Derived Entities: Parallels Between Relativization and Nominalization
Indiana University Bloomington
Friday, February 17, 2023
Deverbal nominalizations, long of theoretical interest to linguists, have come to be understood as nominal constructions with a verbal core. While precisely how much structure is possible within this verbal core is a matter of debate across specific constructions, there is a broad consensus that the amount of verbal structure in nominalizations may vary both within and across languages. This talk addresses a gap in this line of enquiry: While research in this domain has focused largely on nominalizations that characterize events, entity nominalizations, i.e., those that characterize ordinary individuals instead of events, remain less understood. Through the investigation of two types of entity nominalizations in Wá:šiw (Hokan/isolate, USA) — internally headed relatives and subject nominalizations — I show that nominalizations that characterize entities show the same types of variation that are already familiar to us from those that characterize events. Further, I show that while entity nominalizations are often described in terms of thematic roles (e.g., agent, theme), the kind of argument an entity nominalization may characterize is epiphenomenal, related to the type of dependency involved. By drawing a parallel to A’ vs. A-dependencies in relativization, a picture emerges in which nominalization and relativization are related strategies for creating derived entities in the syntax.