological gestures. + - FRONT POSITIVE BACK NEGATIVE OPEN RELATED
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Editor's Notes

  1. Nota