Questions tagged [copula]

a word used to link the subject of a sentence with a predicate, such as *is* in English

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When an existential verb is used existentially as the predicate to a subject, is it true in all languages that it cannot take another predicate?

When an existential is used existentially verb as the predicate to a subject, is it true in all languages that it cannot take another predicate? In other words, when the existential to-be verb means '...
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86 views

How do we parse the sentence, “I have never seen a fish get cooked like that”?

I'm a bit stumped because I see so many things going on here. The first gloss is pretty straight forward: I have never seen a fish get cooked like that. S|V|OC(clause) But I'm really more interested ...
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How to Identify Copulas in the Wild

What criteria do linguists use to tell if something is a copula? Let's say there's this group of undocumented languages and a linguist is studying nonverbal predication in those languages. Language ...
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159 views

Syntax of Ik ben het beu

I am puzzled by the Dutch "Ik ben het beu" phrase. The main question: what is the syntactic structure of it? Is this indeed a direct object with a copula? Or is it an ellipsis of a larger, more ...
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Does each Japanese copula, だ, な, に, introduce a new clause?

In the book The Japanese Copula: Forms and Functions there's a passage that says: The existence of an adverbial copula is expected when we consider the fact that adjectives inflect to end form, the ...
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Are there languages where the imperative of “to be” (as in “be happy”) is non-existent or achievable through vastly different means?

I know many languages don't have the word "to be" (e.g. Hawaiian), but I don't know how they form "to be" imperatives. I'm not asking specifically about Hawaiian, though that is welcome as well. ...
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How are nominal predicates expressed in active-stative languages?

Based on my reading, Active–Stative languages typically feature the core arguments of Agent (AGN) and Patient (PAT). While the precise rules differ by language, it seems to be that for intransitive ...
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1answer
77 views

Are copulas object/complement heads? P&P & LFG

In P&P, I assume that 'be' occupies the head of VP as P&P doesn't allow for empty heads. From that I assume that copulas head objects/complements in the same way that a lexical verb would? In ...
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Copulas and the Split VP Hypothesis

Copulas are regarded as semantically vacuous auxiliaries merged in V, then raised to T. Lexical verbs are merged in V and are raised to v. I have not found any literature discussing the copula with ...
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Test for function or content word? (LFG)

This might only apply to LFG, but are there any tests for if a word is functional or content/lexical? I have been trying to ascertain whether or not there is a lexical 'be' in English. The active '...
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1answer
187 views

Theta-Marking, Case-Marking and Argumenthood in Copular Sentences

Nominal predicates in copular sentences are peculiar because in certain languages, they acquire case other than accusative case. Even English was so, e.g. "it is I (NOM)" vs. "it is me (ACC)." Perhaps ...
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Is the TAM -> copula/'say'-word pathway attested elsewhere?

According to the work of philologists, the particles 曰 *[ɢ]ʷat, 于 *ɢʷ(r)a, 云 *[ɢ]ʷə[r] were aspect markers in Early Archaic Chinese, marking the 'prospective', continuous and 'actualising' aspects ...
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50 views

Movement and Spell-Out of Heads

Generally, DPs need to move to certain positions or configurations in order to check for case features (among other things) and allow spell-out. For example, raising predicates raise the subject of an ...
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Is there any language where the “copula” is also identical with and function as an “auxiliary verb”?

Are there languages where the "copula" is: invariant morphologically but may be phonologically conditioned (not inflected for any features like tense, number, etc. like English "is/was/were"), ...
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Pseudosluicing and Isolated NPs

Fragment answers may convey a complete thought, hence being complete sentences on their own. They've been analysed to involve either sluicing or the elision of a copular construction (pseudosluicing). ...
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490 views

Interrogatives and Copulas in Malay

In Malay, the wh-phrase in interrogatives remains in-situ, but may move to the left periphery of the clause. Declarative Malay: Awak makan ayam Gloss: You eat chicken Eng: You eat chicken Wh-in-...
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Are linking/copula verbs only followed by Adjectives and Nouns?

The diagram is from a lesson given by someone on YT. My question is with regard to the Adv phrases that follow the linking/copula verb. My understanding is that only predicate adjectives or predicate ...
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264 views

Has the term or the concept of a “copula” ceased to be used/relevant in modern linguistics?

In the comments on a recent question of mine about copulas and Chinese it has been stated: ... the concept of "copula" is a medieval invention of Latin grammarians, and not a modern linguistic term....
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192 views

Could certain adjectives or adverbs be analysed to function as a type of copula in Mandarin Chinese?

Chinese (I've only had experience with Mandarin so far) has at least one or two equivalents to English to be, such as "在" (zài) and "是" (shì). Now I know that Chinese adjectives are actually verbs so ...
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1answer
205 views

Interchangeable arguments with English copula

Is there a name for this phenomena with the English copula "to be"? 1a - "My day off is Saturday" 1b - "Saturday is my day off" 2a - "John is a doctor" 2b - *&...
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Are all copulas lexical verbs?

Normally, copulas hold a subject complement (or a predicate in any case). Example. The sky became clear. I am ill. But what is in the definition of a lexical verb that makes copulas lexical verbs? ...
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Are the two Lao (and Isan) words for “to be”, “ເປັນ” (pen) and “ແມ່ນ” (maen), etymologically related?

I've just learned that Lao has two words for "to be", that are mostly interchangeable: ເປັນ (pen) ແມ່ນ (maen) They both begin with a labial, have an "e-like" vowel, and end "n". I think it's pretty ...
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What is the difference between a copula and a transitive verb?

I can only speak from an English perspective. Be seems to me to be a transitive verb, when joining a subject and an object, yet it is described as a copula. What I mean is The bullseye is the ...
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413 views

Is there a proposed parameter of 'copula-drop'?

There is a property of languages with respect to copula (a verb 'to be' to mark equivalent thing): the copula may be necessary, or prohibited (and more complex mixtures of necessary and prohibited. ...
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Are there languages with a totally regular conjugation for “to be” outside Quechua?

I recently noticed that most languages have an irregular conjugation for the verb To be. I say almost because I don't know all languages, but the ones I've seen all have some irregularity sooner or ...
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When does copula absence occur in African-American Vernacular English?

In what contexts can the zero copula occur in African-American Vernacular English? What rules govern its use—for example, what makes she runnin' more likely to be acceptable than ?she a runner? Some ...