The project

Welcome to the PARTE website!

The PARTE project focuses on a specific language phenomenon that is extremely vulnerable since it often disappears in situations of contact between speakers of various language backgrounds as is happening now in an era of globalization and circulation of people and their languages in an increasing multilingual Europe. This phenomenon is a bunch of elements expressing ‘partitivity’ in a large sense, that is, so called ‘partitive articles’ (such as du in French du vin ‘some (of the) wine’), partitive pronouns (such as er in Dutch ik heb er drie ‘I have three of them’), and partitive case, as in Finnish (e.g. in Aino sö-i leipä-ä; glosses: Aino eat-pst.3sg bread-part ‘Aino ate some of the bread’ or ‘Aino ate bread’). Knowledge of this cognitively complex phenomenon is crucial to understand why languages and dialects change in contact situations and why phenomena disappear quite rapidly.

The PARTE project is a six year project, which started on 1 October 2017. Petra Sleeman from the University of Amsterdam is the Principal Investigator (PI). The project brings together 18 researchers from 11 European universities and research institutes. The PARTE project was financed from 1 October 2017 to 1 October 2023 by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research NWO (programme Internationalisation in the Humanities, project number 236-70-007) and co-financed by the University of Zurich, the University of Venice, the University of Pavia and the Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary.

The network of researchers working on partitivity was initiated by Elisabeth Stark, who organized several workshops on partitivity in Zurich, in 2013, 2014 and in 2016. Petra Sleeman wrote the PARTE proposal, with the help of Tabea Ihsane. With the funding that Petra Sleeman received for the PARTE project, the network members planned to organize three workshops on partitivity in European languages and three network meetings.

The goal of the PARTE project is to build on the advances made with respect to partitivity, to bring together the network members’ knowledge, to do new research on partitivity, and to develop commonly usable fine-grained ‘linguistic protocols’, i.e. extremely detailed check-lists describing the morpho-syntactic and semantic properties of partitive elements. These linguistic protocols can inspire the design of questionnaires, elicitation tests, interviewing techniques, and a system of data annotation. The creation of a uniform methodology will ensure comparability and enhance linguistic analysis of the data, among which dialectal data, acquisition data, and language contact data.

Another goal of the PARTE project is to start a searchable digital database in which dialectal data can be brought together, building on, but also renewing and expanding, work that has already been done for existing (dialectal) databases in Europe.

The function of the PARTE website is to serve as a digital platform for language specialists (scholars, teachers,  speech therapist) interested in partitivity and related concepts. We also hope to attract the attention of policy makers on the vulnerability of dialectal variation in Europe.