Pernilla Hallonsten Halling

Universitetslektor i lingvistik

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Works at Department of Linguistics
Telephone 08-16 23 45
Visiting address Universitetsvägen 10 C, plan 2-3
Room C 228
Postal address Institutionen för lingvistik 106 91 Stockholm

About me


Research interests: typology, cognitive linguistics, Construction Grammar, language change, grammaticalization theory.


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • Thesis (Doc) Adverbs
    2018. Pernilla Hallonsten Halling (et al.).

    The notion adverb is often treated as encompassing leftover items in a class that shows little consistency both within and ​across languages. Adverbs are less frequent than other parts of speech cross-linguistically, they seldom inflect, and they are rarely used as a source for derivation to other categories.

    This dissertation focuses on adverbs that denote properties and that can be used as modifiers within predicating expressions. The adverbs in this group are roughly equivalent to the traditional manner adverbs (She walked slowly). In their role as modifiers, these adverbs are parallel to attributive adjectives, which also denote properties, and are modifiers in referring expressions (slow train). Adjectives often also occur in the predicative function (The train is slow). This study compares adverbs to attributive and predicative adjectives in a sample of 60 genealogically diverse languages from around the world. Simple adverbs are attested in the majority of these languages, including in some languages that do not have simple adjectives. The comparison with attributive and predicative adjectives is carried out at three levels of encoding: the root, the lexeme, and the construction. The analysis shows that a great majority of languages have the same root encoding for adverbs, attributive adjectives, and predicative adjectives. Many languages have a class of lexemes that are used in the functions of both adverbs and attributive adjectives, here called general modifiers. On the construction level, where constructions are analyzed in their entirety, important encoding similarities between adverbs and predicative adjectives are unraveled. In a few languages, adverbs and attributive adjectives are encoded by the same or similar constructions.

    The attested simple adverbs and general modifiers both fall into certain characteristic semantic types. For simple adverbs, a core type is SPEED, which is found among the adverbs of most sample languages. The types VALUE, CARE, and NOISE are also found among the simple adverbs of several languages. For general modifiers, VALUE appears as a core type. These semantic types are further attested in tendencies of adverb lexicalization and in adverbial affixation across languages. 

    This dissertation shows that adverbs constitute a cross-linguistically prototypical part of speech, although they differ in many ways from other categories. The basis for this class, just as for adjectives, is the presence of simple lexemes that tend to have similar semantics in unrelated and geographically distant languages. Adverbs are thus conceptually no less basic than adjectives.

  • 2017. Pernilla Hallonsten Halling. Acta Linguistica Hafniensia. International Journal of Structural Linguistics 49 (1), 37-52

    While adjectives and their potential universality have been much debated, adverbs remain rather neglected in the typological and cognitive literature. From a typological perspective, adjectives can be dealt with using a comparative concept: rather than assuming from the outset the existence of a class of adjectives, a particular language-independent definition of adjectives is used as a heuristic for examining recurrent form-meaning combinations. In the present article, adverb is addressed as a comparative concept in the same vein: an adverb is a lexeme that denotes a descriptive property and can be used to narrow the predication of a verb. This comparative concept is applied to a sample of 41 languages from the whole world. The results show that although there are diverse structural possibilities in terms of different adverbial constructions of varying spread and productivity, simple adverbs are found in a considerable number of unrelated languages, even in some cases where adjectives cannot be found. Clear adverb subtypes reminiscent of semantic types of adjectives further emerge, leading to a discussion of whether the comparative concepts in this case allow us to uncover a substantial cross-linguistic prototype.

Show all publications by Pernilla Hallonsten Halling at Stockholm University

Last updated: July 4, 2018

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