Lexikalische Typologie – Dänisch und Französisch als endo- bzw. exozentrische Sprachen

  • Michael Herslund CBS – Wirtschaftsuniversität Kopenhagen


The article discusses one of the lesser studied aspects of linguistic typology, the lexicon. Taking as its point of departure the theory of lexicalisation of Leonard Talmy (1985), i.e. the different combinations of (presumably) universal semantic components different (types) of languages choose to code in their simple lexical roots, the article applies this approach to French and Danish – typology is not just a question of comparing so-called exotic languages. It appears that just as verb roots in Germanic, such as Danish, and Romance languages, such as French, differ fundamentally in their lexicalisation patterns, so do their nouns. And more importantly, the two word classes exhibit complementary lexicalisation patterns: in Germanic languages the verbs are rather concrete – what is lexicalised is the external, visible aspect of the situation described by the verb, the manner – whereas the Romance verbs are abstract, describing i.e. the idea of a movement and its direction; in nouns, however, the situation is the exact opposite: the Germanic nouns are rather abstract, covering a wide range of phenomena having a certain function in common, but the Romance nouns are concrete, describing the external, visible aspect of things, their form rather than their function. This finding permits the hypothesis of two fundamental linguistic types: the endocentric languages (Germanic), where the concrete information is found in the centre of the clause, the verb, and the exocentric languages (Romance), where this information is found outside the centre, in the nouns.
How to Cite
Herslund, M. (2007). Lexikalische Typologie – Dänisch und Französisch als endo- bzw. exozentrische Sprachen. Tidsskrift for Sprogforskning, 5(1), 1-13. https://doi.org/10.7146/tfs.v5i1.533
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