Document (#35677)

Author
Bisang, W.
Title
From meaning to syntax : semantic roles and beyond
Source
Semantic role universals and argument linking: theoretical, typological, and psycholinguistic perspectives. Eds.: I. Bornkessel u.a
Imprint
Berlin : Mouton de Gruyter
Year
2006
Pages
S.191-236
Series
Trends in linguistics. Studies and monographs; 165
Abstract
If semantic roles are supposed to be more than a "thinly disguised wild card to meet the exigencies of syntax" their identification cannot be based on meaning alone. It is for that reason that Dowty (1991) looks at semantic roles through argument selection, i.e., through the assignment of the two semantic proto-roles of proto-agent and proto-patient to the syntactic categories of subject and object. If Dowty's (1991) strategy of looking at semantic roles and argument structure through analysing their interaction with syntax is applied cross-linguistically, a number of problems may arise. I shall look at the following problems which will be discussed on the basis of examples from individual languages: 1. On the semantic level, it may turn out that semantic roles and their position within thematic hierarchies do not provide the whole semantic information relevant for assigning participants' to syntactic categories. 2. From a syntactic perspective, it may either turn out that syntactic categories are of low profile in a given language and thus can only provide scarce or no semantic-independent syntactic evidence for semantic roles or it may be that syntactic operations are not based on the neutralization of semantic roles. 3. Semantic roles and argumenthood may turn out not to be the main factor that determines the assignment of nominal participants to the syntactic categories of subject and object.
Field
Sprachwissenschaft

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