Eitan Grossman

Alon Fellowship  - ISF 248/13 'The typology of adposition borrowing' (2013-2016)

Typological approaches have proved extremely illuminating for language contact research. To date, they have been applied to a range of grammatical and lexical categories, as well as a number of basic meanings. This project aims to fill a significant gap in the typology of language contact phenomena, namely, a cross-linguistic study of the borrowing of adpositions and other case markers, based on an extensive language sample. A systematic worldwide study of this phenomenon has never been conducted. Since the issue of adposition borrowing is a multifaceted one, this project will tackle it in a number of ways: a survey of secondary literature, grammars, the construction of a detailed database, as well as several in-depth studies of adposition borrowing in primary text corpora in a number of languages.

This project is intended primarily as a contribution to the typology of language contact, but also as a contribution to the typology of adpositions in general: while it is well known that adpositions are borrowed, this phenomenon rarely makes it into general typological treatments of adpositions. The proposed project aims to address this gap. As Yaron Matras pointed out, 'language contact acts as a natural laboratory of language change where properties may become transparent that are otherwise obscure, and so it may allow deeper insights into the functions of grammatical structures and categories.' As such, the study of adposition borrowing across languages is likely to lead to insights that have relevance for our understanding of language in general.

Nora Boneh

ISF Grant 1057/10, with Prof. Edit Doron, 2010-2014

“Modal and temporal aspects of habituality”

The general objective of the project Modal and temporal aspects of habituality was to clarify how the concept of habituality is grammaticalized in natural language by exploring interactions between the categories of aspect and modality in the expression of habituality. We showed that while habituality is essentially a modal category, the way it is manifested in particular languages closely depends on the make-up of their aspectual systems. In other words, the interaction with aspect is secondary and depends on the aspectual make-up of a given language.

Huji-FAPEST cooperation grant, with Prof. Edit Doron, 2012-2014     

“Cross-linguistic Reflections of Cognitive Distinctions”

The present project will seek to study a number of particular cross linguistic phenomena in languages which are widely distinct, such as those found in Brazil vs. Israel, with the aim of delineating specific areas where linguistic characteristics reflect human cognition and general semantic considerations rather than being arbitrary. The project will span several phenomena which we hypothesize are relevant to this task, such as the distinction between mass and count nouns, the distinction between collectivity and distributivity, the nominal expression of genericity, the verbal expression of habituality, grammatical aspect, and others.


ISF Grant 1366/14, 2014-2017
“Dative selection between the syntax and the lexicon”
This research project is concerned with pinpointing the divide between core and non-core third or added participants, realized as bare dative marked DPs or as Prepositional Phrases, and denoting such roles as Goal, Recipient, Possessor, Beneficiary/Maleficiary, Affected participant or Attitude Holder.

Its objective is to explore and clarify the syntactic and semantic reality behind this wide-spread terminology, and to suggest a novel way to look at argument selection in the case of ditransitives. Specifically, the study will aim to corroborate two hypotheses: the first concerning the semantic roles related to core and non-core participants, namely that semantic roles involved in these constructions have clear syntactic correlates, and that often their superficial fuzziness is due to a structural ambiguity; the second hypothesis concerns the possible attachment sites of core and non-core participants, which, it will be suggested, can vary from language to language and have correlates in the type of verbs allowed to participate in dative constructions, and in the range of interpretations these constructions may have.

Luka Crnič

ISF Grant 2014-2017
Polarity items across languages

GIF Young Scientist Grant 2015-2016
Alternative-sensitive computations in natural language: focus-sensitive particles and embedded exhaustification