Bonmann, Svenja ORCID: 0000-0002-4005-7891 (2023). Parametric Syntactic Reconstruction. Noun Phrases in Iranian, Proto-Indo-Iranian and Proto-Indo-European. PhD thesis, Universität zu Köln.

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This dissertation is a defense of the hypothesis that syntax can be reconstructed using the time-tested Comparative Method and structural analogues to phonological features, so-called parameters. Any application of the Comparative Method depends on a systematic comparison of basic units which are finite in number and have discrete values. This dissertation argues that syntactic parameters might equal distinctive phonological features and that different combinations or rather bundles of parameters might constitute syntactic ‘phonemes’. Building upon the noun phrase (NP) properties and behavior of nine Old and Middle Iranian languages, namely Old and Young Avestan, Old and Middle Persian, Parthian, Bactrian, Chorasmian, Sogdian and Khotanese Saka as well as the corresponding NP characteristics of three ancient Indo-European relatives, namely Vedic, Archaic (i.e., Mycenaean and Epic) Greek and Old Latin, this study tries to reconstruct, based on a parametric feature matrix, (a) the nominal syntactic behavior (formally representable in terms of parametric settings) of the last common ancestor of all Iranian languages, Proto-Iranian, (b) the parametric profile of the still earlier Proto-Indo-Iranian (PIIr.) language, and it makes (c) an educated first guess on the NP parameters of Proto-Indo-European (PIE). Key findings of this dissertation are (I) the insight that parametric syntactic reconstruction parallels phonological reconstruction(s); (II) the observation that PIIr. and PIE had a right-branching nominal configurational syntax with a high amount of noun-raising (no rigid head-finality); (III) the inference that the non-IE substrate language(s) of the early towns of Bronze Age Central Asia (BMAC and related cultures) may have had articles.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD thesis)
Translated title:
Parametrische Syntaktische Rekonstruktion. Nominalphrasen im Iranischen, Urindoiranischen und UrindogermanischenGerman
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-707646
Date: 2023
Place of Publication: Köln
Language: English
Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Fächergruppe 1: Kunstgeschichte, Musikwissenschaft, Medienkultur und Theater, Linguistik, IDH > Institut für Linguistik > Historisch-Vergleichende Sprachwissenschaft
Subjects: Language, Linguistics
Italic Latin
Other languages
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Linguistic Reconstruction, Syntactic Reconstruction, Noun Phrases, Iranian, Proto-Indo-Iranian, Proto-Indo-European, Old Avestan, Young Avestan, Old Persian, Middle Persian, Parthian, Bactrian, Chorasmian, Sogdian, Khotanese SakaEnglish
Linguistische Rekonstruktion, Syntaktische Rekonstruktion, Nominalphrasesn, Iranisch, Urindoiranisch, Urindogermanisch, Altavestisch, Jungavestisch, Altpersisch, Mittelpersisch, Parthisch, Baktrisch, Choresmisch, Sogdisch, HotansakischGerman
Date of oral exam: 2 May 2022
NameAcademic Title
Hill, EugenProf. Dr.
Kölligan, DanielProf. Dr.
Refereed: Yes


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