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KACL Lecture Series

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#27 : Andrej Malchukov ĽŠ
Professor, Institute for Linguistic Research/St.-Petersburg; Russian Academy of Sciences and University of Nijmegen
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Title: Transitivity parameters and transitivity alternations: constraining co-variation
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Date : June 28, 2004, 17:00--18:30
Place : Meeting Room, the 3rd Floor of Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences Building, Kobe University

The paper addresses the question of the relation between transitivity parameters, as formulated by Hopper and Thompson (1980), and transitivity alternations (i.e. alternations in case-marking patterns). First, I suggest to represent the list of transitivity parameters in the form of the scale, stretching from subject-related parameters (e.g., agentivity) via verb-related (e.g., aspect) to object-oriented (e.g. affectedness). This semantic scale could then be used to predict the °∆locus°« of case alternation (i.e. which actant changes its case-marking in the course of an alternation), on the assumption that a transitivity parameter should be preferably encoded on the °∆relevant°« constituent (i.e. constituent to which it pertains). This, basically iconic °∆Relevance principle°« interacts with a structural principle, which prohibits the manipulation on case-marking of the °∆primary°« (i.e. unmarked) actant exclusively (i.e. without a diathetic shift). It is shown how interaction of these two principles can predict the cross-linguistically preferred patterns of transitivity alternations, as well as constrain co-variation between transitivity alternations and transitivity parameters.


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