T. Reinhart (auth.), M. Everaert, M. Marelj, E. Reuland (eds.). Concepts, syntax and their interface: The Theta System. Cambridge (MA): MIT Press, 2016.
Aims and Scope
Earlier empirical studies on valency have looked at the phenomenon either in individual languages or a small range of languages, or have concerned themselves with only small subparts of valency (e.g. transitivity, ditransitive constructions), leaving a lacuna that the present volume aims to fill by considering a wide range of valency phenomena across 30 languages from different parts of the world. The individual-language studies, each written by a specialist or group of specialists on that language and covering both valency patterns and valency alternations, are based on a questionnaire (reproduced in the volume) and an on-line freely accessible database, thus guaranteeing comparability of cross-linguistic results. In addition, introductory chapters provide the background to the project and discuss its main characteristics and selected results, while a series of featured articles by leading scholars who helped shape the field provide an outside perspective on the volume’s approach. The volume is essential reading for anyone interested in valency and argument structure, irrespective of theoretical persuasion, and will serve as a model for future descriptive studies of valency in individual languages.
This book is a collection of articles dealing with various aspects of grammatical relations and argument structure in the languages of Europe and North and Central Asia (LENCA). Topics covered with respect to individual languages are: split-intransitivity (Basque), causativization (Agul), transitives and causatives (Korean and Japanese), aspectual domain and quantification (Finnish and Udmurt), head-marking principles (Athabaskan languages), and pragmatics (Eastern Khanty and Xibe). Typology of argument-structure properties of ‘give’ (LENCA), typology of agreement systems, asymmetry in argument structure, typology of the Amdo Sprachbund, spatial realtors (Northeastern Turkic), core argument patterns (languages of Northern California), and typology of grammatical relations (LENCA) are the topics of articles based on cross-linguistic data. The broad empirical sweep and the fine-tuned theoretical analysis highlight the central role of argument structure and grammatical relations with respect to a plethora of linguistic phenomena.
In the paper, the phenomenon of recursion in morphology of Adyghe, a polysynthetic language of Caucaus is considered. We argue that recursion may be allowed to different extents in different parts of the word and be highly constrained exactly in contexts that are considered prototypical for recursion. Hence this property is not as natural as for syntax.
Causative derivation is the least recursable, concrete applicative derivation is the most, and general oblique applicatives and propositional operators occupy an intermediate place. These results are remarkable because they contrast with our intuitions about syntactic recursion.
Verb production has been shown to be impaired in individuals with agrammatic Broca’s aphasia. Several theories linked this deficit to problems with the implementation of grammatical information the verb contains. In particular, the number and the type of arguments associated with a verb were suggested as causes of production difficulties in agrammatic speakers. The influence of these two factors on agrammatic production has earlier been investigated in English and Dutch (Thompson, 2003; Bastiaanse & Van Zonneveld, 2005).
The paper concerns argument structure of causative verbs in Tundra Nenets and Forest Nenets. Special attention is paid to marking of the initial subject of a non-causative construction. Changing of syntactic status of predicate’s arguments in course of causativization meets expectations and conforms to B. Comrie’s generalization known as “paradigm case”. According to it, the causee (initial subject) is demoted to the highest free position at the grammatical relations hierarchy. The basic ingestive verb (‘eat’) is of interest because it is transitive in the Nenets languages and does not admit omission of its direct object. However, it is causativized as if it were intransitive. Short comments on syntax of an analytic causative construction are also made.
The volume includes papers devoted to valency change operations in various languages.
In the review I discuss articles, which are included in the volume about grammatical relations and their coding in Baltic languages, edited by Axel Holvoet and Nicole Nau, The volume includes Lithuanian, Latvian and Livonian data, which is analyzed both in formal and functional framework. The problems under analysis include differential object and subject marking, semantic motivation of valency patterns, the role of negation in the syntactic behavior of the verb and other interesting issues.
This research studies the influence of professional competence of EFL learners on their metaphor production. The task was approached through analyzing metaphors in the English written texts produced by Russian students with different competence in economics – the non-professional and professional competence level. Findings highlight similarities and divergence of metaphor use in L2 writing in terms of learners’ professional competence. The results of comparative analysis of specific features in metaphors produced at different professional competence levels reveal the quantitative and qualitative differences of what functions metaphors are used to perform and to what extent they are used accurately. With the shift from the non-professional to the professional competence level learners are able to use metaphors that combine a function of presenting abstract concepts with a discourse organising function in a more balanced way and make much more use of creative metaphors, and their metaphor production tends to be less influenced by L1 background. Practical recommendations suggest an improved research methodology for studying metaphor production in ESAP as well as a deeper understanding of ESP content and its structure.
The article examines the main trends in the study of the Stalinist period and the phenomenon of Stalinism in connection with the mass opening of the archives.