LLF – Bât. ODG – 5e étage – Salle du conseil (533)
Modification and the structure of noun phrases in Oneida
Since Chomsky’s Remarks on nominalization, it is common to hypothesize that the structure of noun phrases/determiner phrases parallels that of clauses. In this talk, we examine the structure of noun phrases in Oneida (Northern Iroquoian) in the light of this hypothesis. In the first part of this talk we suggest that the structure of Oneida noun phrases does not follow the predictions of this hypothesis as Oneida noun phrases do not take complements, determiners (quantifiers are verbs heading clauses rather than determiners), or attributive adjectives. We further suggest that the distinction between nouns and phrases reduces to a semantic distinction between time-dependent and non time-dependent members of the universe of discourse. A consequence of the simpler structure of Oneida noun phrases is the absence of nominal modification, (semantic) partitives/part-whole relations, or proportional quantifiers of the sort found in many languages (including Indo-European languages). In the second part of this talk we discuss some of the strategies available to Oneida speakers to express part-whole/proportionality and modification.