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Cross-Linguistic Variation and Efficiency$
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John A. Hawkins

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199664993

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199664993.001.0001

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Asymmetries between arguments of the verb

Asymmetries between arguments of the verb

(p.184) 8 Asymmetries between arguments of the verb
Cross-Linguistic Variation and Efficiency

John A. Hawkins

Oxford University Press

This chapter asks why there should be asymmetries and hierarchies between arguments of the verb, i.e., between what are loosely called ‘subjects,’ ‘direct objects,’ and ‘indirect objects’. It proposes answers based on the efficiency principles of this book. The asymmetries can be seen in patterns of co-occurrence, in rule applicability patterns, formal marking patterns and in linear ordering. They have been described in terms of hierarchies of grammatical relations, hierarchies of morphological cases and verb agreement, hierarchies of thematic roles, and in terms of linear precedence preferences derived from the hierarchies. Efficiency provides a unifying and explanatory perspective.

Keywords:   asymmetries between arguments, case marking, hierarchies, thematic roles, verb agreement

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