- Grammatik (4) (remove)
- Grammatical relations typology (2007)
- Traditionally, the term "grammatical relation" (GR) refers to the morphosyntactic properties that relate an argument to a clause, as, for example, its subject or its object. Alternative terms are "syntactic function" or "syntactic role", and they highlight the fact that GRs are defined by the way in which arguments are integrated syntactically into a clause, i.e. by functioning as subject, object etc. Whatever terminology one prefers, what is crucial about the traditional notion of GRs is (a) that they are identified by syntactic properties, and (b) that they relate an argument to the clause.
- On the scope of the referential hierarchy in the typology of grammatical relations (2008)
- In the late seventies, Bernard Comrie was one of the first linguists to explore the effects of the referential hierarchy (RH) on the distribution of grammatical relations (GRs). The referential hierarchy is also known in the literature as the animacy, empathy or indexibability hierarchy and ranks speech act participants (i.e. first and second person) above third persons, animates above inanimates, or more topical referents above less topical referents. Depending on the language, the hierarchy is sometimes extended by analogy to rankings of possessors above possessees, singulars above plurals, or other notions. In his 1981 textbook, Comrie analyzed RH effects as explaining (a) differential case (or adposition) marking of transitive subject ("A") noun phrases in low RH positions (e.g. inanimate or third person) and of object ("P") noun phrases in high RH positions (e.g. animate or first or second person), and (b) hierarchical verb agreement coupled with a direct vs. inverse distinction, as in Algonquian (Comrie 1981: Chapter 6).
- Principles of event framing : genetic stability in grammar and discourse (1999)
- Ever since Wilhelm von Humboldt’s (1836) pioneering study of Nahuatl, linguists have recurrently recognized that languages differ fundamentally in the syntactic weight they attribute to noun-phrases as the arguments of a verb. Currently, the most prominent attempts to turn this intuition into a precise hypothesis revolve around the notion of ‘configurationality’.
- Grammatical relations, agreement, and genetic stability (1999)
- Languages vary in whether or not primary grammatical relations (PGRs) are sensitive to information from clause-level case or phrase structures. This variation correlates with a difference between verb agreement systems based on feature unification and systems based on feature composition. The choice between different PGR and agreement principles is found to be highly stable genetically and to characterize Indo-European as systematically different from Sino-Tibetan. Although the choice is partially similar to the Configurationality Parameter, it is shown that Indo-European languages of South Asia are nonconfigurational due to areal pressure but follow their European relatives in PGR and agreement principles.