Linguistik-Klassifikation: Semantik / Semantics
Local prepositions and serial verb constructions in Thai
- The present paper is an attempt to describe a particular semantic domain in Thai, that of local relations, in terms of a gradual interconnection of what traditional descriptions usually regard as distinct and isolated categories. It is based on the well-known observation that isolating languages like Thai typically display a high degree of 'multifunctionality', or else of syntactic 'versatility' of very many lexical items. […] The semantic area studied in the following pages yields a clear systematic interconnection of three different categories, viz. that of nouns – as the focal instance of maximum syntactic independence –, that of verbs – as, conversely, the focal instance of maximally relational concepts –, and, as an intermediary category between these two, that of prepositions which the system lexically feeds from both these opposite ends. The examples given in the course of this paper have been obtained from published grammatical literature, from Thai texts, and from informants.
Towards a typology of valency
- Grammatical relations, particularly the notions of transitivity, case marking, ergativity, passive and antipassive have been a favourite subject of typological research during the last decade, but surprisingly, the notion of valency has been of marginal interest in cross-linguistic studies, though the syntactic and semantic status of participants is, to a great extent, determined by the relational properties of the verb. Valency is the property of the verb which determines the obligatory and optional number of its participants, their morphosyntactic form, their semantic class membership (e.g. ± animate, ± human) ,and their semantic role (e.g. agent, patient, recipient). The valency inherently gives information on the nature of the semantic and syntactic relations that hold between the verb and its participants. If a verb is combined with more participants than allowed or less than required, or if the participants do not show the required morphosyntactic form or class membership, the clause is ungrammatical. In other words, it is not sufficient to consider only the number of actants as a matter of valency, but it is only acceptable if all semantic and morphosyntactic properties of the relation between a verb and its participants that are predictable from the verb are included. The predictability of these properties results from their inherent givenness, and it does not seem reasonable to count some inherently given relational properties as a matter of valency, but not others (compare Helbig (1971:38f) and Heidolph et ale (1981:479) who distinguish between the quantitative, syntactic and semantic aspect of valency).