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Proto-properties and Grammatical Encoding cover

Proto-properties and Grammatical Encoding

A Correspondence Theory of Argument Selection

Farrell Ackerman and John Moore

This book develops a theory of semantically induced argument encodings based on the proto-property argument selection proposal of David Dowty. Such a theory is designed to cover much of the empirical terrain of mapping/linking theories in identifying the principles of correspondence between the lexical semantics of predicates and the grammatical function and morphological case encodings of their arguments. In this theory the authors distinguish two basic strategies for the organization of lexical information: a syntagmatic argument selection principle, which, following Dowty's work, compares the proto-properties of co-arguments of a single predicate, and a paradigmatic argument selection principle, which compares the proto-properties of a single argument across related predicates. They demonstrate how these two strategies yield widespread cross-linguistic patterns of regularity with respect to the correspondence between lexical information and argument encoding. In particular, Ackerman and Moore consider psych predicates, causatives, object encoding in Estonian and Finnish, and experiencer constructions in Polish and Russian.

Read an excerpt from this book.

Farrell Ackerman and John Moore are associate professors of linguistics at the University of California, San Diego.


  • Acknowledgements
  • Abbreviations
  • 1 Introduction
    • 1 Basic Linking Problems
    • 2 Overview
    • 3 Correspondence Theory

  • 2 Grammatical Theory and Semantic Roles
    • 1 Grammatically Relevant Subsets of Features
    • 2 On Characterizing Semantic Roles

  • 3 A Proto-Role Proposal: Syntagmatic Argument Selection
    • 1 Proto-Roles and Proto-Properties
    • 2 The Syntagmatic Argument Selection Principle
    • 3 Extending the Inventory of Proto-Properties
    • 4 Entailments and Valence
      • 4.1 The Nature of Lexical Entries
      • 4.2 Evidence for an Independent Valance Level

  • 4 Paradigmatic Argument Selection
    • 1 Two Types of Argument Selection
    • 2 Psych-Predicates and Croft's Generalization
    • 3 Causatives: Interacting Selection Principles
    • 4 Extensions of the Paradigmatic Selection Principle

  • 5 Bounding Entities
    • 1 Telicity and Transitivity
    • 2 ‘Bounding Entity’ as a Thematic Proto-Property
      • 2.1 Obliqueness
      • 2.2 Proto-Patientivity
      • 2.3 Bounding Entity vs. Incremental Theme
      • 2.4 Bounding Entity as a Predicate Entailment
      • 2.5 Telicity vs. NP-Strength
      • 2.6 Event Structures: A Brief Look at Scots Gaelic and Finnish
    • 3 Conclusions

  • 6 Subject Alternations
    • 1 Agent-Centered Alternations
    • 2 Inversion Nominals
      • 2.1 A Functional Alternation
      • 2.2 Syntactic Characterstics
      • 2.3 Semantic Effects
    • 3 Dative Subjects

  • 7 Conclusion
    • 1 Syntagmatic vs. Paradigmatic Selection
    • 2 Identifying Proto-Properties
    • 3 Extending the Paradigm
    • 4 Paradigmatic Comparison of Proto-Property Sets
    • 5 Argument Selection and Linking Theories

  • Bibliography
  • Index


ISBN (Paperback): 1575861666 (9781575861661)
ISBN (Cloth): 1575861674 (9781575861678)

Subject: Grammar; Semantics

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