Polish Syntax Introduction to the Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

In colloquial Polish speech, hyperbaton is associated with strong focus, optimally with symmetrical contrast. However, in literary prose hyperbaton can also occur with weak focus and with unfocused nonlexicals. When presented with examples of the exclusively literary type of hyperbaton out of their literary context, native speakers of Polish either rejected them say-ing that they did not understand why the Y1 modifiers were in hyperbaton, or corrected them into colloquially acceptable hyperbata by stressing the Y1 modifier so as to induce a strong narrow focus.

Consider the following Polish examples (Giejgo 1981)

Slynnego przywitali-my j-znawce famous we greeted linguist J-zykoznaw-e przywitali-my s-ynnego linguist we greeted famous 'We greeted a famous linguist' Szynk? kupil I chleb ham bought and bread 'We bought ham and bread.'

The first example is an Y1 modifier hyperbaton, the second an Y2 modifier hyperbaton. In the third, the verb is straddled not by a noun and its modifier but by a pair of conjuncts. We call this conjunct hyperbaton.

The Study and Results

In view of the general morphological structure of Polish, only the following free grammatical morphemes are potential candidates for telegraphic reduction: prepositions, conjunctions, the copula jest, the future tense auxiliary b-dzie, two enclitic particles (i.e. The reflexive si? And the conditional by) and possibly also enclitic movable endings of the plural past tense forms (i.e. - ?my, - ?cie). In a famous study conducted by Foley et. al., the earliest data the children studied omitted prepositions and the reflexive particle si?. The copula jest was also deleted; however, it is not obligatory in Polish. In the case of other candidates for reduction, omission could not occur in the earliest utterances because of the lack of appropriate obligatory contexts. Later, the children can be clearly divided into "telegraphic" versus "nontelegraphic" types with most of the children falling in the latter category. Two of the children studied (Basia and Inka) persistently omitted some obligatory morphemes. With the development of syntax, new obligatory contexts emerged for other free morphemes and Basia and Inka now omitted the new set of free morphemes (Folet, Van and Valin, 1984). With these two "telegraphic" children (as with English-speaking children) the appearance of the morphemes that had been omitted earlier was a gradual process taking place during the third year, for instance, at the given moment the children were using some conjunctions and omitting others, even though they were building sentences with both kinds of obligatory contexts. Typically, asyllabic prepositions (w 'in', z 'w'th') were omitted for a longer time than the syllabic ones (do 'to', na 'on'). This is due more to phonetic reduction of an initial consonantal cluster than to processes discussed here. In the case of the remaining children, prepositions and the particle si? appeared before the age of 2, and the remaining free morphemes were used from the moment of the emergence of appropriate contexts, and their usage satisfied the 90% criterion from the point of emergence.

Language played an important role as a powerful tool for ethnic and national identity in those areas in which it had existed as a written and printed language since the Middle Ages and could be codified without relative difficulties, as in the cases of the Poles. In most cases, however, a modern literary language had to be constructed on the basis of one or more dialects. With the exception of the Russian case, national movements sooner or later included linguistic demands as a part of their programs. Linguistic demands involved several stages, differing in their timing and also in their capacity to strengthen ethnic and national identity. At the first stage, the language was celebrated and defended against the threat of assimilation. At the second stage, the language was planned and codified, which involved a simultaneous process of linguistic organization and standardization, including unified orthography and distinct language borders. The third stage was aimed at an intellectualization of the national language, the writing of poetry, short stories, and novels, and the development of the language of scientific literature. The fourth stage was represented in the demands for the introduction of this codified and intellectualized language into the high schools. The fifth stage demanded full equality for the language in all spheres of public life.

Of these stages, only the first three have to do with language in the proper sense of the word. All Slavic national movements tried to purify their languages of loanwords, but they also worked on morphology, syntax, and orthography in order to accentuate their differences from the ruling state language or from the old church Slavic. At the same time, they needed to modernize the lexicology through neologisms and by making use of loanwords from other Slavic languages, primarily from the developed ones Russian and Polish. Generally, the feeling of a Slavic linguistic similarity (community) was strong in all Slavic national movements without necessarily developing into pan-Slavism. The success of national demands depended both on the general political conditions and on the support which could be received from members of the ethnic group. This support was stronger in cases in which the population was literate and mobile and in which the linguistic difference simultaneously corresponded to some kind of social or political tension. The general success of introducing the language into schools, administration, and public life established one of the most important preconditions for the success of nation formation among all Slavic national movements. During the period when national movements were developing their political programs, linguistic demands entered the field of politics, and the language acquired, in addition to its communicative functions, some "nonlinguistic," noncommunicative functions. Language became a myth, a symbol for national existence, a matter of prestige, and a tool for "disciplination," and anyone who intended to become a successful politician had to support linguistic demands.

In this connection, it is worth mentioning that the English term "nation" has different connotations from its equivalent in most Slavic languages: The English "nation" is defined by its relation to the state, whereas, for example, the Czech "narod" is defined by its relation to the ethnicity. For this reason, the transformation of an ethnic identity to a national one is, in Slavic languages (with perhaps the exception of Polish), understood as a change, a "process" inside one and the same entity, whereas in English it means two different qualities. This semantic difference also explains why language (i.e., ethnically defined identity) played such an important role in Eastern Europe in comparison to the national movements in the English-speaking world

Ireland and Scotland.This is, however, only one of the preconditions which need to be mentioned when attempting to understand the close connection between language and national identity. In other words, Why did the linguistic program receive such strong mass support? Decisive preconditions proceeded from the social sphere. There existed a distinct correlation between an incomplete social structure and the charisma of language. The more difficulties that the members of a nondominant ethnic group had in moving from the lower to the higher classes, the more significant was the association between their language and the social position they occupied. An incomplete social structure also had an impact on political culture: National movements always involved social groups who possessed neither political experience nor political education and could, therefore, better understand ethnolinguistic arguments than abstract political theories. Linguistic demands were, from this point-of-view, not intellectual games of frustrated philologists but rather an expression of the transformation of concrete interests and of painful experiences.

In Polish, the conditional -by competes with the person suffixes for post verbal positioning. Because the person suffixes occur more frequently, they are often incorrectly allowed to win out in this competition. This leads to errors like * pisa?-em-by (= 'write-I-would') or * by pisa?-em (= 'would write-I') for the correct form pisa?-by-m (= 'write-would-I) (Smoczyþka, 1985). In both the Polish and French examples, the child first solves these competitions by placing the frequently occurring morpheme closer to the stem. Operating Principle 10 holds that this is due to the greater strength of the positional pattern for the more common morpheme. Note, however, that many of these same phenomena are also predicted by Consequence syntax 1a which states that "when the child produces affix order errors, they will most often involve failure to separate an affix from a stem with which it frequently co-occurs." The system of competition also has to deal with the competition between positions for a morpheme. Thus, the counterpart of syntax 5a is syntax 5b which holds that:

CONSEQUENCE SYNTAX 5B: When two positions compete for a given morpheme in Polish, the child produces incorrect orders and over markings using that morph in both positions.

Friedrich cites three errors of this type:

1. Incorrect and redundant placement of -m on both the verb and the conditional marker -by as in Nie poje-dzi?-em by-m 'not ride-I would-I (= 'I wouldn't ride') for the correct Nie poje-dzi?-by-m 'not ride-would-I

2. Use of by as both a suffix and an enclitic. Thus we have…

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