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URPP Language and Space

Larissa Binder

Larissa Binder, MA

  • Former doctoral student
  • FFG SyNoDe

Larissa joined the URPP Language and Space in January 2019 and was employed at the Institute of Romance Studies since August 2019.

Dissertation project: Typology of Pseudopartitive Constructions in Romance and Germanic

Pseudopartitive constructions (e.g. a glass of wine) constitute an important group of noun phrase structures. The term was originated by Selkirk (1977) in a canonic chapter on the hierarchical structure of noun phrases and numerous works and analyses have been carried out ever since by linguists from different domains and backgrounds. Generally, pseudopartitives are binominal constructions in which the two nominals are either 'linked' by a ('preposition-like') construction marker (such as of in the above-mentioned English example), exhibit an overt morphological case marker on the second nominal or they lack any kind of overt marking (= juxtapositional construction) (Koptjevskaja-Tamm 2001). Modern Romance languages and English, for instance, belong to the first group, that is, the type in which the nominals are connected by a construction marker (de/di in Romance, of in English), whereas in German, the two nominals are simply juxtaposed and, thus, belong to the latter type (Koptjevskaja-Tamm 2001). 

Regarding the structure of pseudopartitives and their 'real' partitive counterparts (e.g. a glass of this wine), there are some eminent typological studies (Koptjevskaja-Tamm 2001; 2006; 2009, primarily), but, most importantly, the existing literature on this topic is restricted to theoretical considerations and analyses, especially the distinction of partitives and pseudopartitives (see Matushansky 2017; Csirmaz 2014; Champollion 2010; Alexiadou et al. 2007; Stickney 2007, 2004; Rutkowski 2007; Schwarzschild 2006; among others). Nonetheless, research seems to be quite lacking when it comes to a thorough typological analysis of the morphosyntax of pseudopartitives and their (potentially) implicational link to the determination of other indefinite noun phrases. 

This PhD project seeks to answer the following overall research question: How is pseudopartitivity expressed in Romance and Germanic? More concretely, the aim of this PhD project is the description and analysis of the morphosyntactic structure of pseudopartitive constructions and their correlative link(s) to the structure of other indefinite noun phrases, such as indefinite mass complements ('bare partitives') or nouns headed by numerals or indefinite quantifiers. The main emphasis will be put on two kind of phenomena: a. the absence vs. presence of a construction marker, and b. agreement phenomena. 


Supervision: Elisabeth Stark, Johannes Kabatek, Elvira Glaser

Funding source: URPP Language and Space / Institute of Romance Studies


Alexiadou, Artemis/Liliane Haegeman/Melita Stavrou (2007), Noun Phrase in the Generative Perspective, Berlin/New York: De Gryuter. 

Champollion, Lucas (2010), «A unified account of distributivity, for-adverbials, and pseudopartitives», in: Martin Prinzhorn/Viola Schmitt/Sarah Zobel (eds.), Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 14, Wien: Universität Wien, 81-100. 

Csirmaz, Aniko (2014), «Partitive and pseudopartitive structures in temporal adverbials», The Linguistic Review  31(1), 1-39. 

Koptjevskaja-Tamm, Maria (2009), «A lot of grammar with a good portion of lexicon: towards a typology of partitive and pseudo-partitive nominal constructions», in: Johannes Helmbrecht/Christian Lehmann (eds), Form and Function in Language Research: Papers in Honour of Christian Lehmann, Berlin/Boston: De Gryuter, 329-346 [Trends in Linguistics: Studies and Monographs 210]. 

Koptjevskaja-Tamm, Maria (2006), «Partitives», in: Keith Brown (ed.), Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, vol 9. 2nd edition, Boston: Elsevier Science, 218-221. 

Koptjevskaja-Tamm, Maria (2001), «'A piece of the cake' and 'a cup of tea': Partitive and pseudo-partitive nominal constructions in Circum-Baltic languages», in: Östen Dahl/Maria Koptjevskaja-Tamm (eds.), The Circum-Baltic Languages: Typology and Contact, vol. 2: Grammar and Typology, Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 523-568. 

Matushansky, Ora (2017), «On the structure and composition of pseudo-partitives», Talk given at Séminaire LaGram, Paris. 

Rutkowski, Pawel (2007), «The syntactic structure of grammaticalized partitives (pseudo-partitives)», University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics 13(1), 1-14. 

Schwarzschild, Roger (2006), «The role of dimensions in the syntax of noun phrases», Syntax 9(1), 67-110. 

Selkirk, Elisabeth O. (1977), «Some remarks on noun phrase structure», in: Peter W. Culicover/Thomas Wasow/Adrian Akmajian (eds.), Formal Syntax. Papers from the MSSB-UC Irvine conference on the formal syntax of natural language, Newport Beach, California, New York: Academic Press, 285-316. 

Stickney, Helen (2007), «From pseudopartitive to partitive», in: Alyona Belikova/Luisa Meroni/Umeda Mari (eds.), Proceedings of the 2nd Conference on Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America (GALANA), Somervile: Cascadilla Proceedings Project, 406-415. 

Stickney, Helen (2004), The pseudopartitive and its illusory projections, PhD dissertation, University of Massachusetts. 

Publications and oral presentations


Oral presentations

Binder, Larissa (2020), «(Pseudo-)Partitivity. A Comparative View on Partitives and Pseudopartitives in Romance and Germanic Languages and Varieties», Guest Lecture at the English Department of the University of Geneva, Seminar 'Macro- and Microvariation in the DP' (Prof. Dr. Genoveva Puskás), May 15th 2020, online.

Binder, Larissa/Stark, Elisabeth (2018): «Differential object marking in French: myth or reality?», Differential object marking in Romance – towards microvariation, Inalco, Paris, November 9-10, 2018. 

Binder, Larissa/Stark, Elisabeth/Ueberwasser, Simone (2018): «Gendered hate speech in Swiss WhatsApp messages», LInguaggio, parità di Genere e parole d’odio/Language, Gender and HaTe Speech, University Ca’Foscari, Venice, October 18-19, 2018. 

Binder, Larissa/Kabatek, Johannes/Obrist, Philipp/Wall, Albert (2018): «Nuevos métodos de visualización en lingüística histórica: los gráficos dinámicos y su valor heurístico», XI Congreso de la Historia de la Lengua Española, Lima (Peru), August 6-10, 2018. 

Binder, Larissa (2018): «Construcciones hendidas y pseudo-hendidas en el español coloquial», Curso de doctorado ORALPES (Oralidad, perspectivas sobre el español), Kandersteg, January 15-19, 2018.

Binder, Larissa (2017), «A diachronic view on Leísmo and DOM in Peninsular Spanish», International Workshop ‘The Diachrony of Differential Object Marking’, Inalco, Paris, November 16-17, 2017.


2019 – present PhD student
Comparative Romance Linguistics
University of Zurich
2016 – 2018 Master of Arts in
French and Spanish Language and Literature
University of Zurich
2013 – 2016

Bachelor of Arts in
French and Spanish Language and Literature
University of Zurich

2012 – 2013 BA student of
Secondary school level I
Pädagogische Hochschule St. Gallen
2007 – 2011 Matura (Spanish)
Kantonsschule Heerbrugg