Referential and non-referential uses of nominalization constructions in Malay

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This paper examines three versatile morphemes &#8211; <i>yang</i>, -<i>nya</i> and <i>punya</i> &#8211; that contribute to the formation of nominalization constructions in Malay. In particular, we examine how these morphemes give rise to both referential and non-referential uses of nominalization constructions. We also highlight that nominalizing elements in Malay can be derived from noun phrase markers such as third person genitive pronoun -<i>nya</i> (e.g. <i>makan-nya</i> [eat-3<sc>sg.gen</sc>] &#8216;his eating&#8217;) as well as general or semantically bleached nouns such as <i>(em)punya</i> (&#8216;master, owner, possessor&#8217;) that can easily develop into light nouns equivalent to English indefinite pronoun <i>one</i> (e.g. <i>tak rosak</i> <bi>punya</bi> [<sc>neg</sc> spoil <sc>nmz</sc>] &#8216;the ones that are not spoiled&#8217;. We further show that various factors such as lexical source, morphosyntactic constraints, and in some cases language contact, help to shape the grammaticalization pathway(s) of each morpheme, particularly in terms of their range of grammatical and pragmatic functions.


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